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 Should the South be ashamed of its Confederate history?

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LC
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PostSubject: Should the South be ashamed of its Confederate history?   Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:29 pm

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100411/ap_on_re_us/us_confederate_history_flap

Seems like any time a Southern state tries to commemorate its Confederate history, it's shouted down as racist. Was slavery all the Confederacy was about? Are the people who shout pre-Civil war Southern history down (the history doesn't deal exclusively with slavery) right- that no mention or celebration should be made of it at all?

I have no dog in this fight, just wondering.
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Should the South be ashamed of its Confederate history?   Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:45 pm

I don't get it, either. What are they supposed to do, erase their history? Pretend like it was somebody else? Walk around with apology signs on their foreheads?

I've seen people want statues removed that commemorate local dead in the war.

Yet Germany should make museums out of every death camp and turn them into tourist attractions.
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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: Re: Should the South be ashamed of its Confederate history?   Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:17 pm

The more one tries to cover up history, the more appealing it becomes. Every memorial is dedicated to some historical event.
At Monticello in Virginia, one can visit Thomas Jefferson's home and see the slave quarters. Although they were well treated, they were still slaves and part of culture at that time.
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Should the South be ashamed of its Confederate history?   Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:55 pm

As soon as I mentioned Germany I thought of you, Abe, and was hoping you'd weigh in on this from your perspective.
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joefrank
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PostSubject: Re: Should the South be ashamed of its Confederate history?   Sun Apr 11, 2010 10:02 pm

4/12/2010

I say it's history. Let people celebrate the
way they want to, this country has gone too
far ! Being apologetic for what ?


Cheers..Joe
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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: Re: Should the South be ashamed of its Confederate history?   Sun Apr 11, 2010 10:40 pm

Lin,
commenting on some historial events are too sensitive for open discussion. We can't change history, good or bad. Fanning the flames of despicable events are often done with some political agenda.
As for the American Civil War, there is still some tension between the north and the south after all these years. Why?
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alice
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PostSubject: Re: Should the South be ashamed of its Confederate history?   Mon Apr 12, 2010 5:35 am

Sleep


Last edited by Long gone on Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:26 am; edited 1 time in total
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alj
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PostSubject: Re: Should the South be ashamed of its Confederate history?   Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:49 am

Abe said:

Quote :
As for the American Civil War, there is still some tension between the
north and the south after all these years. Why?

It marked a major paradigm shift and the end of an worldview. The agricultural way of life was displaced by the industrial, for once and all.

We're in the same position today, with the dawning of the informational era. Should the industrial pollutants and uber-capitalist bankers be ashamed of our recent history?

Was slavery evil? Of course it was, and so was the post-war treatment of the "freed" African-Americans.

But individual southerners and confederate soldiers were human beings caught up in the turmoil of shifting consciousness, just as we are now.

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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: Re: Should the South be ashamed of its Confederate history?   Mon Apr 12, 2010 7:34 am

Is it safe to conclude that people hate to lose and will harbor animosity indefinitely? What is so sad is that parents pass it on to their children, and they pass it on...
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alj
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PostSubject: Re: Should the South be ashamed of its Confederate history?   Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:15 am

Abe F. March wrote:
Is it safe to conclude that people hate to lose and will harbor animosity indefinitely? What is so sad is that parents pass it on to their children, and they pass it on...

No, I don't think so. I don't think it is about hating to lose. As I said in my post, I think it's about shifting paradigms, and that's a different thing altogether.

Ann
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: Should the South be ashamed of its Confederate history?   Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:35 am

alice wrote:
The South really has nothing to celebrate--they clearly lost the war.

Whatever the war was about they lost.

In my opinion it would behoove them to find something else to be noted for other than losing a war.

Well, Southerners I know are proud of being from the South; there are groups like GRITS (Girls Raised in the South), DAR (Daughters of the Confederacy), terms like "Southern hospitality," "Southern charm," etc. It's a culture that encompassed more than slavery (which existed in the North, too, until Lincoln abolished it partially as a means of defeating the South in the Civil War). Yet they're supposed to be ashamed of that culture and get screamed down whenever they try to celebrate it. Is that right? I don't know.
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PostSubject: Re: Should the South be ashamed of its Confederate history?   Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:59 am

LC, you've picked up on one of the paradoxes of that culture. It is difficult for us today to see how a group that, in many ways, defined gentility, could have espoused such a thing as slavery.

I'm not sure if there is a connection, but southern women, while being very charming and lady-like, were often victims of a patriarchal culture that saw them as china dolls or delicate flowers and put them on these pedestals that were very confining, and did not allow them any intellect or independence.

Now I'm thinking of Steel Magnolias. As I said, it's a very complex situation.

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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Should the South be ashamed of its Confederate history?   Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:25 pm

Think "Mandigo"
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dkchristi
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PostSubject: Re: Should the South be ashamed of its Confederate history?   Mon Apr 12, 2010 5:22 pm

A friend of mine, born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia explained it to me like this: The South was already realizing that the North's industrial economy was the wave of the future; market pressures would have moved the South to diversify its agricultural base without the Civil War. Without the demands of agriculture, the economics of maintaining slavery did not make it feasible as an economic system of the future. Slaves were costly to maintain. The war was about economics, not slavery. The factories of the north needed laborers, and runaway slaves were a good source of that labor; freed slaves were an even greater labor pool. The rape of the South during and following the Civil War created poverty where once a vibrant society flourished. That's why the rancor remains: the South has never risen above the economic devastation inflicted by the North. The continuation of segregation in the South was a broken society's way of hanging on to the last vestiges of their class; they might be poor, but their skin color gave them a higher caste. According to my friend, the movie depiction of hundreds of slaves is not true. Most family farms had only a few because the farmwork was more than the members of a family could complete on their own. If you examine property records, they will show one or two slaves purchased or sold. According to my friend, they were mostly well-treated and many refused to accept their freedom and stayed on as workers and sharecroppers. My friend was quite adamant that it was in the North's interest to keep the South impoverished, just as it remains today.

Now, I don't know his sources or whether there is any validity to his statements; however, he was quite adamant and still carried animosity toward Yankees (me included). I received similar vibes when I worked in northern Florida; told I would always be an outsider since I didn't share their "history."
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alj
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PostSubject: Re: Should the South be ashamed of its Confederate history?   Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:43 pm

Much of what DK has said is consistent with what I was taught as a southerner.

I still have a problem thinking of human beings as an economic issue. While it is true that the enormous plantations depicted in movies from the 30's and 40's were very rare, and that, like DK says, most farmers perhaps had only a family or two, and while they were treated well, it was more because that, too, was economically feasible - kind of like you would treat a pure-bred horse or bull. I remind myself that I am looking at the situation from the other side of a shift to a higher level of consciousness and a different perspective, than my ancestors had access to.

One of the important, but often neglected points is that not all northerners were abolitionists, and many who were still did not see the African-American population as equals. Many escaped and/or freed slaves were definitely exploited as cheap labor in the north as well as in the south. And not all southerners believed in slavery. In researching my own roots, I have noticed that there were quite a few farmers who were able to provide a comfortable level of living without the use of slaves, including most of my own southern ancestors. For popular examples, think the family led by Jimmy Stewart in Shenandoah, or that of Esco and Sally Swanger in Cold Mountain. It was families like these, according to the census and land records I have seen, who were the backbone of the south, even then.

Yes, the Reconstruction Era was brutal, and came on top of the destruction of the farms and plantations during the war itself. Yes, it was in the north's interest to keep the south poor.

But the lynchings of the late 19th and early 20th century did not happen, to my knowledge, in the north.

It is not a simple issue. There were grievous wrongs on both sides, even among the abolitionists in Kansas and Missouri before, during, and after the war itself. The guerrillas, whether called bushwhackers or redlegs, were terrorists, in every sense of the word.

Industrialism brought its own evils: child labor, sweatshops, long hours, brutality.

It is all too easy to ease our own sense of shame over our collective pasts by placing all the blame on one side or the other, rather than accepting that we all have a dark side and the capability for evil.

I think it is a good thing that so many of the death camps in Germany have been turned into museums. I do not think we should try to repress our darkness, rather we should bring it to the light, and expose it for what it is. To commemorate the south without acknowledging the evil that slavery was, to my mind, is not a good thing. Neither is it a good thing to attempt to hold people accountable for what their ancestors did over a hundred years ago.

Not too many years ago, I was at Stone Mountain in Georgia, outside Atlanta. I watched the lazer show just after dark. As I recall, the final scene showed the generals from both sides turning their horses toward the audience, raising and then breaking their swords as they rode into the dark night above our heads.

I liked that image.

Ann
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: Should the South be ashamed of its Confederate history?   Mon Apr 12, 2010 7:11 pm

I don't know why the South is being equated with death camps in Germany. That's pretty extreme. Nevertheless, the Germans don't ignore their own history, and celebrate it in many ways (although I'm aware they try to gloss over/forget the Nazi era).
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PostSubject: Re: Should the South be ashamed of its Confederate history?   Mon Apr 12, 2010 7:26 pm

Nobody did. (Although you wouldn't have to look far on the web to dig something like that up)

What's being equated is the subject at hand, shame over one's history.
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E. Don Harpe
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PostSubject: Re: Should the South be ashamed of its Confederate history?   Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:48 pm

I've never been ashamed of being from the South, never will be. No slaves or ex-slaves or still alive, as are no slave owners. I don't know if my family ever owned a slave, and don't care. Whatever happened back then, happened back then. Today there are still racists, both black and white, and it is my honest opinion that the strife between the two races is kept alive more by the black race than by the white. I make no apologies to anyone over my southern heritage, and will never feel that I owe anyone of any race any reparations. I think that had it not be for slavery, most of the blacks would still be in their home countries, many of which have much worse conditions that we have here in America. Perhaps thanks should be given that some blacks in Africa sold some other blacks, and a bunch of them managed to get over here, where they have done extremely well for themselves. Should I choose to fly the Stars and Bars I will fly it, and any who know me know that I don't care what anyone thinks. Besides, history is history, and while the winners often write it, the fact is that it happened. There is nothing we can do about it now, so it seems futile to me to keep on trying. Some people say they don't like the Confederate Flag, well so be it. I don't pants that show kids underwear, loud rap music blaring from radios, and people whose every other word starts with an F. But I live with it. So I see no reason to take down the flag or apologize for flying it.
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: Should the South be ashamed of its Confederate history?   Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:49 am

Don -the argument typically made is that you benefited from "white privilege."

My question -or observation, really- is that anytime a Southern state tries celebrating anything pre-Civil War, it is literally screamed down as racist and offensive. I would think that Southern history encompasses a whole lot more than slavery, and there's something to be proud of in that.

I also wonder when/if the white privilege accusation will ever go away, and what has to happen for it to go away.
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PostSubject: Re: Should the South be ashamed of its Confederate history?   Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:22 am

Neo-reconstruction
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PostSubject: Re: Should the South be ashamed of its Confederate history?   Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:25 am

I liked Ann's response. I'll add that we each see the past, the present and the future through our own filters. Often those filters are colored by self-interest. Moral issues, whether falling into religion, politics or lifestyle, may lead to intense emotional responses. A person's life experiences and educational directions influence their opinion, depending on which bits of information are held dear and which are discarded. For some people, history is comforting and instructional and a source of pride; for others, history is painful and without merit for their own self worth. Entire life philosophies are built around living today without wasting time on the yesterdays. Because we are all unique beings living in a country that allows personal freedoms in speach, movement and life choices, diverse opinions also flourish. I think those who wish to celebrate their history are as free to do so (within the bounds of decent civil society) as those who wish to ignore it. I pass no judgment on either.
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E. Don Harpe
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PostSubject: Re: Should the South be ashamed of its Confederate history?   Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:26 am

LC, I think the argument can also be made that blacks benefited from "white privilege" also. After all, if all of the whites in the south had been poor and had no privileges, nobody would have benefitted, neither white nor black.

The accusation will never go away so long as we remain a nation divided, and we will do that so long as there is a "Black" Chamber of Commerce, a "Black Entertaintment Television" a "Black Miss America" an NAACP, and the list goes on.

I can understand that there is a feeling of resentment for slavery, it was a terrible thing. But for so many it remains a crutch, an excuse, a reason for getting something for less work, and the only thing they can fall back upon when they fail.

And in my opinion, hiring a less qualified person because your company has to fill a certain quota or minorities is wrong. I believe in equal opportunity, equal pay for equal work, without a color barrier. I say give the job to the most qualified, and let the rest try and bring themselves up to that level. Until we do that, how can we ever even begin to say we are equal?

It's easy to say there never should have been slavery in this country. but it's not so easy to live with what the world may have been like had slavery not existed. If someone could go back in time and eliminate slavery completely, knowing that in the year 2010 95% of America would be white and that almost all blacks would still live in Africa, would anyone really want that to happen? I think the sacrafices made back then is what makes us stronger today, and if there is ever to be equality, I think slavery played a huge part in bringing it about.
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dkchristi
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PostSubject: Re: Should the South be ashamed of its Confederate history?   Tue Apr 13, 2010 8:44 am

That's why I enjoy scientific, science fiction. Only there is it possible to explore a different future that results from recreating the past. Computer technology attempts to simulate possibilities from different choices; but to this day in time, I don't believe we have been able to recreate the past for a different future except in our imagination and Madison Avenue techniques for mind control that believing a different past existed makes it possible to support a self-interest.

Until we find the perfect moral compass that is followed by all human beings, (only in science fiction) self-interest rules. Fortunately for many, one person's self-interests (to become successful financially as an example) may benefit others (a new company that offers many employment). However, life is not fair. Where some benefit, some lose. Where some see opportunity, others see exploitation.

However, I think that our opportunity to discuss and debate helps to clarify our personal goals and beliefs, perhaps influence another and maybe improve those aspects of life that are detrimental overall.
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PostSubject: Re: Should the South be ashamed of its Confederate history?   Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:31 am

Save your Dixie cups, boys, the Lost Cause shall rise again!
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PostSubject: Re: Should the South be ashamed of its Confederate history?   Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:42 am

I grew up just outside the city of Chicago, got married and moved to South Carolina where we lived for three years. To me it was a definite "culture shock." Certainly, we were somewhat protected by the military community, but even there I met people from all over the country.

It was 1960, the beginning of the end of segregation. The schools were being integrated, and not easily. The public beach was shut down when the whites refused to let the blacks come there as integration was enforced. The blacks at the high school wanted class rings and prom dresses they could not afford, but wanted so they could be like their white classmates. It was not easy. Conroy's books, The River is Wide, as well as The Great Santini speak of those times.

I did visit a concentration camp in Austria with a group of young people from a musical group back in 1985. The group became perfectly quiet, not a word was spoken as they commenced on the tour through the rooms where the people slept, through the ovens, and other means of torture. Those were devastating, but the most memorable by everyone were the monuments outside the camp walls. There was a monument of three people with their arms in the air and underneath the words, "nee vergessen" (never forget.) The Italian monument included photos of every prisoner that was there. Other memorials were equally as impressive. Afterwards the bus was silent for hours, and only that evening were the young people able to talk about what they had seen, but it was a good thing that they had gone there. They all agreed on that.

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