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Rick Perlstein Reminds Us Of The Recent Racist History Of Confederate Monuments

How many people really know when those statues were erected and for what reason?

The calls of Nazi cries of "blood and soil" were interspersed with "We will not replaced" in Charlottesville this weekend. The purpose behind these calls of white fragility? The removal of statues of Confederate generals.

Think about that for a second. These were statues erected to military officers who committed TREASON against this country.

Just like those confederate flags they were waving, these idiot protesters want to have the right to celebrate treason without their feelings being hurt that they are actually terrible, un-American traitors.

And what's worse? Those statues weren't erected as some sort of conciliatory gesture during Reconstruction. No, no, no. As historian and best-selling author Rick Perlstein reminds CNN's Fareed Zakaria , those statues were commissioned during the Civil Rights era (100 years after the Civil War) in response to school desegregation and other civil rights battles of the time.

Many of the treasured monuments that seem to offer a connection to the post-bellum South are actually much later, anachronistic constructions, and they tend to correlate closely with periods of fraught racial relations, as my colleague Yoni Appelbaum has noted. South Carolina didn’t hoist the battle flag in Columbia until 1961—the anniversary of the war’s start, but also the middle of the civil-rights push, and a time when many white Southerners were on the defensive about issues like segregation and voting rights.

A timeline of the genesis of the Confederate sites shows two notable spikes. One comes around the turn of the 20th century, just after Plessy v. Ferguson, and just as many Southern states were establishing repressive race laws. The second runs from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s—the peak of the civil-rights movement. In other words, the erection of Confederate monuments has been a way to perform cultural resistance to black equality.

A Twitter writer @JuliusGoat had a brilliant tweetstorm addressing the absurdity of the marchers:

"Imagine if these people ever faced actual oppression," Goat tweeted alongside a news photo of white male protestors at the rally. He went on to compare the plight of the straight white cisgender males to the discrimination facing other groups.

"Nobody is trying to legislate away their right to marry," he noted. "Nobody is trying to make them buy insurance to pay for 'male health care.'

"The law never: enslaved their great-grandparents; robbed their grandparents; imprisoned their parents; shot them when unarmed," he continued. "There is no massive effort at the state and local level to disenfranchise them of the vote. There is no history of centuries of bad science devoted to 'proving' their intellectual inferiority. There is no travel ban on them because of their religion. There is no danger for them when they carry dangerous weaponry publicly."

Without being subject to racially motivated violence, watch lists, or deportations, white oppression, Goat argued, boils down to this: resentment over diversity and a perceived loss of power and privilege.

"We used to be the only voice," he tweeted. "Now we hold the only microphone. We face criticism now. We were free from it, because others feared the consequences."

Real oppression, he argued, is much uglier and more insidious.

"I would so love to see these people get all the oppression they insist they receive, just for a year. Just to see. Give them a world where you ACTUALLY can't say Christmas. A world where the name 'Geoff' on a resume puts it in the trash. Give them a world where they suddenly get a 20% pay cut, and then 70 women every day tell them to smile more.

"Give them a world where their polo shirt makes people nervous, so they're kicked off the flight from Pittsburgh to Indianapolis. Give them a world where they inherited nothing but a very real understanding of what oppression really fucking is. Give them a world where if they pulled up on a campus with torches lit and started throwing hands, the cops would punch their eyes out."

His parting shot: "Put THAT in your Tiki torches and light it, you sorry Nazi bitches."

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