Confederate History Month?

The Governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell; Republican, has declared April “Confederate History Month“.

Personally, I don’t really care. But politically this is not the best move. Nothing against those who want to remember the Confederacy, but it’s those who continues to misrepresent it by it’s association with its cherished symbol.

Now how do you approach this one?

Being in the South I understand that some people who says they love this country and are among the first to proclaim “I want my country back” has some affinity for the Civil War & the Confederacy for some reason. That’s fine. I love history, including this. So I’m all for history, but just be true to it.

Many enjoy Civil War era history and the ‘struggle for the south’. I’ve learned to let them enjoy themselves, because they will always reveal themselves to you if you give them enough time.

In my opinion, this is honestly not an issue Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Arabs, Native Americans or Jews has to reconcile. I would say that many Whites are not of this mindset either, but some are. On this issue I believe it are these Americans who are White who has the voice that would be loud enough to breakthrough to those who still don’t get it. Because the reality for everyone else there’s nothing we can really do about it, but to understand it for what it is.

So I asked the question, how do you approach this issue?

First, do not get upset when you see this, but calmly ask the question of those who support these efforts.

Do not accuse them of being racist, but have a polite conversation with them. Remain neutral. Let them prove their racism to themselves. It’s unavoidable and amazingly undetectable to them. The reason is because more often than usual, they are so fascinated by their own history they fail to consider the value of any others or how they relate.

Observe how they handle what is true and what is false. This is your indicator for how you deal with them. Are they remorseful or resentful?

Keep in mind that there’s not much you or anyone can say or do to change the mind of a racist. They do not live or abide by the same code of ethics you do. They see you as the enemy and not a friend, regardless of your race. If you disagree with them, you’re the enemy. If you don’t believe me here’s a test. Say something positive about some high profile Black, Jew, Asian, Arab or Latino who is Conservative and observe how they respond. Then say something negative about a high profile White man (Dick Cheney or Rush Limbaugh) and observe how they respond.
It’s tiresome at times, but if you see a glimpse of reason with any of them you must hold out hope for them that in time they’ll receive what you’re trying to teach them.
Some may try to reverse things on you and suggest that you have some sort of racial resentment, but as absurd as that may be. It’s actually begins to get funny after awhile, but the important thing to remember is to keep them thinking. Thinking about the truth of their history and the truth of your history. Thinking about what it is that they are doing and why they’re doing it.

Be prepared to hear many of them say that they’re not racist and site some Black person typically as their burden of proof, but don’t laugh or lash out. This is the general response. It’s now socially undesirable to be seen or labeled as a racist, even if your actions suggests you are. The thing to remember is to not lash out, but keep them thinking. This is the problem. No one has challenged them to continuously think about others, just themselves and their own interest. Racism hurts the racist more than the one it’s intended for, but few takes the time to consider it.

Now politically speaking, Governor McDonnell has once again made the mistake Republicans continue to make when it comes to race. I don’t know how many times I’ve said this to Republicans and typically many just don’t take it seriously enough. In essence, repeating the mistake.

Democrats will proudly pick up this club and beat them over the head with it as long as they continue to make the mistake. This was a lesson Democrats learned back in the 1950’s & 60’s when they finally got their hands on it. In decades before then, Republicans use to beat Democrats over the head with this same club. But I guess the words of President Lyndon Johnson remain politically true since he signed the Voting Rights & Civil Rights Acts into law. Politics made a significant shift since then. Although it’s taken some years to develop and make efficient, but you only have to look at the demographics of the two major parties to see who gets it and who doesn’t.

Gov. McDonnell is banking on the racist and those who sympathize with them. This is political suicide. Why not just stand on the steps of the VA State Capitol and give a speech proclaiming segregation like George Wallace.

To those who may ask, “What’s wrong with having a Confederate History Month?

My answer to you is that I see nothing wrong with learning about the Confederacy and the role they played in American History. Just tell the whole story, not just the abridged radio version.

What was the full reason for the Civil War? Economics?

What was the primary economic driver in the South during the time before the Civil War?

I know the answer, but I’ll let you look it up for yourself. When you do perhaps you’ll begin to see why the Confederacy has been unfortunately plagued with the stains of racism for all these years. But I say celebrate it for what it’s worth, but just be true.

Personally, I don’t have a huge problem with it anymore. When I see someone with the Confederate Flag in back of their pick-up truck, on a t-shirt, bumper sticker that reads “Heritage, Not Hate” or on a hat or belt buckle, I smile. Not in support, but it’s the polite thing to do when someone introduces themselves to you. I know who you are now.

Thank you for allow me to see what’s behind the sheet. Now lets get to know one another 🙂


2 thoughts on “Confederate History Month?

  1. Governor McDonnell did this proclamation to fuel tourism? Give me a break … how about as a political move to fuel the right side of the conservatives. Studying history is wonderful … but … 1) it must be from an open view … and 2) it must be deep because there is more to it than a chapter in a history book. After all, the more one learns, the more one discovers how much there is to learn.

    Good post Tim!

  2. The Confederate side of the war is part of the reality, it won’t go away just because some want it to. We’ve discussed this before, Tim, and I know where you stand. You live in the South and you know how it really is. Racism is no worse here than it is in California or New York.
    To confine it to one section of the country is to be in denial as many people are.

    The problem I have with the idiot, Bob McDonnell, is that Southern whites like myself owe it to African Americans to properly and clearly classify slavery as the evil it is and always has been.
    He should have stated that yes, Confederate history is as much responsible for shaping this country as anything else in our past, but the evil of dehumanizing African Americans taught us the lesson we needed to learn. That all people are equal in the eyes of God and we repent of this intolerable sin.

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