What’s in a name?
What’s in a name, you ask?
I refuse to stand by
And let a name continue to cause pain.
Your history may be important,
But others’ pain outweighs your culture.
Our culture is based on freedom and pursuit of happiness.
Their culture, their history, the identity we try to assign them?
Based in pain, enslavement, disenfranchisement.
You want your history?
A history built on the backs of others,
Humans we once called lesser, as if we had the power, the knowledge, the omniscience to define worth.
A history wrought by hands chained by the weight of our disdain
Our lack of care
Our lack of humanity.
Is that the history you want?
That’s not the history I want to preserve.
That’s the history I want to teach, to expose
In the hopes that we can prevent it from happening again.
You want to preserve your history?
But don’t plead retaining a name as honoring an educator when so much history,
History that is painful,
History that has ruined the freedom of a race,
Don’t plead ignorance to the general.
Keep your history separate from our institution,
Keep it to the books,
The hurt that it caused.
And do so by being better.
Do so by learning to listen to voices that have been silenced.
Do so by learning that the pain of others is not something you can determine or define.
Lee is not a name to glorify.
Lee is not the name of the educator when an outside eye looks in.
Lee is the name of a general,
The name of a property-driven man,
The name of an enslaver.
Do not pretend that your adherence to a warped and faulty history is anything but clinging to a name that turns a blind eye to the suffering of an entire race, an entire culture, an entire people.
Not unmindful of the future?
How about we focus on not being unmindful of the present too.
Because right now, your refusal to see Lee as anything but an educator is unmindful.
And remember that you are living history right now.
Be a person who incites positive change that will be remembered by the history books.