What's in a name? 'Robert E. Lee' concerns sweeping country

Nearly two weeks ago, racial tension in our country seemingly hit a boiling point.  Violence and death in Charlottesville, Virginia.
In the days following, the Austin City Council vowed to change the name of Robert E. Lee Road and Jeff Davis Avenue.
Conservative advocate Torin Archbold says trying to erase history is dangerous, especially if it doesn't affect you.

"I mean somebody that lives on the north side of town that's never been on Robert E. Lee...why?  I mean it doesn't make any sense and if you let that kind of stuff affect you it will ruin your life," Archbold said.

Archbishop Dr. Sterling Lands II from Greater Calvary Bible Church says destroying elements of learning sets us back instead of forward.

"It's history.  It's not beautiful as our president says.  I think that's ridiculous.  But it is history and there's much to learn from that," Lands said.

Lands says he's never allowed Confederate symbolism to get to him.

"I can ride by a Confederate Flag all my life, I was born and raised 28 miles from the Ku Klux Klan headquarters.  I don’t care anything about that, I used to see their signs.  Didn’t matter to me because that was their sickness.  And I refused to let their sickness become my sickness," Lands said.

With that said, Dr. Lands feels Confederate soldiers were villains not heroes so removing the statues from UT's main mall this week and placing them in a museum for education was a good move. 

"But don't get me wrong I am not on board with just going in and arbitrarily or capriciously pulling down statues and ripping up flags, I think that's ridiculous.  There are more important things for us to be doing in this country than that," Lands said.

This week ESPN decided to pull a broadcaster named “Robert Lee” off of the University of Virginia's season opener because of his name.

"Does he have to ask his mother for forgiveness for having the last name Lee and having her name him Robert?  Was she a racist at heart when she named him?  It's ridiculous, it's ridiculous," Archbold said. 

Austin NAACP President Nelson Linder supports the removal of the Confederate monuments and Robert E. Lee Road but says ESPN's decision was just too far.

"From my standpoint, I wouldn't do that.  Frankly I think people know who this guy is and basically a lot of folks in the country are named Robert and Lee.  I have a friend named Robert Lee," Linder said. 

In fact the Austin History Center confirms, in the 1950's there was an NAACP Chairman of Membership here in Austin named Robert E. Lee.

So what's in a name?  Dr. Lands says the issue our country is facing right now isn't just about a name.

"I think it's about people wanting to do good because of the guilt associated with white supremacy and they are looking for ways of fixing it but they don't really want to go too far so let's change the name of the street, let's pull the statue down, let's tear the flag down.  You've still got white supremacy so what did you accomplish?" Lands said.

We asked Nelson Linder about the possibility of switching Robert E. Lee Road to be named after the NAACP member instead of the Confederate General.
Linder says there are other champions of civil rights in this city that might deserve that.  They will be looked at instead of just paying attention to the name Robert E. Lee.

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