To the editor: I find it the height of hubris that New Orleans — or the United States, for that matter — believes it can cleanse the stains of slavery and racial genocide by removing a few monuments to Civil War figures. ("New Orleans is tearing down its Confederate monuments, but the South has plenty of others," April 24)
The most famous monument in New Orleans is a statue of Andrew Jackson, the president and general who enslaved men, women and children of African descent and was responsible for the shameful Trail of Tears displacement of Native Americans.
We cannot move forward to address racial issues in this country while celebrating slave owners and those responsible for Native American genocide with monuments, holidays and portraits on our currency.
Rob Aft, Los Angeles
To the editor: Twenty-four years ago I was the advisor to a high school club opposed to the concept of racism. During an art project on campus where drawings were displayed in the concrete leading to the administration building, a colorful portrait of Malcolm X was defaced, a swastika crudely drawn over his face.
The administration was aghast, and the principal dispatched the maintenance crew to sandblast the swastika into oblivion. I favored this action, but my club members did not.
They explained to me that to erase the swastika was to deny racism existed on our campus. They wanted the student body to see our campus was not as tolerant as we believed. I saw their wisdom and was able to stop the work crew before the erasure occurred. Later, campus community members met at the drawing and discussed our own racism at home.
To tear down every monument of any American history that is not acceptable to us in this day and age, in a sense, is erasing our past. How are future generations supposed to understand the parts of our past that we are ashamed of? History books?
Brian Miller, Los Angeles