Friday, April 29, 2016

Confederate "Heritage" Month 2016, April 29: Recovering Lost Causer? Or liberal concern troll?

The William Winter Institute for Racial Conciliation's April 2 entry at their Facebook page in their series to debunk the pretension of Confederate "Heritage" Month is a bit diappointing. It's an article, Confederate heritage paralyzes Mississippi by Joseph R. Murray II Jackson Clarion-Ledger 03/03/2016. The paper identifies Murray as "a civil rights attorney, a former campaign official for Pat Buchanan [?!] and author of 'Odd Man Out.'" He writes in the tone of a recovering conservative. But some of his Mugwumpish claims sound a lot like liberal concern-trolling, too:

Make no mistake; those who wore a grey uniform were fighting a fight created by aristocrats. Most of those soldiers were not slave owners but poor whites trying to scrape by. In fact, most of those fighting under the Stars & Bars were only one step above a slave.
Yeah, if you ignore that all those non-slaveholding soldiers knew very willing they were fighting to defend the South's sacred Peculiar Institution of slavery. And that they often aspired to become slaveowners themselves. And that in civilian life they had been required to participate in mandatory slave patrols, a key institution that gave non-slaveowning whites a subjective stake in the system of slavery and white supremacy, and was a forerunning of the post-Civil War white terrorist groups like the Ku Klux Klan.

These poor exploited soldiers were tools of a Southern machine more concerned about the bottom line than human rights.

This history, however, is not recognized today. Instead, Confederate history is either demonized by a liberal culture that equates it to slavery or revered by a revisionist culture pining over the land of cotton.
Bot Sides Do It!

But in the context of the Civil War, one side (the Union) stood for democracy and abolition of chattel slavery. The other side, the one those "poor exploited" white Confederate soldiers fought for was opposed to both.

The fact is those states that seceded from the Union committed acts of treason.
So did the individual soldiers who fought for the Confederacy. Some white Southerners like Newton Knight and his associates in the "Free State of Jones" took a different path. Not an easy one. But why should Americans honor treason in defense of slavery over American patriotism in that cause? Or even equate them?

And while folks can banter back and forth about whether slavery was a key component of the split ....
Those "folks" will be almost exclusively white folks who choose to ignore the actual history of secession and the explicitly declared aims of the seceding states.

No comments: