In New Orleans, a statue of past president Andrew Jackson has received a lot of criticism from civil rights activists. His history of enthusiastically killing entire Native American tribes has drawn opposition from many groups promoting racial equality in the past, so it is no surprise that Black Lives Matter decided to gather and call for the removal of this statue from Jackson Square. The suggestion that local governments should not support past politicians with obnoxiously racist viewpoints is not universally supported however.
Even Andrew Jackson’s contemporaries felt that his killing of Native Americans was unnecessarily widespread and brutal, but there have been complaints that Black Lives Matter is wrong for viewing past actions through a modern and politically correct viewpoint. One of the most outspoken protests against attempts to get the Jackson statue taken down comes from David Duke, a KKK Grand Wizard who also enthusiastically supports Donald Trump.
When protesters gathered in the square, Duke decided to show up and hassle them. However, his attempts to defend Jackson were met with derision. People started chanting, “racist, facist, anti-gay. Right wing bigot, go away!” Despite Duke’s attempts to provoke violence or silence the protest, the crowd remained peaceful and drowned out his attempts to criticize their protest. After a few minutes, Duke clearly realized that he was not going to provoke the desired effect from the protesters, so he gave up and decided to leave.
In a cell phone video that was taken of the incident, Duke scurried out of the square and then stopped just past the protesters to shout about his racist views. Duke claimed that Jackson was a forefather of American who deserved to be honored, despite the fact that Jackson had nothing to do with the founding of this country. However, it seems like only Duke and other racist people seem to feel the need to continue honoring Andrew Jackson. Now that the general public is aware of how shameful and hateful Jackson’s behavior was, he has been removed from the $20 bill, and his statue will most likely be gone from Jackson Square too.
Though he was not able to cause any issues at the protest, Duke has stirred up controversy in other areas. After the KKK Grand Wizard’s public support of Donald Trump, the presidential candidate did not disavow the endorsement of a hateful racist for several days. When he did disavow Duke’s support, Trump did it so mildly that Duke and many other white supremacists continue to support Trump’s xenophobic campaign.
Fortunately, it seems like this type of hateful behavior by Duke and other members of the KKK is on the decline. Instead of getting into fights, Duke slunk away once people made it clear they were not going to quietly tolerate his hateful views. In the face of public opinion, Duke was not able to defend a racist monument.