In the midst of the current Black Lives Matter protests against America’s systemic racism against black people, Taylor Swift has been using her enormous platform and white privilege to call out acts of injustice and demand the system be changed. Last month, she blasted the U.S. President Donald Trump for threatening to “shoot” anyone who was caught looting, and has used her platform to share information, resources and donation links to support protestors and demand justice for black Americans killed and unfairly treated by their legal system.
And now, in a Twitter thread published on the 13th of June, the Tennessean country-pop singer is calling her hometown to dismantle statues of “racist historical figures who did evil things.”
“As a Tennessean, it makes me sick that there are monuments standing in our state that celebrate racist historical figures who did evil things,” she wrote. “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.”
As the "Bad Blood" singer continues to explain, Carmack was a “white supremacist newspaper editor who published pro-lynching editorials and incited the arson of the office of Ida B. Wells, [a black woman] who actually deserves a hero’s statue for her pioneering work in journalism and civil rights.” Bedford “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.”
For black people, these statues are a reminder of the historic systemic racism in the U.S. against them. As she puts it, actively choosing to worship and celebrate them and their achievements "shows black Tennesseans and all of their allies where you stand, and continues this cycle of hurt."
Taylor Swift’s comments follow the current protests against the systemic racism against black people in America. The protests have been held in the most countries and states in history, inspired by the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others by police. Last week, footage emerged of protestors began to forcibly remove statues of historical figures who were known racial oppressors, in a reminder that we should not celebrate acts of racism or people who promoted values of white supremacy.
“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,” reminds Swift.
“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.”
So, what are people petitioning we replace these statues of racist historic figures with? Well, ofc, our lord and saviour, Miss Britney Spears.
While the current Black Lives Matter movement protests against systemic racism against black Americans, it has also been a moment for us in Australia to reflect on our own treatment of BIPOC. Our nation was built on the shameful fact that white settlers invaded and colonised First Nations people’s land. Ever since, our government has introduced policies like the Assimilation Policy from 1951-1962, in an attempt to abolish Indigenous Australians’ history, population and culture. Since the Royal Commission of Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1991, at least 432 Indigenous Australians have died in the hands of police (there are now estimates that this number could be closer to 437).