Casual reminder that it’s okay to be fascinated by historical figures or even admire some of their accomplishments, but you cannot ignore that they were flawed individuals, and you cannot ignore the horrible things some of them did. Like, George Washington—he was the first president & set many important precedents. Thomas Jefferson—wrote the Declaration of Independence & was a pretty intelligent man.
But that does not excuse the fact that Jefferson was a rapist and pedophile or the fact that both men owned slaves. And contrary to what some posts I’ve seen going around claim, there is no way to argue for owning slaves. Slavery is not a morally grey issue—there are no excuses for it; you cannot defend the fact that a person literally owned other human beings as property?? I can’t believe that’s even a topic up for discussion. It is irrelevant who someone is; it is irrelevant how pervasive slavery was in their time period; if they owned slaves, you cannot justify that.
You can by all means have an interest in a historical figure, but be responsible about how you discuss them. Talk about their accomplishments, talk about why they interest you, but speak truthfully—don’t forget about the bad things, the ugly things. History is something to learn from, but you cannot learn if you glorify it, if you try to justify atrocities, if you altogether ignore the parts that make you uncomfortable.