We are the UNITED States of America

Or are we?


photo credit: Valerie Msafiri

Together we stand // Uniting together, five students symbolize the needed unity between all citizens of the Unites States. While this country has a dark history, it’s important to respect each other as human beings.

writer: Valerie Msafiri, Video Editor

The United States of America was founded on the ideology of a federal system, separate states, but a unified country. It’s in the name of the country, in the constitution, the Pledge of Allegiance, and just about everywhere else. While there are different areas of the United States that have opposing beliefs, this country stands together.

Unless it’s 1863, and the United States is smack in the middle of a civil war.

Since this is basic eighth grade history, it’s appropriate to keep this short:

The United States split into two: the Confederacy (South) and the Union (North). Fun fact: the South was very famous for slavery, enslaving human beings based on their color, and it was the core of their economic growth. So when the Union threatened to abolish slavery, the South lost it. They tried secession, but the Union said no. So the obvious answer was to fight it out, but, no worries, the Confederacy lost.


What do you think? Are the confederate statues respecting history or signs of deeply rooted racism still evident in the Unites States?

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So why are little kids in Dallas going to Robert E. Lee Elementary School? Why are Americans forced to walk past Confederate statues, memorials, and drive on roads honoring “Confederate heros.” The definition of a hero is someone with “courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.”  Those confederate soldiers fought to defend an institution that dehumanized human beings going against everything a hero’s supposed to be and represent. They were not the good guys, and they should not be “honored” for their part in our history.

The most common justification is, “Oh, well, the Civil War wasn’t about slavery.” News flash: it was. Ask every professional historian, read any valid textbook, take a trip back to eighth grade history; the main cause for the American Civil war was in fact slavery. Yes, of course, there were other reasons like, taxation, but when researching the major causes of the Civil War, everything leads to slavery. Another excuse is, “Oh, well, this is our history, we shouldn’t take it down.” The American Education System makes sure that middle schoolers are taught U.S History, including the Civil War. This country doesn’t need to romanticize the side of  history that was wrong.

Something that’s said very often is “Heritage not hate.” This is the most laughable argument concerning this topic because it contradicts the next excuse; “Slavery was so long ago, so it doesn’t really matter.” How does that make any sense? Think about it. The Civil War was about slavery, but it was so long ago it ‘doesn’t even matter’, right? Then why are Confederate Flags still flying through the air, if it supposedly ‘doesn’t matter’?

The statues have recently sparked interest in latest news and social media as citizens realize the significance of the statues, and the effect they have on the people of the United States. Especially since recent Nazi/ white supremacy rallies occurring in our country and with our current President having done nothing about it, there’s been a lot of tension rising in our midst, more racial than not.

It’s not as if slavery ended and things were suddenly amazing for African Americans. No, there was segregation, systematic oppression, and hate crimes, some of which still hasn’t ended. So, yeah, it’s still a sore subject. Seeing the confederate flag and walking past Confederate statues is a slap in the face for every African American living in the United States. There should be no problem taking down these statues and banning the confederate flag in our country.

History is important; that goes without saying. There were a lot of mistakes made throughout American history, though, and the Civil War would have left our country in pieces. Abraham Lincoln once said “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” so how do we claim to love this country when it’s still legal to wave around a flag that threatened to tear it apart?