OMG!!! A thousand claps from me on this!!!! I have never, ever EVER heard a Southern White male say some shit like this! (And trust I’ve talked to a ton of them about racism and that flag and about them keeping their jobs as I explained above.)
They were ENTRENCHED. They were deeply dug in! And it got so crazy sounding and seeming to me, I actually did a bit of mild research into the flag and why the Southerners (white ones mainly, but not always, some black Southerners like it too) are so apeshit about it.
It has to do with the Civil War, and how that war was fought and intra-White racism, (which white people hate to discuss or even acknowledge that it exists.) But it does…anyone who has been in exclusive white environments knows this. (And I have. I went to prep school.)
And there, at prep school, if you’re not a WASP, you’re not the right kind of white. A WASP, looks down upon the Irish, the Italians, the Greeks, the Jews…And certainly anyone from Eastern Europe. And to my experience, if you’re what the WASPs refer to as a “redneck” well, they seem to experience a deep and abiding shame about who you are and what you represent; that is pretty much WHAT the American civil war was REALLY about, WASPs v. rednecks and the cultural wars and hurt feelings between those different kinds of whites.
In a sense the war was not about the black slaves, but yes also about the black slaves. Were slaves white property to be treated anyway white peoples wanted? Or were they free people just like any other American? The southern whites, (many anyway) were deeply invested in Blacks being property…receiving the George Floyd treatment whenever they wished to dole it out, capriciously, to any random slave for kicks. Southerners simply wanted the Northern whites to allow them to do as they wished with their black slaves.
This the Northern whites would not co-sign because some southerners (a small fraction, but still) would turn into monstrous psychopaths, with regard to the way they treated their slaves…but they wouldn’t stop there. Their psychopathology WAS AFFECTING NORTHERN WHITES.
And this was what the North simply could not abide. And why would they, if they had the power to fight back? But this is what is deeply buried in American history. These are the truths Southerner whites don’t want to face. They did step to the North on some crazy bullshit, and got their asses handed to them, rightfully so.
The South was in the wrong. Not just about the slaves, but their aggressive approach to the Northern states. They were on some straight up Hitler bullshit. They really were…and yes it was a small minority on this bullshit. But a small minority is what caused that war.
The Northern whites fought back against SOUTHERN AGGRESSION, pretty ferociously. The South was lucky and strong to make any comeback at all…and that’s what that pride, that clinging to heritage, (and also white smoldering resentment and anger) is all about.
I get it. I totally get why the Southerners hold onto their flags and their monuments with such tenacity. It’s a mighty middle-finger to the ones who delivered an ass whipping.
But here’s the thing, when you say “it’s not hate, it’s heritage” you are LYING, and worse than that, to yourself.
The war of Northern aggression, that’s a lie. A small fraction of Southerners started the war in an extremely aggressive manner, and while most of the South actually didn’t want the war, they did choose to fight it. (And they had their reasons, sure…and many of those reasons were valid.) But Southerners refused to this very day to entertain any concerns about how dangerous and sick the system of slavery was, and why the Northern whites were sooooooooo upset about it. Cause trust, they had their reasons too. The South kept bringing their sick system of slavery to their front door. The South kept trying to force the North to participate in a system it didn’t want. (The North had their own sick systems, not necessarily based on race, they were called factories. That was the way the North wanted to do vast and systemic human exploitation.)
The confederacy is about hate, though (it is a lie that it is not), but it’s also about your heritage, that part is true. But the South can’t keep ignoring the hate part. The South just can’t keep ignoring how deep and extreme and even diabolical and inhumane hatred for Black Americans factors in. You can’t just ignore that part!
Southerners lost the war…and they were angry, resentmentful, bitter…and they never got to go to therapy to work all that out…and so they decided to keep a consolation prize.
That consolation prize was their hatred and oppression of black Americans. The South decided, rather deliberately, that they would still keep their slaves, and hate them and abuse them worse than ever. The 13th amendment is nothing but a trap door back into slavery. The Jim Crow system was the same. As for Southern black Americans, white southerners (some of them) have had a knee on their neck since that war.
And believe it or not, this causes conflict between some Black Southerners (often referred to as bamas or coons or Toms) and the rest of black America. Us in the North? In the Midwest? We feel like WE won the Civil War,
As for those blacks who choose to stay in the South and play the “I’m still a slave game,” many of us feel like they’re trying to drag the rest of us back into slavery, with them. A little resentment over that. It’s Booker T. v. W.E.B….it’s MLK arguing with Malcolm X.
And so you are right when you say that racism is an extremely complex and multi-faceted issue. In America it runs so deep…and there are so many programs and so much propaganda around it.
Black Lives Matter v. All Lives Matter v. White Lives Matter v. K-pop.
Are you fucking kidding me right now? All of it masks the truth. The North, for example is EXTREMELY RACIST. The North can take no moral high ground over the south with regard to racism. George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis! How far North is that? Pretty damn far North.
It’s just a different kind of racism. It is a “I just wish you would die n*gger” kinda racism, whereas in the South, it’s “stay in your place, with my knee on your neck n*gger” kind of racism.
Unfortunately, George Floyd got both kinds of racism; and it was just too much to witness, these brutal sins of America. The entire world is sickened and revolted.
Both kinds of racism are hate and fear-filled paradigms, and are extremely unhealthy for the hater and the hated. And that’s the real truth we need to understand.
Racism is an American cancer…but we can heal from it, if we are willing to be honest, face the truth, and stand in our truth.
As a southern white male, I commend you for this. I’ve been looking for one of y’all to do this for quite some time. You’re my Moby Dick. I knew you were out there somewhere.
I thought it might be Steve McGrath who would write something like this. (He came a little close a few times.)
But thank you. Thank you for writing this! I feel so heartened to see someone like you being so honest about the flag and your heritage. TRUST- I understand it’s not an easy thing to do, I’ve never come across anyone like you willing to do it.
Love and Light,
Amli, your everyday Light worker