Trevor Noah is pretty blunt when it comes to addressing the idea of Confederate Memorial Day.
“Can I just say, that is f—ed up on so many levels,” he said on Wednesday night’s episode of “The Daily Show.”
The bit takes on the tradition of Confederate Memorial Day, still celebrated on June 3 in many parts of the American South. (Only Alabama and Mississippi commemorate the holiday by closing governmental offices.)
There are some problems with this. For one, as Noah jokes, what are black people supposed to do on a holiday that celebrates a time when a huge chunk of the country was advocating for and practicing slavery?
“What are black people supposed to do on this holiday?” Noah asked. “If you’re a black person in one of these states, what are you supposed to do? you’re sitting around like ‘man this is bulls—.'”
On the other hand, what do you do when a part of your history and heritage involves recognizing that the Confederacy was founded on white supremacy, as evidenced in many monuments? Do you dismiss it as a different time?
“It’s like saying ‘you can’t judge a baby for sh—ing in his pants because he didn’t know better. That’s why today, in honor of that baby, I sh– in my pants,'” Noah exclaimed.
Noah also highlighted recent efforts to remove monuments and statues that relate to this Confederate past. However, he noted that the issue is so heated that crews tasked with taking them down have to wear tactical gear.
“They’re afraid that some radicals with extreme beliefs might kill them. Hey, I wish there was a word to describe those kinds of people. I mean if they were brown we’d call them terrorists but I mean, they’re white so… misguided patriots? I don’t know,” Noah added.
But Noah — who is not American but is black and has shared his experiences with systemic racism in his home country of South Africa — has a plan. You can still celebrate your history. You just can’t ignore the parts you don’t like. If you want to honor a former Confederacy general, you also need to note that he probably kept slaves.
Noah also had another idea: Send all the Confederate merchandise to Africa.
“Americans can still observe the Confederate Memorial Day they’ll just have to go to Africa to do it,” he quipped. “I know what you’re thinking, it may be unfair to have to travel to a foreign continent across the Atlantic against your will… Now you’re getting it.”
Watch the full clip above.
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