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A “Make-Good” Gone Mad

Rumors of War by Kehinde Wiley

So after all the controversy about statues of Confederate heroes in the South, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond decided it had the answer. The museum purchased a 27-foot high, 60,000 pound bronze and stone statue by Barack Obama portraitist Kehinde Wiley depicting a young black man with dreadlocks wearing Nike sneakers on the back of an enormous horse, then permanently installed it at its entrance. “It’s beautiful and intimidating,” said a Washington Post reporter who attended the installation.

Great. Let’s counterbalance all the memorials to Confederate heroes (Virginia has the most of any state) that so many black people find intimidating/offensive with something that will cause many southern white folks to be even more wary of young black men than they already are to begin with. Not to mention the complete and utter lack of any actual historical significance to the scene whatsoever.

Let’s make amends as appropriate for excessive glorification of the rebellion in the states that were part of the Confederacy. But not by intimidating and alienating the very people who need to be convinced with a truly over-the-top public display such as “Rumors of War.”

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