Is Removing Confederate Monuments Hurting Businesses
The U.S. tourism industry has a multiplier effect on other forms of business. The country’s society and culture represents diversity to a great extent and is one that attracts international as well as domestic tourists (Portales, 2015). The recent unfortunate outcomes of a group advocating the removal of confederate monuments resulted in one and a number of injuries. The peaceful demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia has heralded many other anti-discrimination groups all over the U.S. to voice disdain against remnants of America’s regrettable past (Schneider, 2017). Many states existing below the infamous Mason-Dixon Line have erected formal legal walls preventing the removal of historical monuments set out on public spaces. Others have applied similar legal mechanisms to change such laws with little difficulty (Bliss & Meyer, 2017). Those supporting their removal deem such monuments as a celebration of a war that defended slavery and thereby a lasting impression of white supremacy. On the other hand, those against their pulling down argue that they should remain as a historical representation of the country’s cultural past. This paper addresses this issue form a standpoint that removing Confederate Monuments will only hurt businesses in the short term while allowing for greater entrepreneurial development in the longer term.
Indeed, the diversity of human society is accurately exhibited in the millions of needs that the present civilization continues to develop. Businesses have thrived from such assortments more so, as a result of the expansive tourism industry (Portales, 2015). Tourists require transport, communication, access to financial services, hospitality, healthcare, insurance, educational, sport facilities, and many others to ensure it attends to the needs of the wide variety of clientele. The tourism industry’s future is one that is bound to be characterized by uniqueness of requirements. For instance, persons of different cultural orientation and racial descent have to be encouraged into a position to enjoy holidays and travel just like any other tourist (Portales, 2015). Whether black, yellow, or white, businesses have to work towards eliminating all kinds of discrimination even the most subtle to uniquely capitalize on customer satisfaction.
Southern states developed economically on the backs of inhumanely treated ancestors of present generations of African Americans (Titus, 2016). Indeed, there has been significant progress with respect to equal treatment of all persons regardless, of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion and all other perceivable forms of discriminations. However, that actions witnessed in Charlottesville indicated that there are quotas dominant in these states that are an impediment to developments in social equality and justice (Bliss & Meyer, 2017). These are attributes that indeed affected the tourism sector in Virginia for all the wrong reasons and with it led to other businesses registering fewer customers. Similarly, this compromises attempts to integrate accessibility and travel to ensuring clients enjoy satisfying holiday experiences.
According to Bliss and Meyer (2017), states such as South Carolina demand that there be a 2/3rds vote within its legislative assembly to have a monument removed. On the same note, Tennessee has a state sanctioned historical commission which oversees all monuments within its boundaries. These are laws that tend to impose political as well as moral views of the Old South on current business practices which are in essence divisive. The competing notions with respect to the past also bear similarly conflicting visions on the future of its society. Groups which challenged the removal of the Confederate general, Robert E. Lee in the city of Charlottesville were neo-Nazis, white Supremacists and others (Bliss & Meyer, 2017). These are group known to openly discriminate against people of color even in business engagements. This has over the years fostered veiled tensions that discriminated against progress by businesses owned by African Americans. This implies that even before call against the presence of such monuments, their existence has for decades reinforced against social diversity.
Mississippi is presented with a worse situation in any attempts to eradicate the state of monuments advocating hate as well as racial bigotry. In 2004, it enacted a piece of legislation which prohibited the alteration or removal of not only statues but memorial deemed to honor the military (Paradies & Elias, 2017). These encompass even those affiliated to personalities and events of the Civil War. Streets, government buildings and schools that are named in memory of the war are also forbidden from making such changes. This is one state where societal attitudes seem to contradict the overall goodwill generally expressed by American society.
The education sector is one that is critical towards championing for positive societal changes enabling the universal approach to higher living standards (Portales, 2015). Such can only be achieved through all quotas of society moving in the same direction. The tearing down of monuments is in itself a good point of inculcating among the children and youths that monuments conveying negative messaged are retrogressive (Titus, 2016). The divisions arising from open or even ambiguous racial bigotry continue to manifest in the manner with which community members interact with one another. For a white person seeking to diversify his clientele base by offering services needed by African Americans may witness insurance agencies charging higher premiums after citing added business risks.
Opposing forces in any societal settings only translate to economic losses. Negative publicity discourages potential investors while also pushing investment costs upwards due to the uncertainty of benefits (Portales, 2015). Pulling down of Confederate monuments may continue to stifle business growth in the short term but the situation looks more promising in the longer term. Businesses affiliated to the tourism sector understand the losses that arise from an entrepreneurship being associated with neo-Nazis and white supremacists are bound to face not only from African Americans but from white Americans. It is unfortunate that many in the south have opted to along with groups abiding by discriminatory agendas. On the contrary, if the monuments are completely removed and people gain confidence that indeed the region has shunned racism to its fullest, then the same business will be open for greater growth. Its owners will appreciate that humanity is in its simplest form a manifestation of diversity. Appreciating that all persons are different in their own natural right could go a long way to cementing the benefits of diversity.
In conclusion, the cooperative attitudes of any society allows for environments that are safe and secure. The outcome is a fertile ground for progressive economic development. Any veiled form of discrimination will at one point or another become exposed as was the case in Charlottesville. Indeed, business experienced losses that they are yet to recoup. The way forward is to ensure that laws countering any steps against eradication of symbols of discrimination are rescinded. Maybe this will enable the country to heal from its hurtful past towards one that has a common vision with regards to respect for all members. The outcome will be a long term sustainable economic future that will not only ensure social justice but also appraise living standards amongst all.
Bliss, J. & Meyer, H. (2017). In the South, Confederate monuments often protected, hard to remove thanks to state laws. Tennessean. Retrieved from http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2017/08/17/south-confederate-monuments-often-protected-hard-remove-state-laws/573226001/?from=global&sessionKey=&autologin=
Paradies, Y. & Elias, A. (2017). How racism and a lack of diversity can harm productivity in our workplaces. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/how-racism-and-a-lack-of-diversity-can-harm-productivity-in-our-workplaces-73119
Portales, R. C. (2015). Removing “invisible” barriers: opening paths towards the future of accessible tourism. Journal of Tourism Futures, 1(3), 269-284.
Schneider, G. S. (2017). In the former capital of the Confederacy, the debate over statues is personal and painful. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/in-the-former-capital-of-the-confederacy-the-debate-over-statues-is-personal-and-painful/2017/08/27/87002bc4-8998-11e7-a94f-3139abce39f5_story.html?utm_term=.aa5aaef5b8a5
Titus, J. O. (2016). Fighting Civil Rights and the Cold War: Confederate Monuments at Gettysburg. History News: The Magazine of the American Association for State and Local History, 71(4).