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One More Example of The Duality of Symbolism in the South

More for Symbols of the South Sunday (or the day after), although in this case more abstract ones.  A friend of mine on FB noted another example of the ongoing duality of southern identity:  the fact that in Alabama (and other southern states) the official state holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. is also set aside to commemorate Robert E. Lee’s birthday.

Also on Alabama’s list of state holidays:  Confederate Memorial Day and Jefferson Davis’ Birthday.

What in the world would be the purpose of celebrating the birthday’s of Lee and Davis?  What message is being sent by that?

Related Posts:

About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. He is the author of Voting Amid Violence: Electoral Democracy in Colombia and is currently working on a comparative study of the US to 29 other democracies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging at PoliBlog since 2003. Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. In Virginia, the Friday before MLK Day is a state holiday marking the birth of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. Grewgills says:

    What in the world would be the purpose of celebrating the birthday’s of Lee and Davis?

    Coupling the RE Lee B’day with MLK day is all about poking a stick in the eye of the people that ‘forced’ the MLK holiday on the state.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  3. @Grewgills: well, yes, there is that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  4. Tony W says:

    @Grewgills: Meh, Arizona didn’t play. But they don’t do Daylight Savings Time either…weirdos

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. Moosebreath says:

    Sort of like how US 1 throughout Northern Virginia is known as Jefferson Davis Highway.

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  6. @Moosebreath: Yup.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  7. hk says:

    @Tony W: AZ is also a quasi Confederate state: the self-claimed “Territory of Arizona” (which, at the time, actually referred to the southern half, rather than western half, of the New Mexico Territory) actually held a secession convention and voted to secede in March, 1861 (before Virginia, in fact). This is closely linked to Henry Sibley’s New Mexico Campaign (which is featured, although with wild inaccuracies, in the Good, the Bad, the Ugly). Strange history some states have, although in this case, it explains a lot as to why AZ is such a bizarre place….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  8. anjin-san says:

    AZ is such a bizarre place….

    I was in AZ on business around election time last year. I cleaned up betting on Obama, collecting from people who assured me that were happy to take my money at the time the bets were placed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  9. al-Ameda says:

    Basically, that was those states (like Alabama) ‘posterizing’ those who honor MLK with an in your face slam dunk.

    But no, it’s not about race, and anybody who thinks this is about race is a racist.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  10. Connie Chastain says:

    In the South? How about in the US NAVY?

    Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson are heroes IN the South because they fought a brutal military invasion OF the South. But Southerners aren’t the only ones who see them as heroes. The US Navy named two of its earliest nuclear subs for these men. The Stonewall Jackson had a stripe around the bow, a motif taken from the Confederate battle flag. Take a look: http://navysite.de/ssbn/ssbn634_5.jpg

    And read the paragraph about the naming of the ship, which concludes with this: “Jackson’s death, a severe loss to the Confederate Army, deprived it of one of America’s greatest soldiers.”

    The UNITED STATES NAVY identified him as ONE OF AMERICA’S GREATEST SOLDIERS.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Connie Chastain:

    Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson are heroes IN the South because they fought a brutal military invasion OF the South.

    BWAAHAHAAHAAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA….. gasp, wheeze,,,,,

    You mean the continued occupation of a US fort in Charleston? And when it came to brutality, the South were expert and long practiced in it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  12. Tyrell says:

    My opinion of Davis is that he was not a strong leader. Lee has always come through the era with a lot of respect and little criticism; an honorable statesman. Some of his military strategy and decisions are certainly questionable.

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  13. Connie Chastain says:

    OzarkHillbilly,

    Roughly ten thousand battles, from minor skirmishes to days-long heavy combat — virtually ALL of them on Southern soil… Maybe you’d like to read some of the burnings of Southern towns that were burned by the yankee army which are listed in the government’s own Official Records? Most of them had no military presence in them at the time, so this was war on women, children, the elderly, servants and other noncombatants. Makes you proud to be an American, don’t it?

    Remember, this is just a partial list….

    Osceola, Missouri, burned to the ground, September 24, 1861
    Dayton, Missouri, burned, January 1 to 3, 1862
    Columbus, Missouri, burned, reported on January 13, 1862
    Bentonville, Arkansas, partly burned, February 23, 1862
    Winton, North Carolina, burned, reported on February 21, 1862
    Bluffton, South Carolina, burned, reported June 6, 1863
    Bledsoe’s Landing, Arkansas, burned, October 21, 1862
    Hamblin’s, Arkansas, burned, October 21, 1862
    Donaldsonville, Louisiana, partly burned, August 10, 1862

    And then there was the sack and pillage of Athens, Alabama, on June 30, 1862, by Colonel Turchin’s men, who committed rapes and other atrocities on the inhabitants. Turchin was subsequently court-martialed and put out of the military. What happened next? Turchin was rewarded by Lincoln, put back in the military. and promoted to Brigadier General.

    Athens, Alabama, partly burned, August 30, 1862
    Randolph, Tennessee, burned, September 26, 1862
    Elm Grove and Hopefield, Arkansas, burned, October 18, 1862
    Napoleon, Arkansas, partly burned, January 17, 1863
    Mound City, Arkansas, partly burned, January 13, 1863
    Hopefield, Arkansas, burned, February 21, 1863
    Eunice, Arkansas, burned, June 14, 1863
    Gaines Landing, Arkansas, burned, June 15, 1863
    Sibley, Missouri, burned June 28, 1863
    Hernando, Mississippi, partly burned, April 21, 1863
    Austin, Mississippi, burned, May 23, 1863
    Columbus, Tennessee, burned, reported February 10, 1864
    Meridian, Mississippi, destroyed, February 3 to March 6, 1864

    “For 5 days 10,000 men worked hard and with a will…with axes, crowbars, sledges, clawbars, and with fire, and I have no hesitation in pronouncing the work as well done. Meridian, with its depots, store-houses, arsenal, hospitals, offices, hotels, and cantonments no longer exists.” –W.T. Sherman

    (Hospitals? Wonder what happened to the patients….)

    Washington, North Carolina, sacked and burned, April 20, 1864
    Hallowell’s Landing, Alabama, burned, reported May 14, 1864
    Newtown, Virginia, ordered to be burned, ordered May 30, 1864
    Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Virginia, burned, June 12, 1864
    Rome, Georgia, partly burned, November 11, 1864
    Atlanta, Georgia, burned, November 15, 1864
    Camden Point, Missouri, burned, July 14, 1864
    Kendal’s Grist-Mill, Arkansas, burned, September 3, 1864
    Shenandoah Valley, devastated, reported October 1, 1864 by sheridan
    Griswoldville, Georgia, burned, November 21, 1864
    Somerville, Alabama, burned, January 17, 1865
    McPhersonville, South Carolina, burned, January 30, 1865
    Barnwell, South Carolina, burned, reported February 9, 1865
    Columbia, South Carolina, burned, reported February 17, 1865
    Winnsborough, South Carolina, pillaged and partly burned, February 21, 1865
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama, burned, April 4, 1865

    And, of course, this list does not include the thousands upon thousands of private homes, barns, crops in the field, and farm implements burned by the invaders.

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  14. @Connie Chastain: The war was pretty hideous, as wars tend to be.

    We should therefore celebrate the birthdays of the president and military commander of the secessionist country that started the war because?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  15. Shannon Fontaine says:

    how many of your pay checks have you returned to Troy University, becuase the Band still plays the first few notes of DIxie, in front of Bibb Graves Hall , named after a grand cyclops and two time governor?..Go see Dr Hawkins and resign this morning you hypocritical ass

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  16. (All of that suggests that there ought to be a day or remembrance for those who died in the war, but one for all Americans, not just confederates nor just for union deaths).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  17. @Shannon Fontaine: Your statement is not only rude, but a non sequitur. As such, I really don;t know how to respond.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  18. al-Ameda says:

    @Shannon Fontaine:

    how many of your pay checks have you returned to Troy University, becuase the Band still plays the first few notes of DIxie, in front of Bibb Graves Hall , named after a grand cyclops and two time governor?..Go see Dr Hawkins and resign this morning you hypocritical ass

    Did someone take all the blue M&Ms from your breakfast bowl?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  19. ptfe says:

    @Connie Chastain: You apparently have failed to notice that it was the southern states that proclaimed themselves independent of their prior governing arrangement because they wanted to write slavery into their constitution. They then bombarded Fort Sumter. The US didn’t start the war; the US fought a war against a violent, rebellious instigator. Yes, the Confederacy was intent on maintaining a sub-class of slaves, but more importantly, the secessionists attempted to turn the United States governing arrangement into a farce. We shouldn’t be surprised that the US used its military outposts throughout the area and to subdue that rebellion and employed military tactics that were common to the day.

    Yes, probably millions of civilians were directly or indirectly harmed without cause during the war — sadly, that’s what people in battle zones experience during war — but don’t whitewash this as though it was some sort of military action foisted unwillingly upon the seceding states, with those few staunch defenders of Liberty and Truth and Freedom suddenly finding themselves with rifles in hand standing between the Evil Northern Aggressors and their Peaceful Southern Brethren.

    I also notice you aren’t shedding tears over the hundreds of slaves of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Stonewall Jackson, as well as the millions held by their fellow “planter class”. Nor for the civilians killed by these heroes during their tenures as military men in service to the US and, yes, even the Confederacy. (In particular, look up Stonewall’s actions in Mexico — honorably respecting that government by slaughtering civilians in Mexico City.)

    As well, Jefferson Davis was, by pretty much any rational analysis, a lousy president, responsible for a failed military campaign, a failed PR campaign within the South, a massive failure of diplomacy, and a pretty terrible economy. Indeed, if his VP had been willing to attack Fort Sumter, we wouldn’t even think about Jefferson Davis, because Stephens would have been president of the Confederacy. So the only reason to honor Davis is that he was violently racist. Kind of nails the entire problem right there.

    Each one was a mix of (to modern eyes) vile, heroic, racist, righteous, rebellious, and loyal. They were products of their times, human beings, but they were also fighting for the rebellion to advance a cause we would consider overwhelmingly morally offensive. As a consequence, it’s tough to “honor” them as Civil War heroes, especially when many of these honors were propagated in the ’50s and ’60s in direct response to desegregation and the honoring of Civil Rights figures.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  20. Rob in CT says:

    For those of you not familiar with Ms. Chastain: seriously, don’t bother. I’ve seen her perform at other sites and lemme tell you – you might as well attempt to discuss Shakespeare with a brick wall.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  21. mantis says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    (All of that suggests that there ought to be a day or remembrance for those who died in the war, but one for all Americans, not just confederates nor just for union deaths)

    Indeed.

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  22. Pinky says:

    Fort Bragg is named after Confederate General Braxton Bragg. I think there’s something kind of cool about that, bygones and all. And the Civil War is the only war I’ve ever heard of that has reenactors. This dates back to the veterans from both sides gathering to remember the fallen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  23. Connie Chastain says:

    I honor Confederates for fighting an enemy that had no moral authority to come down here and make war on them. The slave-labored plantation South was a creation of the industrial north, to output raw materials for the north’s factories and ships’ cargo holds. Northern states abolished slavery within their borders, so northerners didn’t have black folks living in their back yards anymore, but that gave them no moral authority to war on the South — they were still armpit deep in slavery. Northern textile interests got rich processing Southern, slave-grown cotton in their mills. New England maritime interests got rich shipping Southern, slave-grown cotton to Europe. Northern banks got rich financing the purchase of plantations and slaves, and northern insurance companies got rich insuring slaves.

    If the north had really wanted to end slavery, all they had to do was quit buying the cotton. But they didn’t, and that is why they did not have the moral authority to send a brutal army south to kill Southerners. They profited from slavery as surely as any plantation owner, but without the expense.

    It was a war to free slaves? No. Emphatically, no.

    Yes, the flag has been misused by some groups, but so has the US. flag. And if the Confederate flag “flew over” slavery, the U.S. flag “flew over” the the country’s warring against American Indians, stealing their land, decimating whole tribes and herding them into reservations in conditions worse than plantation slavery. It was official US government policy to allow killing off the buffalo to starve the Plains Indians to extinction — so settlers could have their lands.

    It’s delusional to imagine the USA was morally superior to the Confederacy when you look at the whole of each, and not wear blinders that allow you to focus solely on slavery (which the north was deeply implicit in, a fact blocked out by the blinders). And that is why so many Southerners honor the Confederate battle flag — to acknowledge and honor the memory of Southern men who defended their homes, families and against the a brutal military invasion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  24. slimslowslider says:

    To LOL or not to LOL…

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  25. Connie Chastain says:

    Mr. Taylor,

    You don’t have to celebrate anything you don’t want to, just because there’s a holiday for it. I celebrate the honorees because they fought against an army and a country that had no moral authority for coming South and killing Southerners. People who think the righteous armies of the north came down here to free the black man from chains are duped, hideously duped. Lincoln’s order calling up volunteers? Nary a word about slavery, nary a syllable. Slavery got tacked onto the war well into the fighting, but even then it wasn’t because of some lofty altruistic motive of freeing slaves. It was war strategy. It was USING the slaves for the purposes of war.

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  26. mantis says:

    Some people are just so brainwashed by Confederate revisionist history that they are beyond reaching. Sadly, there are a lot of them.

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  27. al-Ameda says:

    @Connie Chastain:

    I celebrate the honorees because they fought against an army and a country that had no moral authority for coming South and killing Southerners.

    There was no provocation for war whatsoever – Southern States seceded from the Union; why would the federal government of the United States have a problem with that?

    That said, yes, Lincoln should have let the South leave the Union.

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  28. Connie Chastain says:

    Mantis, I think it’s far more likely that people are brainwashed by PC revisionism, because that, not Confederate revisionism, is what hold sway in this country’s educational establishment, in the media, from top to bottom, both information and entertainment, in business and industry, in the government at all levels and in every aspect of the popular culture.

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  29. Connie Chastain says:

    Well, al-Ameda, you have to consider what they were seceding from. Neither the federal government, nor the union of states owned the states, the way the crown had owned the colonies. The American Revolution was indeed rebellion, insurrection, illegal and treasonous.

    But the federal government was not the crown. In fact, it was created to be an agent of the states, not to imprison them.

    The powers prohibited to the states by the Constitution are identified in Article I, Section 10 of that document. Secession is not listed, thus it is not prohibited.

    The power to prohibit secession is not included among the powers delegated to the United States. Therefore it is a power reserved to the states and the people.

    http://youtu.be/7qfX0uXDktY

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  30. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Connie Chastain: I think this string of posts comes under the religious doctrine of “invincible ignorance.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  31. Pinky says:

    Connie, I can sympathize with the average Confederate soldier, and I can understand the states-rights angle. But you can’t write slavery out of the Civil War narrative.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  32. Connie Chastain says:

    Pinky, I’m not writing it out. I just think a lot of how it’s “written in” is ludicrous. For example, ptfe says to me, “…I also notice you aren’t shedding tears over the hundreds of slaves of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Stonewall Jackson, as well as the millions held by their fellow “planter class”

    Apparently HIS tears for the slaves only began when the Confederacy did. No tears for the slaves hauled across the Atlantic in yankee slave ships; no tears for the slaves the first 70+ years of this country’s existence. For critics like him (and that would be most critics of the Confederacy that I’ve encountered) slavery only becomes a cryin’ shame when it ceases to be American and becomes Confederate.

    Risible.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. al-Ameda says:

    @Connie Chastain:

    The powers prohibited to the states by the Constitution are identified in Article I, Section 10 of that document. Secession is not listed, thus it is not prohibited.

    The power to prohibit secession is not included among the powers delegated to the United States. Therefore it is a power reserved to the states and the people.

    Yes, America very likely would have been better off if Lincoln let the South go.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  34. Pinky says:

    @Connie Chastain: It’s not my place to guess how many tears ptfe is shedding for slaves of which era. As for writing slavery out of the Civil War, you commented:

    If the north had really wanted to end slavery, all they had to do was quit buying the cotton. But they didn’t, and that is why they did not have the moral authority to send a brutal army south to kill Southerners. They profited from slavery as surely as any plantation owner, but without the expense.

    At a minimum, that’s a dilution of the culpability of slave ownership. If your point was primarily that the North fought the war too aggressively, that’d be one thing. Or if you centered your argument on the issues of secession. But the way you hold Confederate ground on all issues including muddying the moral issue of slavery makes people legitimately think that you’re, well, muddying the moral issue of slavery.

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  35. Connie Chastain says:

    Pinky, what would you have me do? What is unmuddying, to you?

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  36. mantis says:

    @Connie Chastain:

    Mantis, I think it’s far more likely that people are brainwashed by PC revisionism, because that, not Confederate revisionism, is what hold sway in this country’s educational establishment, in the media, from top to bottom, both information and entertainment, in business and industry, in the government at all levels and in every aspect of the popular culture

    If pretty much everyone disagrees with you, its probably not a giant conspiracy. More likely you’re just wrong.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  37. @Rob in CT: You can say the same thing about most black people. They’re bull-headed when it comes to this issue. Or, at least, those indoctrinated by NAACP.

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  38. al-Ameda says:

    @Connie Chastain:

    Pinky, what would you have me do? What is unmuddying, to you?

    Oh I don’t know – how about acknowledging that the Confederate Flag is legitimately and logically considered by a majority of Americans to be symbolic of the legacy of slavery and of racism too. How about that?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  39. al-Ameda says:

    @Thomas Westbrook:

    @Rob in CT: You can say the same thing about most black people. They’re bull-headed when it comes to this issue. Or, at least, those indoctrinated by NAACP.

    “Indoctrinated”? LOL!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  40. Matt Bernius says:

    @Connie Chastain:

    Apparently HIS tears for the slaves only began when the Confederacy did. No tears for the slaves hauled across the Atlantic in yankee slave ships; no tears for the slaves the first 70+ years of this country’s existence. For critics like him (and that would be most critics of the Confederacy that I’ve encountered) slavery only becomes a cryin’ shame when it ceases to be American and becomes Confederate.

    Actually, I think you’ll find most of us modern folks shed tear for all the slaves. And we’re not suggesting that the North had a significantly higher ground. However we’re also pointing out a few facts that you continually run away from:

    1. The Southern States left the union SPECIALLY TO PRESERVE SLAVERY. This is provable via countless historical documents written by Southerners and leaders of the Confederacy. Further, Slavery was specifically written into the Articles of the Confederacy at the time of the break. It was IN NO WAY AN AFTER THOUGH.
    2. The Southern States chose to open fire on a Federal (US) Fort — note that Federal Property was separate from State property. It was the Confederacy that chose to annex Fort Sumpter.

    Yes, the entire nation is still coming to terms with the issue of slavery. But claiming that the Civil War wasn’t fought to preserve Slavery or pretending that when faced with the choice of preserving the Union or Preserving Slavery the leaders of the South chose the latter is a fundamentally cowardly move.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  41. So, Al_Ameda, what you’re saying is, from the time that the Confederate authorities decided that they need a new flag, clear until the design was decided upon, the number one concern was that the design be one that would strike fear and consternation into the hearts of black people? Black people were all that they were thinking about when they designed that flag? No military concerns at all? “Well, we really like that design you came up with, but that won’t upset the negroes at all!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  42. Matt Bernius says:

    @Thomas Westbrook:
    Ding ding ding. We have a winner for the most nonsensical post of the da.. wee… mont… umm year?

    Here’s your prize: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTFwAxfHgSA

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  43. Actually, this debate always reminds me of that advertisement for ancestry.com where the black man does the whole boo-hoo routine about, “being a black man in America I was afraid to look at my family history . . . ” etc. etc. And he goes on to say that when he got passed the handicap of being black and did investigate his family history, he discovered that his ancestor was born a slave but died a businessman. And I don’t want to suggest that he doesn’t have a reason to be proud, but my question to him would be, Do you think it just might be possible that he acquired his business skills AS A SLAVE? Of course, that WOULD spoil his fun if he found that to be true.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  44. @Matt Bernius: Oh, now, Matt, if black people hadn’t been brought over here as slaves, who would you have to fawn and molly-coddle over?

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  45. I would bring up the buffalo soldiers, and the fact that they too served in an “oppressor’s” army, but then I remember that the white liberals I’m dealing with here secretly believe that black people lack the mental sophistication to subject their sacred cows to any kind of scrutiny.

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  46. al-Ameda says:

    @Thomas Westbrook:

    So, Al_Ameda, what you’re saying is, from the time that the Confederate authorities decided that they need a new flag, clear until the design was decided upon, the number one concern was that the design be one that would strike fear and consternation into the hearts of black people? Black people were all that they were thinking about when they designed that flag? No military concerns at all? “Well, we really like that design you came up with, but that won’t upset the negroes at all!”

    How did you get to THAT, from THIS?

    YOU: Or, at least, those indoctrinated by NAACP.
    ME: “Indoctrinated”? LOL!

    LOL!

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  47. mantis says:

    @Thomas Westbrook:

    …the white liberals I’m dealing with here secretly believe that black people lack the mental sophistication…

    Says a guy who has insulted the intelligence of black people several times in this thread.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  48. al-Ameda says:

    @Thomas Westbrook:

    but then I remember that the white liberals I’m dealing with here secretly believe that black people lack the mental sophistication to subject their sacred cows to any kind of scrutiny.

    Did you utilize NSA telecommunications and email data to find out my secrets?

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  49. Again, Matt, I don’t believe in coddling them. You do. That’s the difference between us. Personally, I believe that black people would start to get insulted by THAT. And, actually, some do.

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  50. Oh, and have you ever read an editorial by Leonard Pitts?

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  51. @al-Ameda: You mean because I figured out that you’re white?

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  52. @al-Ameda: Well, isn’t that what we’re debating? That it’s a racist symbol? No holes barred? And if that’s the case, then wouldn’t we assume that the designers of the flag were wracking their brains trying to come up with something that would upset ALL black people, both slave AND free? I mean, YOU believe it’s a racist symbol, so you must believe that something along those lines occurred.

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  53. Oh, and as for the ancestry.com commercial, and my reference to “the handicap of being black”: it’s the man in the commercial who treats it as a handicap, so I was being facetious. Personally, if I discovered African ancestry in my background, I’d feel proud.

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  54. Grewgills says:

    @Connie Chastain:

    Apparently HIS tears for the slaves only began when the Confederacy did. No tears for the slaves hauled across the Atlantic in yankee slave ships; no tears for the slaves the first 70+ years of this country’s existence.

    No, you are missing the point. The issue under discussion is resurrection of a Confederate battle flag (in particular the 2nd navy jack). The Southern states seceded from the union over the right of states to continue chattel slavery. The battle flag returned to prominence as a statement of states rights to continue an apartheid system of segregation.
    You continue to minimize what the leaders of the Confederacy stated was their central reason for secession, while maximizing yankee culpability for the same and you entirely ignore why the particular flag in question returned to prominence as a symbol of the South.
    Why is that?

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  55. To Our NeoConfederate Friends:

    Instead of trying to re-litigate the North v. the South circa the 1860s, you really have to deal more with the behavior of many southerns in the 1950s and 1960s (like when “Cradle of the Confederacy” was put on the seal of the city of Montgomery, or when the battle flag was hoisted atop the SC cap bldg).

    Also: the notion that the north was bad too, or that bad things happened under the US flag (things I agree are true) does not make the things the CSA did good.

    This notion that fighting to preserve slavery (the 1860s) or to oppose equality (the 1950s and 1960s) can be ignored because other people did bad things to is a monumental non sequitur.

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  56. Grewgills says:

    @Thomas Westbrook:
    No, nor did Nazi’s chose the swastika because it would strike fear into the hearts or Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, or other groups they tortured and killed. It was the fact of the torturing and killing and genocide under that banner that made it anethema.
    In short, you have your causality reversed.
    If on the other hand you are talking about the resurgence of the flag, then yes, they looked back for a symbol that clearly signified to them and to the African Americans they wanted to continue to oppress something very specific. That something specific is you (blacks) are less than us (whites).

    Do you think it just might be possible that he acquired his business skills AS A SLAVE? Of course, that WOULD spoil his fun if he found that to be true.

    Are you saying that if someone were to enslave your family for several generations, but you were able to acquire some skills that you were able to parlay into a business after you were emancipated by an outside force, that you should thank your former master? That’s mighty big of you uncle.

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  57. @Steven L. Taylor: But lets at least be fair, Professor. Let’s investigate the conduct of the buffalo soldiers and other black icons, and when they fail to live up to our standards, let’s stop commemorating them (actually, that’s something that under normal circumstances I wouldn’t subscribe to, but then, I’m not the one who gets a hard-on over belittling other people’s histories). If black people can dish it out, surely they can take it! There’s nothing “neo-Confederate” about THAT notion.

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  58. @Grewgills: Good Lord! The black community is almost uniformly homophobic (one of many things they get a pass on), so don’t even bring that up.

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  59. @Grewgills: And let’s remember, black people owned black slaves as well, and were quite brutal if I understand correctly.

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  60. @Thomas Westbrook:

    , black people owned black slaves as well, and were quite brutal if I understand correctly.

    Again with the “if other people did bad things then the CSA isn’t so bad” line of reasoning.

    That there are examples of blacks owning black slaves does not make whites owning black slaves ok. It exonerates no one.

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  61. @Grewgills:

    No, you are missing the point

    Or, more likely, willfully ignoring it.

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  62. Grewgills says:

    @Thomas Westbrook:
    What does that argument have to do with anything we are talking about here?
    If African Americans or anyone else holds to anti homosexual symbols I will call them out on it and I call out anti homosexual bias wherever I see it regardless of the race or religion of the person holding that view.
    @Thomas Westbrook:
    Again, if anyone holds up a symbol or an argument that romanticizes slave holding by anyone I will oppose it, whether that symbol is from where I was born (the deep South) or elsewhere.
    Perhaps you can point me to symbols glorifying former slaveholding used currently by African Americans in the US. I will be happy to join you in condemning them.

    If you are really concerned about more recent slavery, you can join me in only purchasing synthetic diamonds and fair trade chocolate.

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  63. @Grewgills: I just don’t believe that the flag was designed to “Romanticize slave holding,” anymore than I believe that a monument commemorating the Buffalo Soldiers romanticizes killing Native Americans. Like I was trying to say earlier, I seriously doubt that the people who designed that flag were chanting “Keep those negroes down,” “Long Live Slavery,” or any such mantra. And actually, considering that the Democratic party was THE party of segregation AND slavery, I find it a little bit amazing that the same black people who go into melt-down over ANY appearance of the Confederate flag almost unanimously vote Democratic. Oh, and let me also state, that Bill Clinton, “Our First Black President,” his mentor was non other than Orville Faubis, a STAUNCH segregationist, who opposed Civil Rights at every turn. And here’s an interesting thing: the Georgia state flag was changed because they just HAD to get that nasty Confederate flag out of the design, and what did they settle for? A flag modeled on the Stars and Bars, or the first Confederate National. So go figure.

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  64. @Steven L. Taylor: @Steven L. Taylor: Again, with the “If other people (well, black people) did something bad, we’ll overlook it, but if the CSA did it, we’ll condemn them to hell 100 times over” reasoning.

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  65. @Thomas Westbrook:

    “If other people (well, black people) did something bad, we’ll overlook it, but if the CSA did it, we’ll condemn them to hell 100 times over” reasoning.

    It might help your case, if someone was making that argument.

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  66. @Steven L. Taylor:Who would you suggest?

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  67. @Thomas Westbrook: If he wanted to celebrate his heritage by using a slaver’s symbol, yes, I would find that problematic.

    No one is saying that southerners cannot or should not celebrate their heritage.

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  68. @Steven L. Taylor: Well, we’re obviously not going to agree on this. You believe that the flag was designed ONLY for slavery (actually, a strong case could be made that slavery is one of only many negative things that the American flag connotes), I believe that it was designed as a military expedient. You believe that everybody who served in the Confederate army did so because of an obsessive hatred for black people, I believe that there were a variety of reasons that people served (i.e., they wanted to be able to face their loved ones again) some of which had absolutely nothing to do with black people. And the bad thing is, it won’t just stop with the flags. When the NAACP decides that anything on a Confederate veteran’s tombstone that commemorates his service needs to be removed, people like yourself will be nodding your head in agreement, and we’ll be having this same argument. And when they decide that the Confederate veteran should be disinterred and removed to another location because they find his presence in the cemetery offensive, you’ll agree with that too. And we’ll still be having this argument. And you’ll say that because he was a “slaver” he deserves to be removed. And on it goes.

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  69. @Thomas Westbrook: It is difficult to agree, or even have a real discussion, if you refuse to be intellectually honest about what I have written.

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  70. Grewgills says:

    @Thomas Westbrook:

    I seriously doubt that the people who designed that flag were chanting “Keep those negroes down,” “Long Live Slavery,” or any such mantra.

    Well, judging by the words of the leaders of the CSA “long live slavery” and “keep those n****ers down” was their intent with secession, even if it was not part of the calculation in flag design.
    What you keep missing is that it is not the intent on creation that matters. The Nazis didn’t design the swastika or their flag to impart maximum intimidation to Jewish people and others they terrorized and attempted to exterminate, rather their use of that symbol is why it is NOW a symbol of hatred and intimidation. Just so with the confederate navy jack, it is the use of this flag by a nation founded on the principle that slavery was the natural state of people of African descent that caused it to be chosen by people that were intent on holding to an apartheid system and why it has been used to intimidate African Americans since.
    Symbols cannot reasonably be divorced from their history.

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  71. Grewgills says:

    @Thomas Westbrook:

    And actually, considering that the Democratic party was THE party of segregation AND slavery, I find it a little bit amazing that the same black people who go into melt-down over ANY appearance of the Confederate flag almost unanimously vote Democratic.

    It is easy to see how that would be confusing to anyone who has not paid attention to politics since the 1960s.

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  72. mantis says:

    @Grewgills:

    It is easy to see how that would be confusing to anyone who has not paid attention to politics since the 1960s.

    Maybe he’s a time traveler from the past! Thomas, are you a time traveler from the past? Does it annoy you that men don’t all wear hats anymore?

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  73. Grewgills says:

    @mantis:

    Does it annoy you that men don’t all wear hats anymore?

    WIN!

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  74. Grewgills says:

    @Thomas Westbrook:

    If black people can dish it out, surely they can take it! There’s nothing “neo-Confederate” about THAT notion.

    In addition to your comment stinking a bit of racism, you seem to have once again missed something glaringly obvious. Dr Taylor is not black and I will let you in on a little secret, neither am I, so it is not black people ‘dishing it out’.
    I don’t have to be the same race as the people enslaved or treated as second class citizens to recognize it is wrong. All it takes is sentience, a little empathy, and a defensible ethical framework.

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  75. dazedandconfused says:

    @Thomas Westbrook:

    Here’s the Vice President of the Confederacy’s “Cornerstone Speech”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornerstone_Speech

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  76. Connie Chastain says:

    @mantis: @mantis:

    It’s not a conspiracy, Mantis. It’s just a hive mentality that has resulted from leftist thought permeating culture for the last half of the 20th century, actually longer. But that was by no means a conspiracy, which implies secrecy, something done clandestinely or surreptitiously. The left’s insidious “march through the institutions,” to use Gramsci’s term,was not, is not, secret at all.

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  77. Grewgills says:

    @Connie Chastain:
    Yes, the ‘leftist’ dominated 40s and 50s. Does it make you feel better to pretend that you are one of the few who know how it really is, you few who escaped the leftist indoctrination? Do you pine for the glory days of the 1850s, before the leftists dismantled all the institutions you so love to defend?

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  78. @Grewgills: Well, by “dishing it out” what I am saying is that black people should be able to subject their historical icons (for example, the buffalo soldiers) to the same rigorous scrutiny that they expect white people to subject THEIRS to, and when those icons come up short they should dispense with them. But people like Professor Taylor (and yes, I can see by his picture that he is a fat, pasty-faced, guilt-ridden white man) never ask them to do that. And personally, I believe it’s because privately, people like him don’t believe that black people have the capacity to do that.

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  79. @dazedandconfused: Have you ever read what Lincoln has to say about black equality in the Lincoln/Douglas debates?

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  80. @Steven L. Taylor: Back atcha Doc.

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  81. Connie Chastain says:

    al-Ameda says:
    Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 17:34

    Oh I don’t know – how about acknowledging that the Confederate Flag is legitimately and logically considered by a majority of Americans to be symbolic of the legacy of slavery and of racism too. How about that?

    Well, provide me with some independent, third-party verifiable documentation, data, or other reliable evidence that a majority of Americans consider it thus. (Make sure that the “legitimately” and “logically” are verified, too). Meanwhile, what I’m happy to acknowledge is that this is your opinion, and that mine is different.

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  82. Connie Chastain says:

    Grewgills says:

    Yes, the ‘leftist’ dominated 40s and 50s. Does it make you feel better to pretend that you are one of the few who know how it really is, you few who escaped the leftist indoctrination? Do you pine for the glory days of the 1850s, before the leftists dismantled all the institutions you so love to defend?

    Actually, I was thinking of the 1960s and afterward. What institutions do you imagine that I love to defend?

    I was just a little kid in the 1950s and didn’t pay a lot of attention to social issues or history. But today, anybody can look at the utter wreckage of the counter culture, the Great Society, the War on Poverty, etc. The most damaging thing leftists did was to dismantle poor families by removing husband and fathers. Some of the worst social pathologies that plague our society are the result of fatherlessness.

    Many of these fatherless un-families are black and I find it very ironic that people who rail against slavery breaking up families generations, even centuries, in the past don’t open their mouths about the leftist, government-funded destruction of the poor black family that we can see before our very eyes. (Of course, it has destroyed poor white families, too; but critics of the Confederacy apparently don’t see current family destruction as all that bad.)

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  83. Grewgills says:

    @Thomas Westbrook:
    It is entirely irrelevant to this discussion how much scrutiny any other group subjects ”their” historical icons to. My family on both sides has roots in north and central Alabama predating the civil war. I am talking about my people, people who by the way did not have the means to own other people (though some of them likely would have if they did have the means). Members of my family fought bravely for the Confederacy. My great grandmother (the only one that lived long enough for me to know) came up in the immediate aftermath of the civil war and was never able to let go of the bitterness she felt because of it. I had Sunday dinner at her home on a small farm until she was near 100 years old. She was loving to us and hard working, but hated blacks and yankees until the day she died. None of that prevents me from recognizing the sins of my family that came before me or from loving them despite those sins. A real honest and decent man can recognize his own flaws and the flaws of his kith and kin without making that contingent on anyone else making some sort of parallel admission.

    It is a fundamentally dishonest exercise to make any admission of wrongdoing contingent on someone else’s actions. It is time for you to man up and admit that despite the fact that not every soldier of the Confederacy did so to protect their personal right to own slaves, that the war was fought over the economic system of chattel slavery as it existed then. The leaders of the Confederacy expressly stated that was the case* and it was written to the confederate constitution. To deny those facts is to be deliberately and willfully ignorant or shamefully dishonest. To further deny that the resurgence of the Confederate navy jack as a symbol of the South was in response to states rights, this time the right of states to continue policies of segregation requires the same or greater levels of either willful ignorance or shameful dishonesty.

    *multiple source documents show this

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  84. Grewgills says:

    @Connie Chastain:

    Actually, I was thinking of the 1960s and afterward.

    earlier you stated

    It’s not a conspiracy, Mantis. It’s just a hive mentality that has resulted from leftist thought permeating culture for the last half of the 20th century, actually longer.

    That logically places the leftists permeating the culture from the 1940s forward, as the last half of the 20th century began in 1950.

    I see you defending the institutions of the CSF, so no imagination is required.

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  85. Tyrell says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Jackson was one of the greatest battlefield commanders in military history. Military students (including General Patton some say) still study his tactics. Jeb Stuart was good too, but got lost at Gettysburg, otherwise that battle might have turned out different.
    Around here I sometimes see the Confederate flag and American flag displayed together.
    “this flag ain’t no rag…..and these colors don’t run” (Daniels)

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  86. Connie Chastain says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    Not long before Stephens made that speech — maybe a year or so — abolitionist Julia Ward Howe wrote A Trip to Cuba, Which was published 1859-60 by Ticknor and Fields, Boston

    On Page 11 of the chapter “Nassau” you find:

    The earliest feature discernible was a group of tall cocoa-nut trees, with which
    the island is bounteously feathered; — the second was a group of negroes in a
    small boat, steering toward us with open-mouthed and white-toothed wonder.
    Nothing makes its simple impression upon the mind sophisticated by education.
    The negroes, as they came nearer, suggested only Christy’s Minstrals, of whom
    they were a tolerably faithful immitation… There were many negroes, together
    with whites of every grade; and some of our number, leaning over the side, saw
    for the first time the raw material out of which Northern Humanitarians have
    spun so fine a skein of compassion and sympathy.

    Now we who write, and they for whom we write, are all orthodox upon this mighty
    question. We have all made our confession of faith in private and public; we
    all, on suitable occasions, walk up and apply the match to the keg of gunpowder
    which is to blow up the Union, but which, somehow, at the critical moment, fails
    to ignite. But you must allow us one heretical whisper, — very small and low.
    The negro of the North is the ideal negro; it is the negro refined by white
    culture, elevated by white blood, instructed even by white iniquity; — the
    negro among negroes is a coarse, grinning, flat-footed, thick-skulled creature,
    ugly as Caliban, lazy as the laziest of brutes, chiefly ambitious to be of no
    use to any in the world. View him as you will, his stock in trade is small; —
    he has but the tangible of instincts of all creatures, — love of life, of ease
    and of offspring. For all else, he must go to school to the white race, and his
    discipline must be long and laborious. Nassau, and all that we saw of it,
    suggested to us the unwelcome question whether compulsory labor be not better
    than none….

    ========

    A rather cowardly way of saying that for the “negro among negroes” long, laborious slavery is better than nothing…, and the “ideal negro” isn’t a true negro anymore, but has been “elevated by white blood”. Taken to it logical conclusion, wouldn’t Howe’s view result in amalgamating the negro out of existence? And she seemed to be saying that these ideas she penned were commonly held by abolitionists.

    Back then, for whites in both north and South, blacks posed a dilemma. Lincoln agreed with those who wanted to get rid of them by colonization. Howe and the abolitionists wanted to “whiten” them out of existence; and in the South, the solution was slavery.

    To enlightened eyes, no whites back then come across looking good, but only Confederates are portrayed as evil.

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  87. @Connie Chastain: None of which has anything to do with the significance of the Stephen’s speech to the institutional foundations of the confederacy.

    I agree: lots of whites at the time, including many abolitionists, were racists. That has nothing to do with the conversation at hand.

    The battle at the time was often between racists who supported emancipation and racists who supported chattel slavery. Given that choice, mere racists morally trump slavers.

    This really isn’t that difficult.

    And this ongoing attempt to play the “other people did bad things, too” card has no validity in the argument. It is like when one of my children gets in trouble and thinks calling out one of his brothers will exonerate them from what they did. It doesn’t work that way.

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  88. @Tyrell:

    ackson was one of the greatest battlefield commanders in military history. Military students (including General Patton some say) still study his tactics.

    No one is saying you can’t study his military tactics.

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  89. Connie Chastain says:

    Grewgills says,

    You continue to minimize what the leaders of the Confederacy stated was their central reason for secession, while maximizing yankee culpability for the same and you entirely ignore why the particular flag in question returned to prominence as a symbol of the South.
    Why is that?

    First, because what the leaders of the Confederacy stated is harped on and carped on and peated and repeated over and over, and repeated again over and over, ad nauseum in this in our culture. and yankee culpability is glossed over, perfumed, ignored and otherwise minimized in academia, the media, the popular culture, etc., etc., etc., and so on and so forth. How many people do you suppose are out there who haven’t heard of Confederate culpability in classrooms, on movie screens, on television, in books and magazines? However many there are, you can bet there are multitudes more who have no idea, no idea, of northern complicity.

    BTW, there were other things listed besides slavery in the declaration of causes, and not all states issued them. The states of the upper South did not secede in the first wave, but did when D.C. tried to make the send troop to invade the seceded states.

    Also, while some displays of the flag in the mid-20th century had to do with federal government forcing integration in the South, many, many times it was displayed simply as a symbol of regional pride, in a region that was considered unique and distinct from the rest of the country. People put “Dixie” in the business names and worked Confederate flag motives into their logos. Many, sports teams were the Rebels and flew the flag the way any insignia representing a team is flown. But none of these other reasons are useful in demonizing Southern white people, so they are minimized, or completely ignored.

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  90. @Thomas Westbrook:

    (and yes, I can see by his picture that he is a fat, pasty-faced, guilt-ridden white man)

    You do spin quite the impressive intellectual argument, I must say.

    Your argument about the Buffalo Soldiers is nonsensical because you keep acting like a unit in the US military is equivalent to the whole of the CSA and that large numbers of African-Americans cling to the Buffalo Soldiers as a symbol of unity and pride in a manner similar to the way large numbers of white Americans cling to the symbols of the south.

    You have a rather significant scale problem in your comparison, as well as one of kind.

    Further, the morality of X is not contingent upon the morality of Y when X and Y have no causal connection. The morality of the acts of the CSA and their romanticizers have to be judged separately from what mass level Buffalo Soldier worship that you imagine exists. The two are not connected in terms of moral content.

    I would concur that, as a country, we have not adequately addresses the way the US government treated the native population, but that goes well beyond anything the Buffalo Soldiers did. However, I am not so sure that that is really your concern.

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  91. Connie Chastain says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Certainly it is significant. Apparently I didn’t make myself clear. Howe and Stephens had the same problem with blacks — they considered them inferior to whites. His solution was slavery, hers was “elevating” them out of existence with “white blood” — rather like the way conquered people in ancient times were absorbed by the conquerers, so that they no longer existed as a separate and distinct people.

    And yes, other people’s culpability is very germaine — just because it has been ignored and glossed over for generations doesn’t mean it isn’t valid. If one of your children is in trouble, and the other one played a significant role in causing/helping with whatever the first one did wrong, they both need to be called out.

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  92. @Connie Chastain:

    useful in demonizing Southern white people

    Speaking as a southern white person, born of southern white people, with southern white sons, the issue is not “demonizing Southern white people”. The goal is to move beyond an association of pride between symbols that continue to foment racial disharmony.

    I agree that we need to understand the full history of the past. I agree that it should be understood that the north was not populated by Angels of Equality and Abolition and the south not solely peopled by Demons of Racism and Slavery. Yes, it was a complex world then, as it is now.

    Still, the notion that somehow because their were northerns who wanted abolition, but thought blacks to be inferior balances the scales of morality and justice when compared to those who supported slavery is remarkable, to put it mildly.

    However, the ongoing mythology that there was a glorious cause being fought over by the CSA is just that: a myth. That the victory of the CSA would have been a victory for the ongoing institution of chattel slavery is a bald fact. As such the cavalier display of confederate symbols and telling southerns that they should be proud of them is problematic for a) what those symbols did represent, and b) the message they send to African-Americans,

    Worse, and I have not seen you even attempt to deal with this: those symbols were rather clearly promoted in the 1950s and 1960s not as symbols of pride of the south, but as symbols of opposition to the notion that all America are, in fact, created equal. They were used definitively as symbols of racial inequality and of segregation in that era you claimed in another post to pine for.

    No argument about these symbols can be settled without the more proximate deployment of those symbols in the 20th century onward being dealt with (and you are utterly ignoring that element).

    Indeed, to me, that is the more important aspect of this conversation because it bears directly on contemporary politics.

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  93. @Connie Chastain:

    Apparently I didn’t make myself clear. Howe and Stephens had the same problem with blacks — they considered them inferior to whites. His solution was slavery, hers was “elevating” them out of existence with “white blood” — rather like the way conquered people in ancient times were absorbed by the conquerers, so that they no longer existed as a separate and distinct people.

    There is a rather stark and significant difference between Stephens and Howe: Stephens became Vice President and Founding Father of a country dedicated to the continuation of slavery. Howe wrote an essay and a song and was an activist for abolition. And again, racist for abolition trumps racist for slavery, with extra points for helping found a government towards that end,

    Really, if you can’t see the difference, discussion is pointless.

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  94. Connie Chastain says:

    @Grewgills:

    That logically places the leftists permeating the culture from the 1940s forward, as the last half of the 20th century began in 1950.

    I believe I explained I was too young to pay attention in the 50s, and I wasn’t born until 1949, so I couldn’t pay attention to the 40s. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t happening then; I was simply referring to the time period I know about from personal observation.

    I see you defending the institutions of the CSF, so no imagination is required.

    I scrolled back through looking for CSF, trying to determine what it is, and where I defended it. I searched CSF with the brower’s “find” function but it only shows up once, in your comment. I even Googled it to see what you’re talking about — and found, among many other listings, California Scholarship Federation, Christian Student Fellowship, Conference of Southwest Foundations, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Commercial Spaceflight Federation, Christian Schools of Florida — but I don’t think you meant any of these. I have no idea, however, what you do mean by CSF, or where I defended it, whatever it is.

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  95. @Connie Chastain: One suspects, based on context, that “CSF” is a typo and he meant to type “CSA”

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  96. Connie Chastain says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    She suggested that she, and her fellow abolitionists (she said “we all”), considered compulsory labor for the “negro among negroes” better than none. Compulsory labor is slavery. How much plainer do you need it? The difference between her and Stephens was that he was honest about what he believed. She hid hers behind phony abolitionism, so she added hypocrisy to her fake moral superiority.

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  97. dazedandconfused says:

    @Thomas Westbrook:

    Have you ever read what Lincoln has to say about black equality in the Lincoln/Douglas debates?

    Yes. I have no illusions about the prevailing attitude among white northerners about blacks.

    I suspect the South lost their chance in 1850. It might have succeeded then. It wasn’t so much that Millard Fillmore was no Abe Lincoln, so much as the net effect of the Fugitive Slave Act. 10 years of bounty hunters running around the free states grabbing people, and with impunity from local LE and courts, is a “police state”. More like thug-ocracy, really. Could call it a “War of Southern Occupation of the North”, I guess… those bounty hunters were a power unto themselves and they knew it.

    Stirred a lot of people up. John Brown, Harriet Beecher Stowe…and they weren’t the half of it. That was before modern fertilizers and they needed to keep moving the cotton industry west. Bumped up against the “Free Soilers” who know small family farms could not compete for land with industrial slave-driving factory farms and win. Note where John Brown set up shop…in Kansas. That will to fight was key to Lincoln’s ability to mobilize the northern states, and it was still a mighty close thing.

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  98. Connie Chastain says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    @Connie Chastain: One suspects, based on context, that “CSF” is a typo and he meant to type “CSA”

    In that case, I’d love to know what institutions he’s talking about. If he thinks I’ve defended slavery somewhere in this thread — if anybody does — I’d love to see a copy-paste, just to see how you all conceptualize “defend.” If he thinks I’ve defended the men who fought the invaders, right on. Indeed I do.

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  99. @Connie Chastain: That you cannot concede that there is a difference between founding a government as Stephens was doing and Howe, regardless of any other factors, lays waste to your entire position. You are not comparing two comparable things.

    This isn’t even apples and oranges.

    Further, what Howe wrote, said, thought, or desired has nothing to do with the confederate battle flag and its usage in the 1860s and the 1950. What Stephens said very much does.

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  100. Connie Chastain says:

    That it lays waste to my entire position is your opinion. I don’t agree. You don’t even know what my entire position is. I’ve barely touched on it here.

    You all think slavery is the only pertinent factor, so it’s the only thing you will consider; it’s all you want to consider. I see a bigger picture and take into consideration things you won’t consider.

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  101. @Connie Chastain: No, you are downplaying the significance of slavery and attempting to pretend like it has not central bearing on the conversation or to an understanding of certain symbols, especially in the face of the anti-integration deployment.

    You are not directly defending slavery, but you are very much trying to pretend it doesn’t really matter in this conservation. That may not be defending the evil, but it is certainly excusing it and failing to accept the long-term ramifications of the institution, especially as it pertains to contemporary understandings of confederate symbols (which is the actual topic of the original post).

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  102. @Connie Chastain: You refuse to confront some pretty basic issues, making me not especially concerned as to the content of your entire position.

    Slavery is not the only pertinent factor in understanding the Civil War or the politics of the 1860s (although it was was rather central).

    However, slavery is extremely pertinent to understanding what the symbols of the confederacy mean in the contemporary mind. And again, as noted above, that is the central point of the post. Further, slavery, and the racial superiority inherent to the CSA’s founding is the central pertinent factors in the deployment of confederate symbols in opposition to integration.

    None of the above goes away because there were racists among abolitionists in the 1860s,

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  103. @Connie Chastain: It is fundamental tenet of good comparative analysis to determine exactly how comparable the subjects of your comparison are. Howe’s words and Stephen’s words are not as directly comparable in this context as you are making then out to be. This is a fundamental flaw in your analysis.

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  104. Matt Bernius says:

    @Connie Chastain:

    If he thinks I’ve defended slavery somewhere in this thread

    While you have not defended slavery persea, you have continually suggested that the South wasn’t responsible for the practice of Slavery. Perhaps the most incredible version of the comment can be found here:

    The slave-labored plantation South was a creation of the industrial north, to output raw materials for the north’s factories and ships’ cargo holds.
    [Source]

    This is an example a pattern seen across your posts. You continually excusing the behavior of the South, push “moral culpability” onto other parties, and do everything within your power to intellectually ignore all the evidence that suggests the act of Secession was a self consciously intentional reaffirmation of the institution of Slavery on the part of the leaders of the CSA.

    Again, given the option of preserving the Union or preserving Slavery (and in fact it’s expansion), the fathers of the Confederacy chose the later. Simply put, they doubled down on the concept.

    Say what you want about racist abolitionists or whom ever, but the people you continue to defend were the one who decided to form a new nation and enshrine within it’s articles, the very institution that you claim “not to be defending.” They were not simply defending their land. They were defending a national economic system based on slave labor (again, if you remotely believe in the concept of Trickle Down Economics, then the entire economy and everyone in it was suspended in a web of economics).

    At some point, defending the CSA — even defending the actions of its foot soldiers — HAS to become defending Slavery (because that’s what they were ultimately fighting for). In the same way that defending WW2 Germany — even defending the actions of its foot soldiers — HAS to become a defense of Nazism and eugenics through Death Camps (because that’s what they were ultimately fighting for).

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  105. ptfe says:

    @Rob in CT: I don’t think your comment went quite far enough. At this point I suspect most of us would prefer a brick wall to argue with.

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  106. Connie Chastain says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: @Steven L. Taylor:

    I believe I’ve said the reason I’m not addressing slavery is because it has been more than sufficiently addressed in our culture.

    What I’m doing is focusing on things that get ignored in the ongoing debate about the the war, the flag, etc. Bringing in other factors isn’t saying slavery doesn’t matter. It’s just that people don’t like having other things brought in. They want to keep slavery, and slavery alone, in the spotlight. They have a deep aversion to admitting there were other factors at all…

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  107. Matt Bernius says:

    @Connie Chastain:

    I believe I’ve said the reason I’m not addressing slavery is because it has been more than sufficiently addressed in our culture.

    What I’m doing is focusing on things that get ignored in the ongoing debate about the the war, the flag, etc.

    But everything you are suggesting is brought up in service of proving that “the slavery thing is overblown.” It also is an attempt to distance the flag and other CSA symbols from the institution of Slavery and later Segregation/Jim Crow.

    The fact that you are fighting so hard to make that separation is further proof of how strong the symbolic connection is (even, apparently even for you). Quoting from Hamlet “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

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  108. Connie Chastain says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    Again, given the option of preserving the Union or preserving Slavery (and in fact it’s expansion), the fathers of the Confederacy chose the later. Simply put, they doubled down on the concept.

    Yes, preserving the union wasn’t high on their list of priorities, sure enough. But there came a time, late in the war, when they had to choose between (a) independence from the USA and (b) keeping slavery. They chose independence. Too late, alas, they should have done it earlier. Be that as it may, it’s another thing that gets ignored because it weakens the case for demonizing Confederates and white Southerners in general, past and present.

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  109. Connie Chastain says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    In the period of its existence, the flag has acquired numerous symbolic connections. The only ones critics want to look at are slavery and segregation. They not only refuse to see other significant symbolic connections, they don’t want anyone else recognizing them, either. They want to force everyone to wear blinders that see only slavery and segregation. Rather like folks in this thread are doing to me.

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  110. Connie Chastain says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    But everything you are suggesting is brought up in service of proving that “the slavery thing is overblown.”

    I have stated that slavery has been more than sufficiently covered in our culture. I don’t think that needs proving. It ought to be discernible to anybody.

    It also is an attempt to distance the flag and other CSA symbols from the institution of Slavery and later Segregation/Jim Crow.

    Not distance. Only recognition that those aren’t the only factors that give meaning to the symbols.

    The fact that you are fighting so hard to make that separation is further proof of how strong the symbolic connection is (even, apparently even for you). Quoting from Hamlet “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

    Saying “It means this, too” is not the same thing as saying, “It doesn’t mean that.”

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  111. Connie Chastain says:

    @ptfe:

    ptfe says:

    @Rob in CT: I don’t think your comment went quite far enough. At this point I suspect most of us would prefer a brick wall to argue with.

    Very well.

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  112. @Connie Chastain:

    Bringing in other factors isn’t saying slavery doesn’t matter. It’s just that people don’t like having other things brought in. They want to keep slavery, and slavery alone, in the spotlight. They have a deep aversion to admitting there were other factors at all…

    Except that I have stipulated northern racsim. You are not fighting the battle you think you are fighting. I have never made this about the glorious north v. the evil south.

    You, however, have never even touched on the segregationist affiliation of these symbols.

    As Matt Bernius notes:

    everything you are suggesting is brought up in service of proving that “the slavery thing is overblown.” It also is an attempt to distance the flag and other CSA symbols from the institution of Slavery and later Segregation/Jim Crow.

    The fact that you are fighting so hard to make that separation is further proof of how strong the symbolic connection is (even, apparently even for you). Quoting from Hamlet “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

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  113. @Connie Chastain: Let me try it this way: your entire argument downplays the importance of this history, from slavery, to the civil war, to Jim Crow, and segregation to the individuals who suffered under it. You refuse to acknowledge the strong ties between those events and the symbols under discussion. The symbols under discussion were deployed in the south by politicians who wanted to keep black children in schools separate from white children. They wanted the blacks at the back of the bus and drinking from separate water fountains. They didn’t want them to vote. That’s what these symbols represent and this is why they should not be proudly displayed.

    Until you can deal with those facts, your position is hollow at best.

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  114. Barry says:

    @Grewgills: “Coupling the RE Lee B’day with MLK day is all about poking a stick in the eye of the people that ‘forced’ the MLK holiday on the state. ”

    Seconded.

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  115. Barry says:

    @Connie Chastain: Connie, aside from the fact that this list isn’t long enough, do you have an actual point to make?

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  116. Rob in CT says:

    I warned you.

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  117. @Rob in CT: Indeed you did.

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  118. Grewgills says:

    @Connie Chastain:

    How many people do you suppose are out there who haven’t heard of Confederate culpability in classrooms, on movie screens, on television, in books and magazines?

    Well I for one did not hear that in my classroom, but that was Alabama in the 70s and 80s.

    However many there are, you can bet there are multitudes more who have no idea, no idea, of northern complicity.

    Does the complicity of some Northern bankers and businessmen excuse slavery in the Southern states and their attempts to expand it?

    BTW, there were other things listed besides slavery in the declaration of causes, and not all states issued them.

    Slavery was the central issue and most of the other issues pointed back to it.

    Also, while some displays of the flag in the mid-20th century had to do with federal government forcing integration in the South, many, many times it was displayed simply as a symbol of regional pride, in a region that was considered unique and distinct from the rest of the country.

    Perhaps, but the people that brought back that particular flag in the 50s did so in opposition to desegregation, that others might have glommed on for other reasons, doesn’t remove that taint.

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  119. Grewgills says:

    @Connie Chastain:

    Howe and Stephens had the same problem with blacks — they considered them inferior to whites. His solution was slavery, hers was “elevating” them out of existence with “white blood” — rather like the way conquered people in ancient times were absorbed by the conquerers, so that they no longer existed as a separate and distinct people.

    So miscegenation = slavery?

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  120. Grewgills says:

    @Connie Chastain:

    You all think slavery is the only pertinent factor, so it’s the only thing you will consider; it’s all you want to consider. I see a bigger picture and take into consideration things you won’t consider.

    No, we recognize that first slavery and then opposition to desegregation were the primary factors and that while there may be other factors those are overshadowed by that primary message.
    Northern complicity is overshadowed by their fighting in opposition to that message, even if many or even most of them didn’t do it because of a pure spirit.

    Not every German that fought for the axis in WWII did so consciously in support of genocide. However, if a German embraces the Nazi flag today as a symbol of German pride he doesn’t get a pass on that history, regardless of his other motivations. If he is confronted with that history and refuses to acknowledge it and continues to hoist it high in honor of his German heritage, how would you judge him?

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  121. al-Ameda says:

    @Thomas Westbrook:

    … wouldn’t we assume that the designers of the flag …

    No, we wouldn’t, we’d look at the actual record, and see that the flag has come to represent and predominantly symbolize – for most sentient Americans – the preservation of Slavery, and since the Civil War, racism and race resentment.

    I’ll leave you to ruminate on the design and fashion aspects of the Confederate flag..

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  122. al-Ameda says:

    @Thomas Westbrook:

    Well, isn’t that what we’re debating? That it’s a racist symbol? No holes barred? And if that’s the case, then wouldn’t we assume that the designers of the flag were wracking their brains trying to come up with something that would upset ALL black people, both slave AND free? I mean, YOU believe it’s a racist symbol, so you must believe that something along those lines occurred.

    Based on your, perhaps I can infer that the Confederate Flag is also a symbol of twisted logic.

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  123. @Thomas Westbrook:

    That it’s a racist symbol? No holes barred? And if that’s the case, then wouldn’t we assume that the designers of the flag were wracking their brains trying to come up with something that would upset ALL black people, both slave AND free?

    That’s not how symbols work. The meaning is imbued based on their linkage to ideas and actions. You can’t just create a symbol and tell people what it means. Do you think that the Romans designed crucifixion as a Christian symbol? Or, might it be that a certain set of actions led to the symbol accumulating the meaning that is now has? Show a guy crucifix in 100 BC, it doesn’t have the same meaning as it does today, yes? How did that meaning accrue to the symbol? Did New York Yankee pinstripes evoke championships when they were first donned?

    Even if one sat down to purposefully create an offensive (or patriotic or whatever) symbol, the only way to communicate your meaning would be to use symbols that already had established meanings. Symbols are language, after a fashion.

    You keep trying to present yourself as a deep thinker, and questioning everyone’s capacities, but you are whiffing on a pretty straightforward, albeit somewhat abstract, concept here.

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  124. Bill Rebel says:

    @Moosebreath:The Confederate Battle Flag or Naval Ensign never flew over a single slave ship. That would have been the “Stars and Stripes”. Slavery was a reason for secession, but not every slave state seceded. In fact, if the Confederacy had been out only to protect the institution of slavery, they could have taken the offer Lincoln extended to enshrine owning slaves as a Constitutional right if they would return to the Union. No, we really wanted our independence and to not be tied to those alien to us in a national covenant.

    Under that flag served a very diverse group of men. At least 30,000 Blacks served the Confederacy. Many Native American nations threw their lot in with the Confederacy. The only Jewish military cemetary outside of Israel is in Richmond VA, in memory of Jewish Confederate dead. Many Hispanics served under the Southern Cross. One of them, Colonel Santos Benevides, would be the highest ranking Hispanic officer in an American uniform until 1976.

    You cannot ban the symbols of our history and heritage because you don’t like them. The Confederate flag has been waved as a symbol of freedom and rebellion against tyranny on every continent (yes, including Africa). It doesn’t become a racist flag because racists have used it anymore than the US flag has become a racist flag through use by racists. The Confederate Battle Flag, Naval Ensign, Beauregard Flag, or the Southern Cross, whatever you call it, is a living symbol of Southern heritage and ethnicity. You cannot define it as anything else.

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  125. Bill Rebel says:

    @Grewgills: The Robert E. Lee Day and Confederate Memorial Day holidays were enacted before Dr. King was a twinkle in his mother’s eye. Also there is no consensus between the various Southern states on what day Confederate Memorial Day should be. In NC and SC, it is the day Stonewall Jackson died (May 10th for all you yankees).

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  126. Grewgills says:

    @Bill Rebel:
    Why do you think they chose to have the same holiday celebrate RE Lee and MLK?
    This may help your answer: RE Lee day was not a floating holiday in Alabama prior to it being combined with MLK day. Previous to that it was on his actual birthday.

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  127. Grewgills says:

    @Bill Rebel:

    The Confederate Battle Flag or Naval Ensign never flew over a single slave ship. That would have been the “Stars and Stripes”.

    More often is was a Dutch ship making the rounds of the golden triangle.

    Slavery was a reason for secession, but not every slave state seceded.

    True but irrelevant.

    No, we really wanted our independence and to not be tied to those alien to us in a national covenant.

    What was it exactly that made them alien?

    You cannot ban the symbols of our history and heritage because you don’t like them.

    Who here has suggested that the battle flag be banned?

    The Confederate flag has been waved as a symbol of freedom and rebellion against tyranny on every continent

    What exactly was the tyranny that it was flown against in America in the 1860s and again starting in the 1950s?

    The Confederate Battle Flag, Naval Ensign, Beauregard Flag, or the Southern Cross, whatever you call it, is a living symbol of Southern heritage and ethnicity.

    What is the ethnicity of the South?

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