Taylor Swift Calls for Removal of Racist Statues in Tennessee
In a series of tweets and an Instagram post, Taylor Swift is calling out her home state of Tennessee after officials promised to replace a statue of Edward Carmack that was torn down during protests. Swift addressed the Capitol Commission and the Tennessee Historical Commission, asking for the organizations to reconsider their vow to reinstate what she sees as celebrating racists and glorifying what they did.
"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."
Carmack was a newspaper editor who regularly published pro-lynching pieces. He also served as a U.S. Senator.
"Replacing his statue is a waste of state funds and a waste of an opportunity to do the right thing," Swift continued.
Swift also addressed the state's Nathan Bedford Forrest Equestrian Statue, which celebrates the first Grand Wizard of the KKK. She acknowledged the fact that simply taking down statues won't fix racism, but she adds that it is one step that officials can take to make everyone feel welcome, no matter the color of their skin.
"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," she wrote. "I'm asking the Capitol Commission and the Tennessee Historical Commission to please consider the implications of how hurtful it would be to continue fighting for these monuments."
Swift finished, saying that removing the statues permanently would be a strong declaration from the state. Instead of continuing what Swift calls cycles of hurt, Tennessee has the opportunity to make a change and stand with the Black Lives Matter movement and its allies.
"When you fight to honor racists, you show black Tennesseans and all of their allies where you stand, and you continue this cycle of hurt. You can’t change history, but you can change this," she wrote.