LA CROSSE, WIS — Oh no… oh God, ohhh God… The chickens have finally come to roost. They’ve done it now! People all over the world are toppling racist statues and I keep wondering: Am I next?
Sure… right now, it’s not about my specific brand of racism, but who knows? The imagery on 130 year old syrup bottles and boxes of rice are going away, who’s to say I won’t be next to disappear? One day I’m here looking like a Land O’ Lakes Butter wrap, the next moment BOOM! I’m gone, making it look like a Land O’ Lakes Butter wrap from more recently.
Lately, it’s been easy for me. Anytime there’s a whiff of suggestion that I should come down, La Crosse’s caucasian population springs into action! They hit back with arguments like “Well, I don’t get why it’s racist!” and “But the artist had good intent though!” or “Let’s put it to a referendum of the 90% white population around here to see if they think it’s racist!”
And of course – my all time favorite and most effective argument – which is “It’s not as offensive as that Blue Baby statue, but no one’s calling for that to come down!” even though both you and I know that blue babies are not a historically disenfranchised race of people actually living in the real world suffering from consequences of decades of racism. We know that, but they don’t, and that has been working out great for me.
Maybe if I just stand perfectly still, nobody will notice me. But I doubt it. I’m nervous. The more this movement against entrenched racism goes on, the more people in La Crosse might notice that I am very conveniently located right next to a river.
The Hiawatha Statue contributed to this article.