Plaque added to Andrew Jackson statue is just a bandage over larger issues

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Andrew Jackson statue in KC. // Photo via Google Maps

After 59% of voters decided to keep the statue of President Andrew Jackson outside the downtown Kansas City courthouse, a new plaque has been added telling of Jackson’s history as a slave owner and his support in removing Native Americans from their land. It also tells of the Trail of Tears and the thousands of Native Americans that died because they were pushed from their lands.

“Almost two centuries later, we hold a broader, more inclusive view of our nation,” the plaque says. “Jackson’s ownership of slaves and his support for the Indian Removal Act are part of his history.”

Apparently, the plaque is supposed to be the solution to the backlash surrounding the statue and will give people visiting better insight into the racism Jackson encouraged.

But who are we kidding?

The people most likely to visit a statue of Andrew Jackson most likely don’t care that he enslaved people or supported the forced relocation of Native Americans. The only possible audience for this might be for people stumbling upon the statue who have taken so little interest in American history that they’ve only heard of Jackson as a president, or perhaps as Donald Trump’s favorite president. And if that is the case, what is a plaque going to do?

To be honest, the plaque is just a bandage over the bigger issue surrounding the statue. Why are we still idolizing people who were blatantly racist? That feels like we’re only encouraging racism to continue and claiming that is a part of history. As long as we keep turning a blind eye to the problem and claiming that history is history, nothing is going to change. It’s time we own up and stop living in the past.

It’s time we do a bit of reckoning. Here, in Jackson County.

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