Archive for the ‘bigotry’ tag
ABC News and The Associated Press report that the Atlantic Coast Conference has pulled baseball tournaments from being played in Myrtle Beach, S.C. in 2011-2013 in light of the Confederate battle flag being flown on the State House grounds. For years, the NAACP, which I argued here was all-but irrelevant today, has imposed “economic sanctions” (The organization seems to have dropped the term “boycott” to describe its sanctions) on South Carolina for its continued presence of the Confederate flag on the grounds. The flag was placed there via a bill passed by an all-white legislature in 1962. Since, the NAACP has lobbied for the state to remove the flag. In 2000, lawmakers did take it down from the State House dome — it was formerly third from the top, under the state flag and the United States flag — and place it on a memorial site honoring the fallen during the Civil War. But to remove it completely from the grounds and place it in a museum would require separate legislation.
The State newspaper on Thursday published a telling letter to the editor from a writer describing himself as a “white Republican and graduate of an SEC school.” He had this to say on the topic:
Here’s what I’ve concluded after searching my soul. I don’t need to wait for the NAACP to make me understand that the Confederate flag deeply offends a huge percentage of the population of South Carolina and thus needs to be removed from the State House grounds. A person’s celebration of culture, history and heritage need not needlessly offend many of our fellow citizens. — Jay Glasgow, letter to the editor writer, July 16, 2009
In retort, a commenter on the newspaper’s Web site wrote (parenthesis mine):
Making an honourable (sic) symbol that many BRAVE (using all caps makes points more valid, doesn’t it?) men fought and died under a so called symbol of racism does not make it so. This flag at the monument is historically correct as it is a battle flag … I challenge you to stand up to the tyranny that manifests itself today to those who condemn our people who struggled against an invading army in a war that both sides should have avoided. … The real intelligence here Mr. Bubba (another commenter) is seeing that our heritage is being attacked and doing something about it. Black soldiers also fought for the Confederacy ,too.The monument educates the public on the REAL history of this struggle. — By Pawmetto
Some, like the following, again make the claim that the war was not about slavery:
A little history lesson: The succession of the southern states was about a lot more than slavery. The southern states had every right to succeed. It was that right that convinced the states to unite in the first place. — Pammiesue
Unfortunately, the writer, while stating the war was fought for “a lot more than slavery,” never gets around to mentioning any other causes.
I was going to let some of these comments go, but I should digress for a second. First, the Confederate soldiers, by and large, weren’t brave necessarily (some of them probably were), they were conscripted, or made to fight, by the first draft ever passed in American history. They were green (just like a lot of Northern fighters) and many of them abandoned the army. At one period, the South had an abundance of arms and equipment, but not enough men to use the stuff! It’s not exactly as if able-bodied men were flocking from their farms and families to join the Confederate cause. Most of them were forced to fight, and most of them didn’t even have a dog in that fight, as the Confederate cause was largely that of the slave owners. One of the first sentences a professor uttered to us during a Civil War class at Clemson University was, “The Civil War was caused by slavery and anti-slavery.” So, while states’ rights was an issue later, it wasn’t the issue. It was the reciprocal issue arising from the slavery question as a consequence. Northern lawmakers, of course, couldn’t allow slavery to expand into the western territories because they knew how corrosive a system slavery was to establishing any semblance of an industrial society. A minority of northerners had staunch moral objections to the peculiar institution, but most simply rejected slavery because of the former problem. Nor could lawmakers allow the South to invade parts of South America with intentions of setting up an entire sphere for slavery, in what would have been known as the Golden Circle, an ironic title in itself, since the kingdom would have been borne on the weight of black folks’ shoulders. And to speak on the black soldiers, most of them, as soon as they could, defected to the Union side, and again, like most of the white soldiers, they were made to serve. By that point in the history of slavery in America, I would imagine that at least some of the slaves had developed an institutional mentality, the same that long-time prison inmates develop, which suggests they are happier inside the institution (jail, plantation) than outside in the free world because it’s all they had known.
But back to the comments. Here’s another responding to the letter to the editor:
Applause for your thoughts, Mr. Glasgow! Sadly, most South Carolinians don’t have the intelligence to see as clearly as you do. SC will drown in its ignorance before aknowledging (sic) the error of leaving the flag up. — bubba
Finally, the most enlightening comment I’ve read thus far on this topic came from Sammy in response to another article about the NAACPs “sanctions” against South Carolina, who was noting, like The State’s letter writer, that the flag should be removed for good:
… a personal favorite moment of mine was when some guy in a car saw my anti-Bush bumper sticker and screamed “America! Love it or leave it!” He of course had a confederate flag on his truck. The irony was rather delicious. — Comment by Sammy, reader of ABC News article
Pulling a quote from my own, randomly generated quote box on jeremystyron.com
Universal manhood suffrage, by establishing an aristocracy of sex, imposes upon the women of this nation a more absolute and cruel despotism than monarchy; in that, woman finds a political master in her father, husband, brother, son. The aristocracies of the old world are based upon birth, wealth, refinement, education, nobility, brave deeds of chivalry; in this nation, on sex alone; exalting brute force above moral power, vice above virtue, ignorance above education, and the son above the mother who bore him. — Susan B. Anthony
What will Sen. Barack Obama’s (half white, half black) election mean for the black race? For the white race? For our country? And how will it implicate this country’s past spiral down into slavery, its civil rights upheaval of the 1960s and its future?
First, Obama’s election is hugely emblematic. For centuries, speaking as a white person, we have had no problem, in other time periods, letting blacks cook for us, farm for us, serve us food, watch our children, cart us around, even make babies for us (albeit often illegitimate ones in the eyes of the then-law), but white America seemingly has never been fully confident (in fact, wholly fearful) of giving a black man the keys to the kingdom. In a couple months, Obama will hold those keys.
But what’s at the heart of such anxiety? That a semi-black president will attempt to initiate legislation that will benefit only black people? That a supposed less experienced senator from Illinois will irresponsibly guide us out of Iraq, thus perhaps upping the level of concern for terrorism at home? That he will bumble dealings with Putin in Russia’s harsh dealings with peripheral countries and that country’s ever-leanings toward the old Russia? That he will sit across the table from guys Chavez and Ahmadinejad, without preconditions, and attempt to instill reason into unreasonable characters? That he will set up abortion clinics at every corner so as to lay waste to sexual responsibility in preference to social irresponsibility?That we ultimately don’t trust him?
What’s in a name?
According to this video: http://eyeblast.tv/public/video.aspx?v=Q4IrVrkU much is in a name. The name given to you by your parents, gauging by this account, relegates you to a life of obedience to the implications of his/her own name. So, if your name is David, is it assumed you will, for instance, slay a giant with a slingshot and take as your mistress the wife of another? If your name is Abraham, should we assume you are expected to nearly slay your son (but be called back in the end), symbolically father thousands and lead a nation. If your name happens to be Jesus, as is the case in many Hispanic families, does it follow that you will go on to heal the sick, feed thousands and raise your friends, notwithstanding, yourself, from the dead. If one of your names is Hussein, are you thus relegated to the Islamic faith, or worse, terrorism? We don’t expect people named Abraham, David or Jesus to do such things in modern times, thus, why should we expect Obama to follow a similar trend? It’s astonishing that smaller symbols combined to form more cohesive, more meaningful, larger symbols can raise so much ire in a man’s middle name. Yet, this is the absurdity some have been reduced to during this election.
Some reduced to much worse
Forty-plus years removed from the Civil Rights movement and from segregation, racism is still a real and terrifying current running through American society, so much so that a black man can’t even begin talking about positive, uplifting notions of unity and accord in this country without talks of assassination. Some 150 years from slavery, nearly a century (or less) from lynchings and cross burnings, we still have yet to come to grips with our own mutual humanness.
A minority of white people actually feel bad about that black, dark (even the words to us denotes a negative) era of American history, such that some are willing to consider reparations to make up for the sins of their white ancestors and to make up for the toil, sweat and blood shed by the enslaved, which still today creates in many black folks lingering feelings of anger and resentment that the ancestors of masters, or even the ancestors of poor white folks, can’t pretend to understand. Other whites, though admitting it was a tragic step in a subversive direction for the country, make no claims of guilt and let the past speak for itself. The present isn’t implicated by the past, some may say, and we should move forward and seek to make the reality facing us today a better one. Some, evidenced by the above article, clearly haven’t moved on and are still waging the Civil War and carrying the cloak of the KKK, albeit largely in secrecy.
So, what now? The choices before us today are ironic by every account. The Republican headliner, John McCain, an aging, white male, at times, playing second tier in the headlines to Gov. Sarah Palin, the surprising vice president female choice, a largely unknown from Alaska, who is far more fundamentally evangelical, at least publically, far less professionally qualified and arguably, less ethical than her running mate (See: Troopergate). The champion of women’s rights, Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, long since bowed out of the election. Next, Joe Biden, another aging, white male, is following, not leading, the first black man in the country to head a major party ticket.
And Obama: the greatest irony of them all. A half white, half black, Harvard-law educated, erudite man poised — and with seeming tireless poise — is hours away from making this, if it isn’t already, the most historic presidential election. Assuredly, some, black and white, will vote purely on racial grounds, regardless of who is best fit for the job, which would be an anachronistic way to approach the most important decision a person can make as a citizen. Others, I’m confident, will make informed choices.
Assuming the polls are correct and assuming McCain doesn’t make a large push down the home stretch, will an Obama win erase the legacy of slavery or Jim Crow or segregation? Certainly not. Will it move us closer to obtaining racial harmony? Time will tell, and the country’s reaction to the election, whether there will be racial scuffles, more assassination attempts, nothing at all, or positive steps toward the unity among races of which Obama so frequently speaks, will testify to the evolution, or not, of our racial character since 1964. It will, for sure, test us like nothing since that year. And in my innermost whiteness, the ironically dark lurker beneath that eggs me on to lock my car doors in urban neighborhoods, some form of underlying anxiety persists at times, one from which I can’t deny or shirk away. It seemingly runs in all of us, at the core, black and white. It is this: for blacks, a nagging resentment; for whites, an often mistrust for those of other hews, that follows us through history like a ghost. Regardless of whether we want it there or not, it’s embedded in many of our ancestries and seated firmly in the roots of our family trees. Our ability to come to grips with these feelings, channel them and find new ways to respect and dignify our fellow man will dictate how the next four years play out. After all, at the core, we exist as humans across, and independent from, racial lines. Blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians have family and friends they love. They have children they want to see succeed. They live with the same basic needs. At times in our history, these truths have often teetered just out of reach. We can only hope that in the near future, they will be more fully realized.