I was just reading Todd Gray's article on the destruction of statues and monuments that's been going on recently. It's happening everywhere and to be honest, I hate it. It's like seeing an old stately home being torn down and replaced by a modern condo.
In Victoria, BC they took down the statue of John A MacDonald because of his role in the poor treatment of the First Nations people of Canada. There's an article listing "15 racist statues in Canada that people want removed". They should change that to ... that SOME people want removed (keep in mind that 9 of these statues are of John A MacDonald). I get it that there are statues of people that at some point in their lives did horrible things. Who of us has never done a horrible thing (though not necessarily to that degree)? Some of these people also did great things. John A MacDonald was Canada's first Prime Minister! That's something that should be respected, not destroyed. It's happening everywhere, in the UK, the States (no surprise there), Canada, and no doubt other places that I'm too lazy to look up right now. It breaks my heart to see history destroyed in any form, and it worries me that they'll escalate into destroying documents, books, buildings, and other things that represent things of our past, whether good or bad.
Capt Jesse Gray was a slaveowner. It's a fact. His family had a plantation and they had slaves. He brought a few of his to Nova Scotia, it's documented in many books. With him being my ancestry brick wall and the American Revolution and slavery records being my main source of information on him, these destroyers of historic things could very well end my whole search for his origins, thus my own. It's like they think they can erase every bad thing that happened just by destroying the evidence/proof that it happened.
The incorrigible President Trump (I cringe every time I even hear his name) said in one of his many, many tweets or speeches, that he was "changing history". He actually thinks he can change history LOL ... I guess he must have a time machine we don't know about, since that's literally the only way that can be done.
History happened. It doesn't have to be celebrated, but it should be documented, it should be learned about and from, and we should grow into better people by knowing not to do those horrible things in our own lifetimes because we have learned from it. If they don't want the statues out in the public because some people are offended by them, then put them in a museum or something, don't go vandalizing them, or bashing them to bits and tossing them into harbours.
I do realize that I'm one of those of "white privilege", which I also don't get because I don't feel privileged. I don't think I'm any better or worse than anyone else, I don't think I deserve any different treatment because of the colour of my skin any more than the colour of my blood, but maybe people think I don't understand it all as personally and deeply as others might. But white privilege or not, I'm not stupid, or unfeeling. I've done ancestry research for a good friend of mine who happens to be black, and it is nearly impossible to get beyond a certain point in her lineage because the records simply do not exist. That breaks my heart too. I watch shows like Roots, or others on slavery, or read the books or the historical records in the archives, and I sit there and literally cry over the treatment the people had to endure, and I'm grateful that I wasn't one of them and I feel deep sympathy for those that were.
It appalls me that things like what happened to George Floyd are happening in this day and age when we should know better. We should DO better. But doing better doesn't mean destroying what came before us. It doesn't change what happened 200+ years ago. It means working together towards a better future. Despite what Trump says, we can't change history. But we can learn from it.