"When you fight to honor racists, you show black Tennesseans and all of their allies where you stand, and you continue this cycle of hurt," the singer wrote on Instagram

By Gabrielle Chung
June 12, 2020 09:55 PM
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Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift wants statues that symbolize "hideous patterns of racism" removed from her adopted home state of Tennessee.

On Friday, the Grammy-winning artist, 30, called on the Capitol Commission and the Tennessee Historical Commission to "please consider the implications of how hurtful it would be to continue fighting for these monuments" in a lengthy statement shared on her Instagram.

"As a Tennessean, it makes me sick that there are monuments standing in our state that celebrate racist historical figures who did evil things," Swift wrote. "Edward Carmack and Nathan Bedford Forrest were DESPICABLE figures in our state history and should be treated as such."

The singer then singled out Carmack, who she described as a "white supremacist newspaper editor," and said that replacing his statue after it was torn down in a recent protest against racial injustice would be "a waste of state funds and a waste of an opportunity to do the right thing."

Her statement also blasted tributes dedicated to Nathan Bedford Forrest, a "brutal slave trader and grand wizard of the Klu Klux Klan who, during the Civil War, massacred dozens of black Union soldiers in Memphis," according to the musician.

Taylor Swift
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"His statue is still standing and July 13 is 'Nathan Bedford Forrest Day,'" she wrote. "Due to social pressure, the state is trying to overrule this, and Tennesseans might no longer have to stomach it. Fingers crossed."

Swift continued, "Taking down statues isn't going to fix centuries of systemic oppression, violence and hatred that black people have had to endure but it might bring us one small step closer to making ALL Tennesseans and visitors to our state feel safe — not just the white ones."

"We need to retroactively change the status of people who perpetuated hideous patterns of racism from 'heroes' to 'villains,'" she said. "And villains don't deserve statues."

In the caption of her post, Swift added, "When you fight to honor racists, you show black Tennesseans and all of their allies where you stand, and you continue this cycle of hurt. You can’t change history, but you can change this."

The pop star spoke about supporting the Black Lives Matter movement earlier this week, asserting in a tweet that "changes MUST be made."

"Racial injustice has been ingrained deeply into local and state governments," she wrote on Twitter Tuesday. "In order for policies to change, we need to elect people who will fight against police brutality and racism of any kind. #BlackLivesMatter."

The "Cruel Summer" songstress followed up with a Twitter thread, encouraging people to vote in order to fight against police brutality and racism.

"This article written by @BarackObama is a fascinating read about changing policy at the state and local levels," she continued in her next tweet, which included a link to former President Barack Obama's article on Medium titled, "How to Make this Moment the Turning Point for Real Change."

In the article, Obama, 58, highlighted the importance of voting and participating in electoral politics in addition to protesting.

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In the last tweet of her thread, Swift shared a similar sentiment by urging people to fight for access to mail-in voting for the 2020 election since ongoing concerns about the novel coronavirus might hinder some from going to the polls.

"We need to fight for mail-in voting for the 2020 election. No one should have to choose between their health and having their voice heard," she wrote.

Swift's message comes nearly two weeks after she took a stand against President Donald Trump, whom she criticized for threatening to send the military to intervene in the ongoing protests and riots in Minneapolis over the killing of George Floyd, seemingly suggesting that the military would shoot looters. (Trump's tweet has since been flagged by Twitter as violating its policy on the "glorification of violence.")

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

• Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.

ColorofChange.org works to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.

• National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.