April 7, 2010

More on Confederate History Month for Virginia

This time from Adam Serwer. And I have to agree. There is this constant drumbeat from southerners who love the Lost Cause to downplay or ignore the role that slavery played in the Civil War. This goes back to the early historiographical explanations, as well as the push for reconciliation from both sides. The North grew increasingly racist as Reconstruction unraveled, and eventually threw southern Blacks over the side in their effort to give the South an "out."

That no longer works today, but the Lost Cause remains. But, if you read the secession papers and arguments, they are filled with open endorsements of slavery and declarations that this divide is centrally about slavery. When people like Governor Bob McDonnell declare April "Confederate History Month" and do so with no mention of slavery or the fact that Confederates took arms against the Constitution, and then resisted extending equal rights to blacks--he participates in an old horror, as if Civil Rights had not happened, and our understandings of race had not moved forward one step.

But, as many have argued, this is the new GOP--the party of the Confederacy. Moving against progress since 1964.

Sigh.

5 comments:

scripto said...

C'mon, man. It's Heritage, not Hate™. Of course, if my heritage involved my Great-great grandpappy fighting in a war to keep other men enslaved, I'd want to keep it kind of quiet.

Cold In Laramie said...

Streak, Back when I worked in Wyoming, a person from the Political Science department gave a presentation on the history of the use of the Confederate Flag. He argued that during the Civil War there were many Confederate battle flags. However, the one that is most popular now became the rallying symbol for those people who OPPOSED integration in the 1960s. I believe that Mississippi included this battle flag in its state's flag at about that time (although I may be misremembering the talk). I think though this discussion is related to the present one, in the way in which white southerners attempt to cloak their white supremacy behind symbols of the Confederate battle flag, Confederate History month, and other odious activities.

Smitty said...

This is revisionist history. This is the Deep South version of the Texas School Board History Re-write.

There are things in their past that they know are bad, but instead they wish to lift up the things that aren't *that* bad and rewrite them to be actually *good* things.

To them it's "we have a proud heritage" when to anyone else it's "we wish to return to a place where colored people didn't threaten to take jobs away from me."

leighton said...

Maybe I'm weird, but I've never put all that much stock in unqualified loyalty to cultural heritage. Sure, my great-great-*mumble*-great grandfather fought for the South in the Civil War. I also only exist because Henry VIII raped 14-year-old Agnes Blewitt. I don't think either event has much claim on my own actions or politial opinions.

I wonder whether the real issue is the same old black-and-white, all-or-nothing thinking we've gone on and on about. Real life is full of many conflicting stories, but when an entire subculture apparently thinks you can't appreciate the scenery in Montgomery without endorsing the actions of every 19th-century plantation owner, small wonder this crap is so persistent.

steves said...

No one from either side of my family was in this country when the Civil War was fought. I know where my family came from, but they were so poor that no one knows much about them beyond what towns they might have been from.

Dear South,
Despite our inept Generals, we still kicked your ass. Get over it.

Love,
The North