Reconsidering the Past, One Statue at a Time
By Sarah Mervosh, Simon Romero and Lucy Tompkins
The boiling anger that exploded in the days after George Floyd gasped his final breaths is now fueling a national movement to topple perceived symbols of racism and oppression in the United States, as protests over police brutality against African Americans expand to include demands for a more honest accounting of all American history.
In Portland, Oregon, demonstrators protesting against police killings turned their ire to Thomas Jefferson, toppling a statue of the Founding Father who also enslaved more than 600 people.
In Richmond, Virginia, a statue of Italian navigator and colonizer Christopher Columbus was spray-painted, set on fire and thrown into a lake.
And in Albuquerque, New Mexico, tensions over a statue of Juan de Oñate, a 16th-century colonial governor exiled from New Mexico over cruel treatment of Native Americans, erupted in street skirmishes and a blast of gunfire before the monument was removed.
Across the country, monuments criticized as symbols of historical oppression have been defaced and brought down at warp speed in recent days. The movement initially set its sights on Confederate symbols and examples of racism against African Americans but has since exploded into a broader cultural moment, forcing a reckoning over such issues as European colonization and the oppression of Native Americans.
In New Mexico, it has surfaced generations-old tensions among indigenous, Hispanic and Anglo residents and brought 400 years of turbulent history bubbling to the surface.
“We’re at this inflection point,” said Keegan King, a member of Acoma Pueblo, which endured a massacre of 800 or more people directed by Oñate, the brutal Spanish conquistador. The Black Lives Matter movement, he said, had encouraged people to examine the history around them, and not all of it was merely written in books.
“These pieces of systemic racism took the form of monuments and statues and parks,” King said.
The debate over how to represent the uncomfortable parts of American history has been going on for decades, but the traction for knocking down monuments seen in recent days raises new questions about whether it will result in a fundamental shift in how history is taught to new generations.
“It is a turning point insofar as there are a lot of people now who are invested in telling the story that historians have been laying down for decades,” said Julian Maxwell Hayter, a historian and associate professor at the University of Richmond.
He said that statues removed from parks and street corners could be teaching points if they are placed in museums, side-by-side with documents and first-person accounts from the era.
種族是敏感話題，用字必須謹慎，通常會用African描述黑人，例如佛洛伊德案中，新聞皆用African American描述其族裔。black則用於和白人對比的情況，例如Black Lives Matter運動。negro或nigger有「黑鬼、老黑」的嚴重歧視意味，切勿使用。
常見的歧視華人字眼有chino（老中）、chinito（中國佬）等，刻板印象濃厚。2012年2月，ESPN報導NBA台裔球員林書豪時，編輯下了「Chink in the Armor」的標題，原意是「盔甲的裂縫」，用來比喻他賽中的弱點，卻因chink一字也有「中國人」之意，源自華人普遍細長的眼睛，有種族歧視之嫌，引發軒然大波，那位編輯因此丟了飯碗。
Trump’s Lessons From Nixon Missed One Important Thing
By Sarah Lyall and Jeremy W. Peters
“I learned a lot from Richard Nixon,” President Donald Trump declared recently, speaking of the only U.S. president ever to resign in disgrace. “I study history.”
It was a bold assertion from Trump, not least because he and Nixon share the dubious distinction of facing impeachment after being accused of abusing the power of the presidency. But if the president has indeed studied the Nixon years – a period characterized by widespread social unrest that has parallels in the turbulence of today – it is not clear, historians say, whether he understands what lessons to draw from them.
Trump’s walkabout outside the White House earlier this month as demonstrations swirled around him invited a direct comparison with Nixon – because Nixon made a similar trip. It was May 9, 1970, and it felt like the country was on fire. Violence was erupting on college campuses over the bombing of Cambodia. Tens of thousands of people were gathering on the National Mall to protest the war in Vietnam and the killing of four students by the Ohio National Guard at Kent State University. The White House was fortified with extra troops.
Wracked by doubt and self-flagellation, unable to sleep, Nixon slipped out of the building just after 4:35 a.m. with a handful of aides and Secret Service agents and traveled to the Lincoln Memorial. There, he tried to explain his Vietnam policy to a group of student demonstrators.
“I know probably most of you think I’m an SOB,” he told them. “But I want you to know that I understand just how you feel.”
At times, Trump seems to be borrowing from a playbook that is a half-century old, without seeing how profoundly the country has changed.
He is betting on the resonance of a message that served Republicans well for decades, when dog whistles about crime and lawlessness were effective at stoking the anxieties of white suburban voters. But that messaging may be less effective at a time of growing awareness of racial injustice, especially among educated suburban voters who lean Republican but are put off by Trump’s tendency to foment division and inflame racial tension.
One clear way to see what Trump has in fact not learned from Nixon is to look closely at those two encounters 50 years apart.
Trump’s photo op began with Nixon on his mind. Just before he marched across Lafayette Square, his path cleared by law enforcement who violently dispersed peaceful protesters, he declared himself “your president of law and order.” It was a conspicuous appropriation of the catchphrase that Nixon deployed to sell himself as the candidate for Americans weary of the tumult of the 1960s.
But there are plenty of reasons that messaging might be a harder sell today.
“The world has moved on,” said Rick Perlstein, author of the book “Nixonland.”