Erasing History (You Didn’t Know Anyway)
Well, the Mississippi flag is having the Confederate Flag portion removed. This is a big deal to many people who do not live in Mississippi, nor did they have any idea what the Mississippi flag looked like until they heard it was in danger.
Recently, a counter movement against the renaming of buildings named after racists was started, mostly by Ann Coulter, to point out that the man Yale University is named after, Elihu Yale, made a large amount of money in the slave trade. Again, the response has been that this would be erasing history — from people who had no idea who Yale was named after until someone told them.
Or how about the recent attacks against Mount Rushmore. Recently, the official Twitter account for the Democratic Party said the following:
Trump has disrespected Native communities time and again. He’s attempted to limit their voting rights and blocked critical pandemic relief. Now he’s holding a rally glorifying white supremacy at Mount Rushmore — a region once sacred to tribal communities.
Now tell me, how many of the people mad at this Tweet actually know the history of Mount Rushmore? I doubt many, because a good amount of what the Tweet said was accurate.
Mount Rushmore, like it or not, was built on stolen Native American land — as in, land the United States federal government promised to never take away from Native Americans, but did anyway. Theodore Roosevelt was also only added because he was a buddy of the person who made it — I promise you, a large amount of people mad at this tweet do not know a single thing Theodore Roosevelt did during his administration.
What would it mean for history to be erased? I would assume it’s either used in:
- A literal context, where history is lost to time for one reason or another. The examples of this include any piece of lost media, rather in be in the form of movies, television episodes, or highly sexual letters from a former Vice President.
- A metaphorical context, where history is not impossible to get its hands on but has become so obscure someone looking for it is left with, at best, an unreliable source or, at worst, having to dig through pages and pages of search results in order to find the information being looked for.
The only one of these which makes any sense to reference is the second one, as all of the men who have had statues torn down still have full length books, documentaries, and internet pages on them. However, if the second one holds any weight of being possible, it happened a long time before the statues came down.
You might have seen a rant last week from Fox News host Tucker Carlson, where he specifically mentions the tearing down of the statue of Albert Pike. How many of Carlson’s fans do you think know who Albert Pike is? I assume few, considering his fans might find it weird that a man who promotes himself as a man of the people standing up against the evil globalist conspiracy — is defending the statue of a high-ranking Freemason.
For that matter, when a university wanted to rename something after former Vice President John Calhoun, most of the people angry at them had no idea who Calhoun was. Mostly because, if they did, they would know that Calhoun had almost no impact on history — outside of maybe a small impact on convincing the Confederacy to leave the Union.
We can talk about the rather history is being erased, but first, we must understand the basic impact on history each person we’re talking about has.