Why is it that we as a
country have such a hard time coming to terms with
our past and some of the uglier chapters? We think that saying
I’m sorry makes you weak. And I think that’s what has
to change in this country. You can’t actually
tell the truth if you’re not
willing to confront the mistakes you’ve made. If you go to South Africa, you
see a nation that is committed to never forgetting apartheid. There’s an Apartheid Museum. If you go to Rwanda, you see
a country that is determined to not forget the genocide. And if you go to
the genocide museum, they actually have
human skulls in there– that’s just how powerfully
they want to express their pain and anguish. I was in Berlin a month ago. And when you go to Berlin,
you can’t go 100 meters without seeing markers and
stones that have been placed next to the homes
of Jewish families that were abducted
during the Holocaust. And the Germans want you to
go to that Holocaust Memorial, because they want to
change their identity. They haven’t pretended that
there wasn’t this thing called the Holocaust. But in America, we don’t
talk about slavery. We don’t talk about lynching. We don’t talk about segregation. And because of
that, we don’t have a healthy relationship with one
another on the topic of race. Why are memorials,
statues, schools, highways– why is this symbolism
so important? There are some people, I think,
who think, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. What’s the big deal? When we honor
people that tried to defend and
perpetuate slavery, we create that same
kind of dissonance. We cannot legitimize slavery. We can not legitimize lynching. We cannot honor segregation
and racial hierarchy. We just can’t do it and recover. And that’s the reason
why those statues matter. Those street names matter. Those statues and
schools and highways send an incredibly
powerful symbol that is really almost hard to describe. It is hard to describe. And the history around them
makes that symbol even more disruptive, even more painful. Because these monuments
and memorials were largely erected to signal triumph
of a narrative war. The North won the Civil
War, but the South won the narrative war. They won the battle
of never having to apologize for the
violence and destruction, for having enslaved people. It was designed to
communicate to black people that racial hierarchy,
white supremacy will still be the law of the land. And I don’t think
we’ve appreciated the harm, the psychic harm
of what these symbols can do. And not just to
African-Americans and people of color, to all of us. Because when we are
forced, in this region, to make ourselves proud
of things that are not worthy of pride,
to make ourselves proud of things that
should really induce shame, we corrupt ourselves. We really do. Should statues of Robert
E. Lee and Jefferson Davis and other
Confederate heroes be removed, in your view? I wouldn’t remove
them because we all get closer to recognizing
that they should have never been put up in the first place. I want to get to the point
where we accept and acknowledge that we’re celebrating
things that we shouldn’t be celebrating. We should actually name some
streets after white Southerners who tried to end slavery. We can name streets and
schools after white Southerners who tried to stop lynching. And then we could
all be proud of that. And it would do something
that these symbols don’t do, which is that it could
bring people together. How do you convince people
who feel these statues are so associated with their
personal stories that they don’t
want let that go? My interest in talking
about our history is to not punish America
for this history. I want to liberate us. And there is a way to
be a white southerner and proud of who you
are and acknowledge the pain of this past. That’s what
restoration is about. That’s what
reconciliation is about. Native Americans have to
watch all this unfolding and think, when are people
going to accept and acknowledge what happened to us? You can’t live in a community
like Montgomery, Alabama without being mindful
that the Creek Indian Nation were forced to cede
21 million acres of land to create this space. And then they were forced on
a trail of tears to the west. Their burial grounds,
their sacred spaces were destroyed to build hotels
and banks so that black people could then be enslaved. And that story of the
Native American genocide is a story that we
also have to confront. We have to talk about that. We have to deal with that. Are you optimistic
we’re at a moment in time that we can come to
terms with the past? I’m optimistic because
maybe we’re in a moment where the silence is breaking down. And if we can break
down the silence, I have no doubt that something
beautiful can emerge. [music playing]

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. We are not responsible for what our ancestors may have done. Apologizing for something I had no part in does not change anything, no matter what.

  2. wow. Way to go let's keep the bigotry and hatred alive. I'm 56 years old and I had nothing to do with the past you're still crying about. get over it let it go move on

  3. People do talk about it. It’s just there is such much aggression in America no matter who it comes from. People want change but they don’t want it to come from them, like reparations. When do apologies and reparations stop?

  4. It did happen, you acknowledge it, learn from the past, and never let it happen again. Keep talking about the past you end up living in the past. Just like your exes you keep talking about them, you get emotional for something you can't change regardless…

  5. You can clearly see the unapologetic attitude of americans in the comment section. It seems that they want to forget history that doesnt work for them. You do not forget history because you learn from it. You do not want to repeat the mistakes of the past. That is why you remember it. That is how you move on.

  6. America's past is no different than any other nation. The only difference is afterward we spread wealth, prosperity, and civilized morals throughout the entire world. The statues are a reminder of every nation's past not just America's.

  7. Very few nations if any have a clear conscience about how they formed. The US in our case is a very different nation. You can pretty much be what you want if you have enough drive. We should always look back at how we got here but when people try to balance the past it's going to end badly. Study history to make sure those situations stay in history. Try to improve our current climate without malice or a sense of a debt owed and you will fair much better. I'm the type of person where Human is the only classification that matters. Gender, race, religion shouldn't matter. We have come so very far but still have a ways to go.

  8. To remember bad things just brings about more hate. Lets just love eachother and move forward. Not live in the past. Its sad but the people that experienced it… Are dead. Its too late for America to apologize to them. Lets move forward and love eachother.

  9. I didn't make a mistake. My ancestors did. I can't make up for what they did. We need to move on. It happened. We can't change it. Accept it, stop making us pay day after day.

  10. Part of the problem is that history is politicized — by both left and right. We don't like talking about the past because too often such discussions are dishonest, overly simplistic, polarizing, and unnecessarily cynical.

  11. Pretty sure everyone has continuously talked about it for the past 20 years. We elected a black president twice and yet the liberal media still beats this drum. It is getting old. People will always be biased about something. Just do the right thing and eventually things will settle down.

  12. Maybe because the people can't.. no won't acknowledge the true history of America from the 1400s copper colored American aborigines (not the Asians natives) to the year of 1776 when the corporation" USA" was established.. Shidd tell the truth first

  13. What are you talking about? We have black history month, countless American slavery historical museums, those live action museum parks, and movies. I just don't get your point. I'm not saying it's perfect, but most people would agree that it's our nations greatest shame.

  14. Why don’t they tell the truth in these videos and name the Democratic Party what it is what it did. If they want to talk about statues why not raise the black Republicans who killed establishing the Republican parties of the south all by democrats the lynchings all by democrats the Ku Klux Klan at the 1924 convention for Democrats

  15. Finna race is talked about constantly in America, racism still exists, it's disgusting, but for giant corporations like this to tell everyone that a big thing in America is nothing short of lies.

  16. Excellent, so by these precedents you are willing to consider tearing down the statues of Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, Jackson, for their contributions to the Native American genocide?
    (You can start with Mount Rushmore. Thank you)

  17. "We don't talk about slavery. We don't talk about lynching. We don't talk about segregation."
    Yet you can clearly convey each concept with a single word with no further explanation. Hmm, maybe possibly somebody may have talked about them at some point.

  18. Bryant Stevenson sites Germany and how you can't go 1000 ft. without being reminded of the holocaust. Yet he wants to remove the reminders of America's shameful past. He conveniently forgot that Chinese and Irish were also slaves. Removing theses things will insure that it happens again. Is that your goal?

  19. Democrats and their involvement of Americans suffering is never discussed because power over people is their goal

  20. Katie, don’t be stupid. The American people elected a black president, not once but twice. If you don’t have the IQ to be a good journalist, retire to travel the world. Take your winnings while you’re still up.

  21. It's a fact that black people are native Americans let's speak the full truth not all black come from Africa this is a fact but great video….

  22. It is also a fact that black people of Virginia could not claim the ancestry because of lot races laws passed. It is also a fact National Geographic that only 3% of so called African American have ancestry.

  23. Why are you asserting a falsehood via a question? It is not hard at all to talk about America's past. However, it is really hard to talk about 20th century jewish history. Just ask Thomas Sowell.

  24. Katie Couric thank you so much for asking that question about Native Americans.
    You are right we do sit back and think "what about us?".
    There were 5 tribes associated with the Trail of Tears and I am a direct descendant of the families that walked.
    Again thank you for not forgetting us too.

  25. "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; [and] that his justice cannot sleep forever."
    – Thomas Jefferson

  26. لان ماضي أميركا اغتيل واحتل من قبال الحاضر المقنع🎭🎭 🤔🤔🤔

  27. Don't apologize whites. You weren't alive and didn't do anything. Don't let blacks make you feel guilty for something you took no part in.

  28. For people who say "if you do not remember the past you are doomed to repeat it" and use this as an argument for guilt: remembering the past is one thing. Being made to feel guilty about it is another. You can remember the past and look to not repeat it without bashing someone over the head with it.

  29. Many individuals often find America's controversial past to be difficult to discuss. What do you think about Bryan Stevenson's position on the topic?

  30. Example #1 South Africa /facepalm.
    We talk about slavery, racism, etc. all the time. What's this guy smoking? That's practically all we talk about while the vast majority of our history is positive.

    I'd be fine with taking down monuments that are actually oppressive. I don't see how that fits Robert E. Lee, for instance.

  31. Alabama had laws banning interracial marriage up until 1999. And in the referendum, 40% voted against allowing it. Let that sink in.

  32. It's not just the issues concerning black slavery. Look at how the treated the American Indians (The Long March) and the Chinese in the good old American West.

  33. But what about all the other slaves and mass genocide of the native peoples, why is it always about African slavery that is the biggest talk, coming from a diverse background myself I find it extremely racist and irresponsible to only talk about a certain group of people that the colonials screwed over. I mean does anyone understand the literal extinction of native Americans that is still going on today, the US government doesn't allow for two of the same tribe to marry and have kids and if they do the "benefits" that the government gives them will be taken away. Also allowing yourself to think that it's only your group of people needing appologies makes you feel like your in this box and that nobody understands you and your the only group of people that are going through hardship when that's not true at all. We need to fix the present before we can fix the past.

    "Knowledge is power and power is knowledge" ✌✌

  34. Well the truth is, that this country has been hijacked and the lands were stolen from the indigenous folks in the 16th century . Simple and yet everyone overlooks it and focuses on the segregation and other aspect of equality. Am not saying segregation aspect and other issues that raises inequality is minor as its still plays major role, but we cannot dismiss the unjust route that led to the establishment that we have now.

  35. This guy has got to be joking. Slavery and racism are spoken about on a daily basis, and every American I have ever met in my life acknowledges how evil they were. The real problem we're having is that too many people take issues that were resolved in 1865 and 1964 and use them to divide Americans against one another today based on the color of their skin. Doing so only stirs bitterness, anger, resentment, fear and hatred and makes it so all that effort and bloodshed was in vain.

  36. “The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.”

  37. We have a problem talking about our past because it’s been transformed into political weapons instead of historical lessons by our politicians, education system and our fake media. Even the Bible is only welcome one day a week now and not part of public mindset that once guided our altruistic benevolence toward all.

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