Going into the 2020 election season, we must begin to plant seeds that will grow during this dangerous time. We are still fighting against the hordes of alt-right torch-wielders, and defending the rights of BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) everywhere. Many would say that we are succeeding at shutting down the hate speech, but others, like this journalist, believe that we are not doing enough.
A process called erase-and-replace is well-used in writing, like when trying to make a first draft of a book better, or making an article/scientific study more understandable to the average person. You take something undesirable and replace it with something better. But what if we were to use this process to correct some of the wrongdoings done by our ancestors? For example, instead of Christopher Columbus sailing the ocean blue, we could put an African woman in his place, who was en route to find a new home for her people? She could have commandeered a ship taken from people trying to make her a slave, freed those already captured, and sailed across the ocean in search for a better life.
Proposals are being made throughout the historical and scientific communities to make these kinds of changes to our history books, so that we may empower new generations to feel that they can accomplish anything. This may not be enough, though, to change the minds of the average person, which is why we would have to outlaw any speech that discusses the old, out-of-date history.
Erase-and-replace is a valuable tool in our arsenal, as you can see from the reactions of old racists whenever a Robert E. Lee statue is removed. It really affects them negatively. We should continue to remove the white supremacist figures of our past, and put new people in their place.
We must begin to update our textbooks and call our congresspeople now. Urge them to back any laws that would promote erase-and-replace, and tell them that you’ll be voting in 2020. Our lives depend on these changes.
If we can change these racist, problematic figures of our past, our children may be able to learn about and love that African woman who discovered America while freeing slaves, and never even know a man named Christopher Columbus. Maybe the world will be a little better for it.
Stay safe, and fight back.