Let’s say you live in a small town somewhere, and let’s say that this town is mostly populated by black people. White people like yourself account for maybe 15% of the population. Back when the town was originally founded, it was more like 5%.
Let’s say you’ve heard stories from your parents and grandparents about how, decades ago, some of the black people that were living in the town at the time would do horrible things to the white people. They would rape them, torture them, keep them in cages, and visit all manner of atrocity against them. Let’s say that nobody would do anything about it, that it was all perfectly legal because white people weren’t considered real people.
That would be terrible, right?
Now, let’s say that while they were doing these brutal, horrible things, they had little statues they would carry around with them. That was their symbol, that was what they would rally themselves around. Imagine something like Michelangelo’s David. There was no anti-white symbolism to the statue, it was just a statue, but it was their statue.
But that was all generations ago. There was a big rebellion, a huge fight, and finally the state government stepped in and said, “hey, you can’t treat the white people like this.” And so your grandparents and great-grandparents, they were all set free from the cages, and there were laws enacted to make sure that white people were treated like human beings.
Of course, the black people in your town at the time didn’t like being told what to do, so even though the law stated that they were no longer legally allowed to do these things, they would gather around their statues late at night, put on some masks to hide who they were, maybe follow a white person home from work, and do terrible things to them when nobody could stop them. And because the police were all black, too, they would look the other way.
Over time, things got a little better. But only because white people (and blacks who sympathized with whites) fought tirelessly for slow progress. Today, there’s still some tension, but at least white people aren’t getting regularly ganged up on and hanged from trees.
Now, let’s say that in this town where you live, maybe half a century ago someone put up a statue, one of the ones the black people used to gather around. A big one, right in the town square. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, it’s just a statue, carved out of marble. In fact, it almost looks a little like Michelangelo’s David, and that’s a beautiful work of art.
So why would anyone want to take that statue down?