How Should White Americans Deal With Their Ancestors?

By David Marcus

Certain phenomena transcend all cultures and exist independent of contact between them. One of those is admiration of ancestors. In every corner of the globe, people take comfort and inspiration from the generations that came before them. These ties, whether represented in worship or merely remembrance, are an essential part of the human experience.

Today white Americans are being asked, often by other white Americans, to break with this central human tradition and condemn their forefathers. This has come in the form of removing statues, changing history books, and teaching even very young children that their ancestors provided them privileges that are undeserved and wrong.

But what are the implications of teaching young white people their ancestors were awful? If every other racial group in America can draw strength and inspiration from those who came before them, how should young whites consider their own ancestors? Can a balance be achieved where they can respect them, while understanding our country’s history of racism and inequality?

Why Were Whites Dominant?

Everyone can likely agree that in the history of the United States, and beyond that the last thousand or so years, white people have held significant influence in politics, economics, and to a lesser …read more