Sunday, April 03, 2011
Continuity in white racism
I recently read extensively through secessionist-era speeches and sermons. Word for word, they echoed the racist diatribes that I heard growing up in the South - from invocations of African barbarism to blatant portrayals of rape and racial amalgamation. Secession died in 1865, but the ugly sentiments behind it persisted. My hope is that the 150th anniversary of the Civil War will spur reasoned discourse and an end to our forebears' destructive vision. I also hope that it will end denial by my fellow white Southerners. The next time you hear someone proclaim that secession was about state's rights, not slavery, ask what right it was that the seceding states were so anxious to protect. [my emphasis]This is from the contribution of Gordon Rhea to the article A Civil Discourse Charleston Magazine April 2011 (scrool down). It's a reminder of the elements of direct continuity from the days of slavery and the white racism that developed to justify it and white racism of today. As Rhea points out, that means that Confederate imagery is very servicable to present-day white racist agendas:
The Confederate battle flag of my youth represented opposition to integration. Today, it decorates the armbands of skinheads and white supremacists here and abroad.He also points to the sometimes hysterical fears that antebellum slaveowners embraced and encouraged, which was a huge part of the political dynamic that led to the Civil War:
Southern spokesmen described an apocalyptic vision of emancipation, race wars, and miscegenation: The collapse of white supremacy would be so cataclysmic that no self-respecting Southerner could fail to rally to the secessionist cause. Modern Confederate apologists contend that secession was about "states rights," not slavery. They should read the speeches and pronouncements of their forebears, who give lip service to "states' rights" only in the context of the rights of states to decide whether some of their inhabitants could own other humans.Tags: american civil war, gordon rhea, racism, us civil war, white racism
| +Save/Share | |
Links to this post:
No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?
[Tip: Point cursor to any comment to see title of post being discussed.]
SEARCH THIS SITE
News & Media Links