As Donald Trump tries to divert attention from white supremacy with tweets about “beautiful Confederate statues”, I spoke on Thursday with the BBC and the British Forces Broadcasting System about why the issue of the statues has caused controversy for decades.
There is a conflict between the question of “Are these statues part of our Southern heritage and culture that help us to remember where we come from?” or are they symbols of a Confederacy which was based on a system of slavery and a system which continued to practice discrimination after the Civil War and all the way up to the 1960s and the Civil Rights Movement.
People are still very much divided about what it means to grow up in the US South of the 21st century….But Trump has gotten it wrong because he is exacerbating that division.
The discussion begins with a chat about the terrorist attack in Barcelona, from where I returned last weekend, and then turns to Trump and Charlottesville.
This is a disaster but Trump wants this….He has reopened the space that the white supremacy movement thinks it has because of his election….
What he wants is this us v. them attitude. The reason why he is not distancing himself from the white supremacists is that they have been among his most vocal supporters during the campaign and afterwards.
Trump feeds not on uniting people but on dividing them.