General Question

ibstubro's avatar

Is it possible to honor Confederate history in the US without glorifying racism? [Details]?

Asked by ibstubro (18730points) January 12th, 2015

Missour-uh is my birthplace and the article rings very true to me.

Can we erase history by ignoring it?

Has Missouri (and as the article suggest, perhaps the nation) reached a ‘tipping point’?

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59 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

No, it is not.
Just as it is not possible to “honour” the 3rd Reich without glorifying the Holocaust.
You can not just ignore the 11 million people that were murdered in the Concentration Camps and just pick the “positives” of the Nazi regime, just as you can not ignore the fact that slavery was named as the primary reason for the secession in the ‘declaration of causes’ by various southern states, including Missouri

dappled_leaves's avatar

No. Just as it is not possible to venerate the US constitution without glorifying racism.

Dutchess_III's avatar

No. And I hardly think ” A Confederate flag was raised. Some left fried chicken, watermelon and 40-ounce cans of beer.” is honoring anything.

Coloma's avatar

History is history, like it or not. It cannot be re-written and it also should not be used to keep the racism card afloat into infinity. If we want freedom of speech and expression that goes with the right to raise whatever flag you want and fried chicken and watermelon are part of the souths history, so what? Everybody likes fried chicken and watermelon and beer. lol
Nothing to get your panties in a wad over IMO.

Darth_Algar's avatar

No, it is not possible, no matter how many racist shitbags try to claim “heritage, not hatred”.

@Coloma “fried chicken and watermelon are part of the souths history, so what? Everybody likes fried chicken and watermelon and beer”

Oh come on. You know damn good and well that the friend chicken, watermelon and beer being set out had had nothing whatsoever to do with southern history.

Dutchess_III's avatar

No the fried chicken and water melon was a stereotypical insult to black people.

hominid's avatar

Note: The fried chicken and watermelon were not all the people were met with. My cousin participated in the NAACP’s “Journey for Justice”. The KKK was there to welcome threaten them, they had the back window of their bus shattered, and some of the signs they witnessed included, “All this for one dead nigger”.

kritiper's avatar

Sure. The Confederacy wasn’t only about slavery. It would help if people would let it go and quit trying to live in that past.

majorrich's avatar

It was what it was. Tractors weren’t invented yet and slaves were not uncommon to supply labor at the time. There were many free black people who owned slaves too. This guilt thing has got to end. Every civilization had slavery of some form or another along the way. We don’t do that any more, so in my mind it is over. As far as Confederate history goes; sure, slaves were utilized as labor. It doesn’t change history nor anything else.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It was about slavery, @kritiper. Lincoln vowed to end slavery. The South knew that if he was successful their economy would be killed. States started ceding the second he was elected.

tinyfaery's avatar

No. My mom was born and raised in Missouri. She moved to California and married a Mexican, and then was disowned by all of her family except her parents. I can’t imagine what it would be like if she married a black man.

My mom used to say that Missouri is full of racists. Seeing a confederate flag made her so angry and she called people who approved of it racists.

My own opinion? No.

DominicY's avatar

I think it is possible, yes. But I often question the motives of people glorifying the Confederacy. Why glorify something that was about separation? Seems like so many people in the South are proud of being an American and proud of the U.S., so why so much pride in something that was about fracturing the U.S. and Americans killing other Americans? I don’t see too many northerners taking pride in the Union-without-the-South, so why the other way around? And certainly since the preservation of slavery was a big part of their motives for separating, I can see why people conflate it with racism.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have always loved the way you think @DominicY

rojo's avatar

It is just another form of patriotism raising its head; an us/them mentality, but in this case the patriotic fervor is a regionalistic pride.

gondwanalon's avatar

Yes of course we should never forget American history. We should honor history by not forgetting it. It’s not a good idea to just remember the good warm and fussy aspects of history and disregard or rewrite the bad and the ugly. The great spirit of the people of the southern states and events of the Civil War is remarable. Last year I read “Bloody Crimes” by James Swanson and Richard Thomas. It’s a true masterpiece so vividly told that I could almost feel the struggles of the people. It was like I was there. The great sorrow the entire country felt from the the war and the hell of it all.The assassination of Lincoln and the death pageant of his corps. The chase for Jefferson Davis and John Willes Booth. It’s truly horrendous and sad history that should never be forgotten. Never!

rojo's avatar

JWB got away you know? Ended up his days living in France

Coloma's avatar

@Darth_Algar Maybe not, but lets not split hairs, er watermelons. Freedom of speech and expression right? Maybe, as you like to point out so pointedly, the meaning is subjective. lol
I agree with @kritiper Let it go.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@ibstubro Can you clarify what you mean by “honour” in your question? I am wondering if some people would answer differently depending what you mean by this.

Coloma's avatar

While it may be true that the fried chicken/watermelon is a stereotype, I still say so what?
Plenty of white southerners like fried chicken and watermelon too, and chitlins and grits and collard greens and cornbread. haha
There is always a grain of truth in stereotypes, which often are just observations and nothing more. I’m a blonde and have no problem making blonde jokes about myself.

The blonde stereotype originated with Marilyn Monroe and other bleach blond bubble headed babes of eras gone by. Why? Because these bleach blondes were portrayed as beautiful but often, not very bright women. Obviously I don’t buy into that but, stereotypes are often grounded in some element of observational truth.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It is frankly impossible to honor the Confederacy without honoring slavery. It would be equivalent to practicing Christianity while excluding Jesus. Those who make the mistake of thinking that the Confederacy and the resulting war were about things other than slavery are missing the point. While all of those other issues, states rights, agriculture vs manufacturing etc are valid, the consideration of a single fact demonstrates why ANY and ALL other arguments regarding both the war and the South are meaningless. That fact is this: At the outset of the Civil War the financial value of the slave population in the South exceeded that of THE COMBINED ASSETS OF THE UNITED STATES. Once you start digesting the staggering enormity of that one fact, it becomes unavoidably clear that EVERYTHING in the South was footed on Slavery. When people wax romantically on mint juleps, magnolia blossoms, and that genteel leisurely Southern “way of life”, they rarely consider exactly what it was that made that life possible. The destitution that lingers and defines the region to the present day is the direct result of the elimination of slavery, combined with the South’s pig headed insistence on perpetuating racial persecution above ALL other considerations. The significance of race in the United States is not truly appreciated by we its citizens. But try approaching the topic from this direction. Consider the proposition that for 150 years following its defeat, the South actually CHOSE segregation over economic viability.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@stanleybmanly “When people wax romantically on mint juleps, magnolia blossoms, and that genteel leisurely Southern “way of life”, they rarely consider exactly what it was that made that life possible.”

Yeah, this really is it for me, too. They cannot be separated without a quite outrageous lack of respect and compassion for the slaves who made that life possible.

Coloma's avatar

^^^^ I do agree with that, but still…it is what it is and it was what it was.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Coloma

Yes, freedom of expression. Not freedom from criticism. Feel free to set out all the chicken, watermelon and beer you want whenever the negros come through town, but don’t expect to not get called a racist shitbag for doing so.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@dappled_leaves While I agree with you that it IS a moral issue, it is MUCH more important that we understand that morality aside, the existence of the South as an economic entity hinged on slavery, PERIOD!!! The people advocating secession were brutally aware of this. The thing that frustrates me most about racial issues in this country is the failure of our citizenry to SEE the implications of racism as a hazard to themselves. Those poor raggedy white boys who collectively kicked the shit out of shiny well equipped Federal armies for 2 years, hadn’t a clue that the system they were defending was THE reason they were poor and raggedy. All of those people in subsequent years running around in sheets and lynching black folks, failed to appreciate that terrorizing and walling off Negroes guaranteed economic irrelevance for THEMSELVES.

kritiper's avatar

@Dutchess_III Whatever Lincoln felt about slavery, it wasn’t also officially about slavery until Lincoln released the Emancipation Proclamation, a presidential decree issued 22 Sept. 1862 to take effect 1 Jan. 1863. Before that date, the war was about (basically) states rights and preservation of the union. Slavery had always been an issue, even with the Founding Fathers about 75 years earlier, who ignored the issue knowing that at some point it would be dealt with. In the Civil War, it was not the primary issue.

Coloma's avatar

@Darth_Algar No racist shitbagging here, just stating a fact, there is a grain of truth in all stereotypes, other wise they would never have become stereotypes.

jaytkay's avatar

…it wasn’t also officially about slavery until Lincoln released the Emancipation Proclamation…it was not the primary issue..

Nonsense. The “right” they wanted was slavery. The South fought for the right to torture, rape, enchain, murder, buy, and sell human beings.

The South Carolina declaration of secession (the first among the Confederate states) very clearly states that their anger is about slavery and property (meaning slaves), which are mentioned 22 times.

Link:

osoraro's avatar

Missouri was never formally part of the Confederacy and never formally seceded. It was claimed by both sides and Missouri split its regiments between North and South. But the majority of the troops went to the North.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Once more, the states rights, agrarian or economic reasons for the war, ALL of those reasons are as @jaytkay says euphemisms for slavery. Slavery (free labor) was the TRUE wealth of the South. It was the ONLY model which permitted the plantation system and a viable Southern economy. This is indisputable, and the desperation with which the South attempted to cling to its former ways post Civil War is both understandable as well as predictable. It was the failure of the Federal government to vigorously enforce the emancipation and civil rights of black citizens which insured an impoverished underachieving Southland for 150 years.

Strauss's avatar

It is not possible to honor Confederate history in the US without glorifying racism. Nor is it possible to honor the economic gains of the late-19th-century Northeast US without glorifying the workhouse mentality of the textile mills.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Coloma

Do you have a cogent point here, or are you just arguing for the sake of it? If the former is the case then, please, make the point already. If it’s the latter then this is not worthy of any further consideration.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Yetanotheruser No question there were horrors in the North, the inevitable result of laissez faire mercantile capitalism. Once more, if you set aside the moral issue, you might fairly state that Northern industrialists would not long tolerate a South endowed with an enormous pool of “free” labor.

Coloma's avatar

@Darth_Algar My point is that stereotypes exist for a reason, good, bad or indifferent.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Sometimes there is a valid reason. Most of the time tho, stereo types are created to lock people into a position where they can be looked down on.

Women are bad drivers
Men are smarter than women
Women don’t know how to manage money and spend spend spend on frivilous stuff to make themselves look more attractive.

What are the reasons these stereotypes arose about women, when none of it is any truer for women than for men?

kritiper's avatar

@jaytkay Fact: There were too many people in the north who wouldn’t have gone to war over slavery. And they weren’t too happy about it after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, either!!

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think most people wouldn’t go to war, period, unless there is some financial incentive. Most of our military guys aren’t on some sort of mission to save democracy. They’re just doing what they’re told and getting paid for it.

Strauss's avatar

@stanleybmanly …the inevitable result of laissez faire mercantile capitalism.

Replace mercantile with financial and you can very strong trends in that direction today.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Coloma

Your point was “southern history”. Now it’s “stereotypes exist for a reason”. This seems to be your thing – once your argument is deflated then it suddenly becomes something else. Keep shifting the goalposts, maybe you’ll eventually score a point.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Yetanotheruser You’re much too gentle Trends and direction my ass! We have arrived and are in the heyday of ruthless financial exploitation.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@kritiper That is indeed a fact. There were riots in the North when Lincoln announced the emancipation of the slaves. What not one person in 10,000 understood was that freeing the slaves meant bankruptcy for the South

Strauss's avatar

@stanleybmanly I have been accused before of being a gentle man!

Coloma's avatar

@Darth_Algar My point is history is history, good, bad or indifferent, it is what it is, and stereotypes, while often offensive, carry some truth and getting incensed over fried chicken and watermelon is over reaction to a relatively benign stereotype.
Not about shifting goal posts, just shifting perspective.
Your methodology, on the other hand, is to be more invested in winning rather than trying to understand what someone else is saying.
This is my last word, but feel free to insert yours, just because, well…ya know, gotta be cock-o-the walk all the time.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Coloma Send ME the fried chicken & I’ll vouch for you during the coming race riots.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’ll take the beer!

Coloma's avatar

@stanleybmanly White people can’t eat fried chicken in the presence of black people without being racist? I guess that means eating Linguica last night makes me racist towards Italians too. Damn, no more Mexican food for me either I guess and shit, I was going to make home made Pizza tonight.

I guess all I can eat now to not be worried about being called racist is what..Campbells Soup and Wonder Bread? lol ;-)

@Dutchess lll Deal!

stanleybmanly's avatar

@ Coloma .Send me your Mexican and Italian food as well. I’m prepared to defend your racist ass against all comers. Seriously, no one here believes you to be a racist. You just make it entirely too easy to tease you.

ragingloli's avatar

Make sure to wear a witch mask next time you visit a synagogue.
No way that could be misconstrued.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Coloma You are missing the point rather spectacularly here!

stanleybmanly's avatar

@ragingloli How dare you subject us to stereotypical wicken defamation. Such undisguised bigotry. I’m shocked, SHOCKED!

stanleybmanly's avatar

@dappled_leaves yes I’ve been stupefied by such an appalling slur against innocent taxpaying hard working witches.

rojo's avatar

Is it possible to honor the acts of heroism, service and sacrifice performed by both civilian and military members of the Confederacy without condoning the cause itself?
Phoebe Yates Pember

ragingloli's avatar

Is it possible to honour the acts of heroism, service and sacrifice performed by the SS?

stanleybmanly's avatar

@ragingloli Of course it is. Those folks have a HUGE fan base. Authentic paraphernalia of those people is worth a fortune.

Coloma's avatar

@stanleybmanly You’ve got it!
@dappled_leaves Nah, just interjecting some levity, not everything always has to be so-damn-serious, all the time.

rojo's avatar

This afternoon I noticed a dorm room balcony that had a Stars & Bars on one corner and the Stars and Stripes on the other. Would, or could that be considered honoring their Confederate heritage without racial undertones? The US flag would indicate that they abide by the National principles held.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@ojo Yes there is a distinction between people and the cause they serve. Repugnant and regressive as slavery was, there is little question that Robert E Lee remains the greatest soldier this country ever produced. Valor and heroism are not the sole property of the good and the righteous, but there should be no confusing a struggle to perpetuate slavery as “the noble cause”.

rojo's avatar

Here is an interesting passage from Etymology online, The American Civil War

If you peel back this slave-holder vs. anti-slavery fight over Western territories, you again meet a clash of economic interests. Why did the North fight so hard to prevent slaveholders being allowed to carry their institution into Missouri or Kansas or other western territories? I’d answer that question by asking another one: Why would a textile mill worker in Lancashire, England, undertake the expense and hazard of a voyage to America, only to go to work on the same mule, for the same wage, in an American mill? Because cheap land in the western territories offered him the prospect of making just enough to quit the factory and set himself up as a farmer.

Hamilton, in his 1791 “Report on Manufactures,” anticipated this: “Many, whom Manufacturing views would induce to emigrate, would afterwards yield to the temptations, which the particular situation of this Country holds out to Agricultural pursuits.”

That’s why New England mill owners resisted the expansion of slave labor and cotton plantations into the Louisiana Purchase territories and the land acquired from Mexico. Immigrants didn’t flock to Alabama and Mississippi, because the plantation system that had been created there didn’t provide the lure of cheap land for family farms. If Kansas and Nebraska had turned into Alabama and Mississippi, that would have cut off an essential inducement to immigrants, who gave the Northern factories cheap labor.

In reality, the lure was usually just a tease. A fraction of the immigrants to Northern mill towns eventually made it west and set up as farmers. The rest cycled from one row of tenaments to another, from Lowell to Montreal to Pittsburgh to Albany, dragging families and debt with them.

The wrangling over slavery in the territories, like the tariff, was part of the bigger picture of one region trying to break out of the original partnership compact and impose its will, its might, and its values on the whole of America. This seems a natural development to us, now, but only because it has been so effectively done. What comes to pass always seems foreordained.

And prejudice was not exclusively a Southern attribute. It is also worth remembering that De Tocqueville, French political thinker and historian best known for his works Democracy in America, noted that “race prejudice seems stronger in those states that have abolished slavery than in those where it still exists, and nowhere is it more intolerant than in those states where slavery was never known.”

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