Taylor Swift is Sickened by Confederate Statues in her Home State of Tennessee
It’s a very strange phenomenon that there are so many statues of Confederate generals and soldiers and monuments to the Confederacy in general. After all, the Confederate States of America only existed for about five years, they were formed and fought for a decidedly evil cause and they got the absolute shit kicked out of them by the United States of America.
A small number of these monuments are battlefield markers that stand at the historical locations of troop deployments and encampments, and a very small number were erected to honor former CSA soldiers for their later, post-war accomplishments. And some are simply grave markers.
Aside from that, though, most of these monuments were inexplicably approved for the sole purpose of supporting racism. Some were built as recently as the 2010s. Most of the monuments were built by or in conjunction with the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a group that also erected statues honoring the KKK.
Taylor Swift, who has long been known for shutting the hell up about politics so as to not alienate any of her fanbases, decided to speak up about these monuments and she is not a fan.
The thing that got Swift to speak out now is Tennessee’s decision to replace a Confederate statue that was torn down during the protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd.
Edward Carmack’s statue was sitting in the state Capitol until it was torn down last week in the protests. The state of Tennessee has vowed to replace it.
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) June 12, 2020
Here’s Swift’s entire statement, from her Twitter account.
As a Tennessean, it makes me sick that there are monuments standing in our state that celebrate racist historical figures who did evil things. Edward Carmack and Nathan Bedford Forrest were DESPICABLE figures in our state history and should be treated as such.
Edward Carmack’s statue was sitting in the state Capitol until it was torn down last week in the protests. The state of Tennessee has vowed to replace it.FYI, he was a white supremacist newspaper editor who published pro-lynching editorials and incited the arson of the office of Ida B. Wells (who actually deserves a hero’s statue for her pioneering work in journalism and civil rights).Replacing his statue is a waste of state funds and a waste of an opportunity to do the right thing.Then we get to this monstrosity. Nathan Bedford Forrest was a brutal slave trader and the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan who, during the Civil War, massacred dozens of black Union soldiers in Memphis.His statue is still standing and July 13th is ‘Nathan Bedford Forrest Day.’ Due to social pressure, the state is trying to overrule this, and Tennesseans might no longer have to stomach it. Fingers crossed.Taking down statues isn’t going to fix centuries of systemic oppression, violence and hatred that black people have had to endure but it might bring us one small step closer to making ALL Tennesseans and visitors to our state feel safe – not just the white ones.We need to retroactively change the status of people who perpetuated hideous patterns of racism from ‘heroes’ to ‘villains.’ And villains don’t deserve statues.I’m asking the Capitol Commission and the Tennessee Historical Commission to please consider the implications of how hurtful it would be to continue fighting for these monuments.When you fight to honor racists, you show black Tennesseans and all of their allies where you stand, and you continue this cycle of hurt. You can’t change history, but you can change this. 🙏
This is an incredibly thoughtful piece by Swift, and it makes it clear her previous silence on political issues wasn’t because she had nothing to say.
She comes off sort of like the anti-Kanye, staying quiet despite having the ability to meaningfully contribute to the discourse instead of never shutting up despite the fact that you were only ever right once.