Letter: Why Are We Still Debating Whether Confederate Symbols Have a Place in 2020?

Outside of a Black-owned business in Nashville, a box with a Confederate flag hung from a tree. The box wasn’t about history; it was about intimidation. The box, which had to be investigated by Metro Police's bomb squad, was found recently outside R H Boyd, a fifth-generation Christian publishing house, located near several other landmarks of Black Nashville: Fisk, Meharry Medical College, and more. Thankfully, the box didn't contain a bomb, but its message was clear. Confederate symbols have been actively used by hate groups and white supremacists to terrorize Black people for decades.

The Confederacy fell 155 years ago, but we are still being asked to debate whether or not its monuments and flags have any place in 2020. In the Tennessee State House, the Republican supermajority still refuses to remove a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest, the founder of the KKK, from the rotunda. They will tell you it is about history and heritage. But, as Black and Brown folks have known for too long, these symbols aren’t about the past.

These Confederate symbols mean something to white supremacist groups. In our Capitol, the Ku Klux Klan held a meeting at the foot of the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust in 1980. We must denounce their racist ideologies by not giving the figures and symbols they revere a place of honor in our government buildings. A memorial to a racist and traitor to the United States only serves to make Black and Brown folks feel unwelcome.

To Representative Mike Sparks and others, these Confederate symbols represent history. But they have also shown how poorly they understand the very history they claim to defend.

To this day, Representative Sparks will not say if the Civil War was fought over slavery.

Make no mistake, the Civil War was fought to preserve the rights of white southerners to own Black bodies, a fact that was repeated time and time again by prominent Confederates as they explained the reasons behind secession. There is a reason white supremacists return to these symbols and monuments again and again. They represent a legacy of white supremacy. Black and Brown people know this. The white supremacists who use these symbols know this. Yet the Republican legislature continues to do the actual work of erasing history by pretending that the Confederacy can somehow be separated from its founding principles.

We have a lot of work to do in Tennessee. We need to expand Medicaid, and we need a living wage that allows hard-working people to not just survive, but thrive. We need equal treatment under the law. But if we want a Tennessee that takes care of all of us, we have to reject the symbols and monuments that celebrate a legacy of white supremacy and exclusion.

I am running for State House because I believe Tennesseans deserve and want a more equitable future. But I also know we must have these hard, but necessary, conversations about our past. Only then can we move forward.

Brandon Thomas is running for Tennessee State House, District 49 (votebrandonthomas.com).

WhistlePig + Alfa Romeo F1

SHOREHAM, VT (September 13, 2023) — WhistlePig Whiskey, the leaders in independent craft whiskey, and Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake are waving the checkered flag on a legend-worthy release that’s taking whiskey to G-Force levels. The Limited Edition PiggyBack Legends Series: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is a high Rye Whiskey selected by the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers, with barrels trialed in their wind tunnel to ensure a thrilling taste in every sip.

The third iteration in WhistlePig’s Single Barrel PiggyBack Legends Series, the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is bottled at 96.77 proof, a nod to Valtteri Bottas’ racing number, 77, and the precision of racing. Inspired by Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese F1 driver, this Rye Whiskey is finished with lychee and oolong tea. Herbal and floral notes of the oolong tea complement the herbaceous notes of WhistlePig’s signature PiggyBack 100% Rye, rounded out with a juicy tropical fruit finish and a touch of spice.

Keep readingShow less
by Spectrum Medical Care Center

Nurse Practitioner Ari Kravitz

When I started medical transition at 20 years old, it was very difficult to get the care I needed for hormone replacement therapy because there are very few providers trained in starting hormones for trans people, even though it’s very similar to the hormones that we prescribe to women in menopause or cisgender men with low testosterone.

I hope more providers get trained in LGBTQ+ healthcare, so they can support patients along their individual gender journey, and provide the info needed to make informed decisions about their body. I’ve personally seen my trans patients find hope and experience a better quality of life through hormone replacement therapy.

Keep readingShow less

Descanso Resort swimming pool and lounge area

Descanso Resort, Palm Springs' premier destination for gay men, just received Tripadvisor's highest honor, a Travelers' Choice "Best of the Best" award for 2023. Based on guests' reviews and ratings, fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor's 8 million listings around the world receive the coveted "Best of the Best" designation. Descanso ranked 12th in the top 25 small inns and hotels category in the United States. Quite an accomplishment!

Open less than two years, Descanso Resort offers gay men a relaxing and luxurious boutique hotel experience just minutes away from Palm Springs' buzziest restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Descanso has quickly established itself as a top destination for sophisticated gay travelers, earning hundreds of 5-star guest reviews and consistently ranking in Trapadvisor's top positions alongside brother properties Santiago Resort and Twin Palms Resort.

Keep readingShow less