Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens hosted Campus Clash at Mississippi State University on April 7.
Kirk and Owens spoke critically of the movement to remove Confederate statues from public places. In recent times, Confederate monuments have become controversial, causing people to petition for their removal.
“It deeply troubles me to hear about the statue situation,” Owens said. “It deeply bothers me that the idea of a Confederate soldier now is someone who owned slaves when it wasn’t the case. It was a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight. It’s become a perversion of history.”
According to The Daily Mississippian, students in the audience argued against Kirk and Owens’ claim.
Owens and Kirk made clear that the taking down of the monuments would shield young Americans from history and “the soldiers’ sacrifice.” They explained that the Civil War was not only about slavery and that it was much more complex.
Graham Allen, a veteran who works with veteran outreach for Turning Point USA, joined Kirk and Owens on stage to clear up the foggy views many Americans have against the South.
“My whole life, I was taught people in the South are stupid and racist,” Allen said.
Kirk went as far to say that he sees more racism in Northern America than Southern. He was raised in the suburbs of Chicago and says that the “affluent North” is more racist than the “Deep South.”
“I have heard more racist comments there than in the South,” Kirk continued.
Owens continued the topic by speaking of her personal experiences with racism in today’s America.
She said that being a black conservative attracts a lot of frenzy from the media:
“Because of the color of your skin, they think they know how you’re supposed to think,” she said. “People have made their full-time profession to misrepresent what we do.”
Kirk and Owens eventually shifted the conversation to highlight the remarking quality of free speech.
“This event could not take place in any other country in the world, where a group of people come together to critique the government and people in power.”
“We feel we’re on the verge of losing this country and every gift that’s been given to us,” Kirk continued. “This is a culture war between freedom of speech versus communist and socialist ideals.”
The TPUSA chapter president at Ole Miss, Lucas Edmondson, said that he organized the event so that all sides of the argument can be heard.
“I think it is important to hear all voices on campus, including left-wing voices. Without a balance of differing viewpoints, it would be more difficult to find middle ground on political issues that need to be discussed,” he said.
“I think it’s great that we were able to get a new viewpoint in, especially with all the stuff going on lately,” said MSU student Amanda Charles. “It’s cool to see everyone open up their eyes and be more open-minded.”