Justin Timberlake on Confederate relics: ‘These monuments must come down’July 8, 2020
I’ve said before that I don’t think “the removal of Confederate monuments” is the biggest priority for Black Lives Matter and the larger racial justice movement. There are so many real-life changes that need to be made in policing, police funding, prosecution, criminal justice reform and more. But one of my blindspots has been these Confederate relics, how symbolic they are of systemic inequality and how cathartic it is to see them removed. Is it the biggest priority to remove Confederate relics? No. Is it still important symbolically to remove them? Yes. And it’s one issue where white people are coming to the table. White people like Justin Timberlake. He posted a video on his Instagram (which I’m including at the end of the post) with this message:
A lot of you know I’m from Tennessee…a state that happens to be the home of many many confederate monuments. I’ve been listening closely to the ongoing debates about what to do with these statues — and I really want to take a minute to talk about this. ⠀
When we protest racism in America, people think we are protesting America itself. Why is that the reaction? Because America was built by men who believed in and benefitted from racism. Plain and simple. This is when you hear “But that’s all in the past”. So let’s be clear… those men who proudly owned and abused Black people are STILL celebrated all over the country. ⠀
There are roughly 1,848 confederate statues in the US. More than half are in The South, and it’s not acceptable. No one should be protecting the legacies of confederate leaders and slave owners. If we plan to move forward, these monuments must come down. But let’s remember: Removing these statues does not erase our country’s vile history of oppression — removing them is a symbol of respect for Black people in America and it’s a step towards progress and actual equality for all. ⠀
This video is by @aclu_nationwide, which has been fighting hard to remove these statues across the country. Their Legal Director #JeffreyRobinson has been speaking on this issue for years (you can find more in the link in my bio). Please follow them and learn more about the history of the monuments in your own states and counties.
[From Justin Timberlake’s IG]
Is Justin Timberlake the ideal spokesperson for this issue? No. But I don’t think he’s trying to be the spokesperson. For what it’s worth, Justin has – at no point – made BLM all about “the Justin Timberlake Show.” He’s used his social media to “pass the mic” to the NAACP’s Tiffany Dena Loftin, Stacey Abrams and Rashad Robinson (President of Color of Change). While JT has done a lot of stupid sh-t in his life, I have zero criticism for what he’s been doing the past two months.
A post shared by Justin Timberlake (@justintimberlake) on
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.
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