Sitting down with an older man, who was African-American, we started talking about the world problems. I remember him saying, “If this world would just build upon the past instead of looking behind, we’d be in better shape.” After he said this, I started wondering, do we need to be reminded of the past?

The answer I was given was plain as the nose on someone’s face. Yes! Yes, we need to have the monuments to remember. As the human race we get forgetful of the past unless we are reminded. The problem with that is, history repeats itself when the past is forgotten.

Adolf Hitler ordered the removal of statues and monuments dedicated to the fallen World War I soldiers. He said it offended him because Germany had lost the war. He changed the German National Flag to the swastika flag, because the old Germany was dead in his eyes. Soon the German people forgot. It was not taught in schools anymore and every monument destroyed. World War II broke out due to the neglect of history.

Yes, I compared the cries to change Mississippi’s state flag and tear down monuments to Hitler and Nazi Germany. It’s ere. It’s too close to Socialism, which is Nazism. When you try to erase someone else’s right to remember and say it belongs in a museum, you are speaking the words of one of the most evil men to ever walk this earth.

Understanding history will help us build a better future. Not erasing it. That same old man I sat down with was wearing a shirt that had the state flag on it. He told me, “This shirt makes a lot of people scratch their heads but she’s my flag, too, and I’m proud to call this state home.”

That man has seen a lot. He saw what real racism was. Now it became an outcry of anything that someone finds offensive. It’s not going to stop. Changing the flag and removing monuments will only make matters worse. People are tired.

It’s a warning I’m wanting to give so you do not make the same mistakes our ancestors did. We must learn from it. We must have that reminder. I grew up being called a honky or cracker. I was on the receiving end of racism. I was told because I was white I was not good enough at sports. Because of my white skin I was privileged.

No one is privileged. There is no such thing.

Yes some folks are wealthier than others, but the choices you make in live define you. My parents didn’t have the money to send me to college. I had to study and get scholarships. I’m going to be the first person in my family to graduate a 4 year university. The culture should not define you.

You don’t have a dad at home? When you get to be a dad go change that narrative. Be there. So, why do you let something bother you that you never been part of? Because someone along the way said you should be offended. This goes for anyone.

Morgan Freeman said it best in an interview, “Stop calling me a black American and I’ll stop calling you a white American ...” You want to end racism today? Look at each other as Americans. Respect each other’s past, monuments, and flags. Understand that it’s OK to have reminders of the past.

The rear view mirror is there to remind you of what’s behind you. The windshield is there to show you where you are going. You focus too long on the rear view mirror, you’ll end up wrecking. Stay focused on the future and learn from the past. Use it to build up on, and not tear each other apart. Remember, Christ is the ONLY way racism can truly die.

Bruce Childress

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