Some of you know that I am a bit of a history buff, or I am at least a history buff wannabee. I’m all for teaching and remember history, but I get more than a little tired and pissed off with historical revisionism, especially if the revisionism is based on wishful thinking and not facts. And right now, it looks like we are in for a “all you can eat historical bullshit buffet” with regards to the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.
First up is South Carolina’s celebration of secession from the Union in 1860. Actually, it is not supposed to be a celebration of the Confederacy, but sponsoring a ball for the event sounds an awful lot like celebrating. And we get the usual disclaimers that South Carolinians are not defending slavery. Instead, the organizers of some of the events being held only want to recognize the “bravery” of the founders of the Confederacy. Oh, and the South Carolinians who decided to seceded stood up for their principles too and did what they felt was right!
I suppose it does take a lot of bravery to own another human being and treat someone like property.
I probably shouldn’t make a big stink about this rampant historical stupidity, but it does bother me. Not only because it is blatantly wrong on the historical facts, but Civil War revisionism is being utilized by conservatives to dismiss African Americans political and economic concerns.
The arguments from Civil War revisionists are as follows:
- The Civil War was not about slavery, but defending state’s rights.
- The Confederacy was created to protect individual freedoms from an over reaching federal government.
- Slavery wasn’t as bad as painted. In fact, white owners loved and cherished their slaves like family members.
- Armed slaves fought in the Confederate Army, so slavery could not have been a bad thing.
All of the above is bullshit. But those that buy these falsehoods use them to denigrate the political gains of African Americans. It all comes down to, “Slavery was a good thing! African Americans have nothing to complain about because they were treated well by white Southerners. We as Americans don’t have to give African Americans any special recognition or privileges because Southerners did nothing wrong.” In other words, African Americans are crying the blues for nothing.
Besides trying to sanitize some really terrible history, Civil War revisionists want Americans to internalize a message of “African Americans are WATB!” You don’t want to encourage that type of behavior, so let’s ignore the concerns of African Americans.
It’s modern racism hiding as historical revisionism, and I am afraid we are going to hear more of this in the coming year.
One thing that might defuse some of the historical revisionism is for African Americans to demand that white slavery be instituted. If slavery was so wonderful and loving, why shouldn’t white people get some loving too? It might actually bridge the racial gap.
Just a thought.