As a member of the press, my world revolves around the first amendment. The right to inform the public and more than that the individual right to hold and defend your own opinions.
On a personal level, I find symbols of slavery and oppression abhorrent. They represent a dark time in our history. That being said, I do not think that means they should be removed from that history.
To answer your next question, yes, I know what books are and yes, I have been in many, many museums in my life.
It must be admitted though, in removing public symbols of this segregated, racist past, we may not be concealing it entirely but we are certainly shying from it.
People are not afraid or made uncomfortable by a piece of metal shaped like an old white man. They are not offended by a chiseled piece of stone. What is scary is the hatred that it represents that is still alive today; the images and videos that we see as we scroll through our newsfeeds.
So we look around and we blame these feelings on the tangible reminders of these flawed institutions. Taking these statues down is not the answer though, especially when it is done in a violent and destructive way.
Hate doesn’t come from a statue of Robert E. Lee, or a bust of Stonewall Jackson. It comes from people. People who honor racial prejudice rather than condemn it, and that is solved by education, not removing reminders of the problem.
When you’re walking through the park with your daughter and she asks who that statue is of, take it as an opportunity to teach her something and set a precedent for the future.
Look at these reminders of subjugation and inequality and let it make you angry; let it stoke that flame, because that is what enacts change.