*Sunday night (10-09-17), John Oliver spent nearly half of his HBO show “Last Week Tonight” using humor to detail the history behind America’s Confederate monuments and explaining why they need to be removed.
The segment comes as white nationalists returned to Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend to protest the removal of a Confederate monument. Their first march over the summer turned violent and ultimately ended with one counter-protester dead.
“What do you do now?” asked Oliver. “I would argue that nothing is not acceptable and trying to paper over the cracks can actually make things worse. In the 1990s, Richmond tried to fix its Monument Avenue, a street lined with statues of Confederate leaders, by adding African-American tennis legend Arthur Ashe to it. You can’t just give Confederates a black friend and say, ‘We’re good, right?’”
“So if we really want to learn from and honor our history,” he continued, “perhaps the first step might be to put most of these statues somewhere more appropriate surrounded by ample historical context — like at a museum.”
Oliver pointed out that the Southern Poverty Law Center counted 1,503 Confederate memorials across the country, of which 718 are statues and monuments, and 10 are U.S. military bases named for Confederate officers.
“Think about that…they were the enemy and they killed U.S. soldiers,” Oliver marveled. “That’s like finding out Nancy Kerrigan named her child Tonya Harding.”