Until the recent violence in my home state of Virginia, I was indifferent about the Confederate monuments adorning the city of Dallas. As an African-American man coming of age in the '80s, I chose to ignore these emblems of an ignominious history. They've had no power over me -- or so I thought.
Charlottesville is a prescient warning that my passiveness is indefensible. Confederate monuments are powerful symbols cloaked in antebellum familial pride, honor and heritage. Their very presence, however, conditions silence and emboldens ideologies that stain the pages of America's history. The city of Dallas must dispense with these disingenuous arguments and remove these monuments quietly; absent the valiant glory of battle their form depicts.
My great-grandfather served in the Pacific Theater in World War II. In exchange for his honored service to our great nation, he lived the remainder of his life subjugated in the Jim Crow South. No statues, parks, schools or streets will ever bear his name. This is not surprising since he was relegated to the segregated units of the U.S. Army with no opportunity to ascend to a command rank. Still, humility comes easy when you emerge on the right side of history fighting for the cause of liberation and not enslavement.