Dead Confederates and “Political Correctness”

A nice piece from Corey Robin yesterday, which supports a point I made several months ago about charges – spurious ones it seems to me – that it is “politically correct” to remove statues of Confederates from public places. To wit:

After 1991, when people in the former Soviet Union began toppling statues of Lenin, no liberal-minded person—at least none that I can recall—raised any alarm bells about “Soviet-style” erasure. Indeed, removing these signs and symbols of the past was considered the very essence of anti-Soviet-style politics. It was an act of emancipation.

But when we remove the name of Wilson or the face of Jackson, liberation becomes erasure, anti-Soviet-style politics becomes Soviet-style politics. . . .

So we’re left with the question: If removing the signs and symbols of the past is supposed to threaten our understanding and appreciation of that past—and that is Ungar’s point, after all— how does erasure become freedom in the one instance and tyranny in the other?

Update: Those are Corey’s words in italics, not mine!

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