Sorry, Neo-Confederates You Don’t Get to Be More Southern Than Me or Anyone Else

 

This post originally appears on The Good Ole Boys Radio Network.

Anyone paying any attention to the domestic news this week has become aware of the horrendous events stemming from the large gathering in Charlottesville, VA of college boy ultra-right wingers, tearful Hitler Humpers, they took our jobs types, and America’s oldest batch of terrorists. Under the guise of protesting a pending removal of a statue or Robert E. Lee by the city of Charlottesville, the defenders of whiteness road into town to protest what they perceived to be an attack on their “culture” by liberals, black and brown folks, and all of the unsavory progressive types whom they think took their country from them.

So what happens when large groups of Alt-Right activists and Nazis show up somewhere carrying rifles, wearing riot gear, while chanting about “blood and soil” and not being replaced by Jewish folks? They are of course met by large groups of people who loathe everything they believe.

Protesters and counter-protesters would skirmish for hours on Saturday, August 12th. Until a young woman, Heather Heyer was run down in the street in an act of vehicular homicide by gutless, fascist man-child whose name I will not waste keystrokes typing.

Members of the nation would then watch our president flail and try to equivocate counter-protesters to a large hoard of fascists who helped propel him to the White House. Yes, this is his base, his hateful, paranoid, off-kilter base. A few days later we would watch or hear our president appear to call out white supremacists that were actually legally protesting in Charlottesville but illegal assaulting counter-protesters and allegedly murdering Heather Heyer. We would then see our president hold a press-conference, seemingly recanting his prior condemnation of the Alt-Right, and again comparing the counter-protesters to those, who he will not condemn.  He would keep the hits coming and speak out about the erasure of history that occurs when Confederate monuments are removed, invoking a possible slippery slope of the removal of the Confederacies “heroes” by asking if monuments honoring the likes of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson would be next.

Washington and Jefferson are by no means saints. (You won’t find any of those in any history books, though.) Washington and Jefferson were also not seditious towards the United States of America. To the English crown yes, but not to the nation they founded.

Do you know who was actually seditious to the United States? Men like Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson-the men who the president compared to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson as a justification for his position being against monument removal.

I’m not here to write about the president. I’m here to write about being a proud black southerner who lives in a region that has more than many monuments to a group of men who sought to keep my ancestors as chattel and were willing to rip the nation apart to do so. If you live in the southern United States you probably have seen shirts or bumper stickers that read “Heritage, Not Hate” emblazed over an image of the Confederate battle flag, the same flag that arose to prominence decades after the American Civil War as a symbol of southern resistance against the removal of Jim Crow laws and the invoking of equal rights for people of color across the American south.

I’m here to write about the ideal of southern heritage being tied to the image of the long-dead Confederate States of America. I’ve written about the conflict of being a proud southerner and a black man before but I must assert this again.

Just because your great-great-great whatever’s, who probably owned nary a slave was duped or conscripted into a cause fighting an armed act of treason does not make you anymore southern, proud or otherwise, than me. While your great-great-great whatever’s was dodging mini-balls and cannon fire in some peach orchard or wheat field somewhere my great-great-great whatever’s had their backs bent in a cotton field somewhere in South Carolina praying they live to see the guys wearing blue win. Praying for that long-wanted freedom from those who abused, worked them nearly to death, raped, and fed scraps until they were used up and sold off to someone else who would try to find a way to work a little more of their souls out of them.

My family and my friend’s family are all mostly southern and black and we simply do not find anything close to Neo-Confederatism enduring or anything to be proud of.

You simply don’t get to be anymore southern than me and the folks I hold dear. We’re descended from those who, after your ancestor’s ill-conceived attempt at maintaining slavery, somehow eked-out a life chopping logs, picking cotton, harvesting turpentine, laying rail, raising the children of others while neglecting their own, walking behind mules, and cooking for those who looked down upon them. What you worship is nothing but vestigial remains of an era that sought to control my ancestors’ actions well after the notion of owning a man had passed.

Nothing about the south, heritage-wise or geographical is solely yours. It never was. It could never be. From the food you love, the rhythms you dance to, the everyday lexicon, to some of the songs you sing while you worship on Sunday morning-it’s all a mixture of my heritage. A heritage which we managed to scrape out the sandy dirt of South Carolina, the red clay of Georgia, and the other open landscapes of the south that were cleared and worked by those who had no say in the matter.

Seeing that I’m a big advocate of historical preservation I would not want many of these statues destroyed. They can find their rightful place in historical museums that would allow people to truly understand the entire context of what occurred at the hands of those who fought for the Confederacy. Robert E. Lee himself was seemingly against the notion of monumental worship of the Confederacy and the American Civil War asserting that “not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion the feelings engendered.”

Lee, unlike many of his devoted modern followers, seemed to get the point of moving on. Hell, he and Stonewall Jackson’s descendants seem to agree fully. So why can’t many neo-Confederates do the same? As a figure in American history, I compare Lee to Erwin Rommel. He’s a talented soldier who fought for an abhorrent cause that sought to continue the oppression of many. Sure he can be tactically celebrated but this has to be done while delving into the whole person including the nasty parts, especially the nasty parts.

These nasty parts have a place, a place in state museums in cities and towns like Columbia, Atlanta, Raleigh, and Nashville. Not in the face of those trying to move on and embrace the South’s whole past and not just a horrid part of it.

So why cling to that part of your heritage? Why wallow in a long-ago defeat that you cannot change or undo? Why tie yourself to that aspect of a larger whole? All it does is keep bad wounds open. That’s simply not healthy for you, your community, or the south you claim to love. Because I love the south just as much as you do but I realize one key fact- the part of the south that you love is dragging you down while mine is lifting me up.

Vaya con Dios.

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Luke Cage, Bad Dudes, and Not Being Bulletproof

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Quipped a Tulsa, Oklahoma law enforcement officer hovering above a local street just moments before Terence Crutcher was murdered by the state in the form of Officer Betty Shelby. Crutcher, like many before him fell prey to a combination of racism, a heavy-handed culture of law enforcement, fear, and what Claude Brown referred to as looking like “bad nigger” in “Manchild in the Promised Land.” As harsh of a descriptor as it sounds “Bad nigger” like “bad motherfucker” has particular connotations to many of us. Continue reading

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On Speaking Ill of the Recently Departed, the Need for Sainthood, and the Impossible Standards used When it Comes Time to Mourn Dead Black Boys

Earlier this morning I came across an article from the New York Times entitled “A Teenager Grappling With Problems and Promise” penned by John Eligon. The teenager in question is Michael Brown who was murdered by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, MO. There’s no need to recap the actions and goings on surrounding Brown’s death and if you’re not familiar with it then you’re either a corpse or purposely keeping yourself ignorant of current events. Continue reading

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Random News/Ain’t it Thoughts about football.

It’s Friday but not Friday at Five o’clock. Yes, this is a problem but in my head I’m an amateur sniper so I can wait. Until then let’s talk about football.   I have some good news—there are 27 days … Continue reading

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Random News/Ain’t it Thoughts (For today, Ninja!)

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    Soooo, I’m black to blogging for the day. (On some use it or lose it, sh*t.)[i] I’ve got some boo boo on my brain that I need to get out for the sake of my sanity and my … Continue reading

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Random Questions– I Don’t Even Know, Man

During the aftermath of the George Zimmerman trial I find myself dumbfounded and laden with questions. As a black man, an American, and somewhat responsible citizen I find myself with nothing but questions about my existence and other things that many just either take for granted or are not aware of in the first place. As my friend O, says “It’s still very real in the field.” Continue reading

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The Talk I Hope That I Never Want To Have

Ray Charles — It Ain’t Easy Being Green   This of a repost of something I did back in March of 2012. I never repost but I felt it was important due to Saturday’s events…yeah. As a black man that … Continue reading

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Random Happenings With Me and Your Mama

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To say that the last seven or so months of my life have been somewhat interesting would be an understatement. Within that time I’ve lost both parents, gotten engaged, and toppled two third world governments. Yeah, I’ve been a little occupied with things and my thoughts are as random as ever. Continue reading

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Emotional Triggers, Baseball & Festus Hagen

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We’re in the heart baseball season and sadly I cannot watch a single pitch.

You see, my Daddy, Stephen. Sr. passed a month ago Tuesday and baseball was one of the things my Daddy and I could easily talk about. It’s not that we weren’t close but we were just two extremely terse men of different times (He was born in 1932 and I was born in 1979 and baseball was one of the things that we both loved to watch.)
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Ain’t it News/Random Thoughts: Week of 4/19/2013

JrobinsonMan, this week has reeked of unawesomeness. We however are still here and we have to keep moving forward because that’s what we’re programmed to do. So in the words of newly inducted Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, Chuck D …Here comes the drums…

  1. After the madness and destruction occurring in Boston, West, Texas, and the halls of the legislative branch of the United States Government America (Y’all failed the people again.) needs a long weekend. We need a long weekend with no bombs, explosions, or spineless, self-serving politicians so we all can just eat too much and chill with the folks.
  2. Seriously, this week has been a bad Michael Bay movie Okay just a Michael Bay movie. (That “bad” in his work is inherent.)
  3. Moneypenny and I caught “42” last weekend and I’ll describe it as is imperfect biopic. In case some of y’all haven’t seen it I’ll avoid and spoilers but just keep in mind the film only covers a few months out of an extraordinary life so please don’t expect the film to encapsulate every aspect of blackness. Chad Boseman (Jackie Robinson), Nicole Beharie (Rachel Robinson), and Harrison Ford (Branch Rickey) (Harrison Ford is f***ing 70!) all did great jobs in their roles. In all, the cheese factor was kept to a minimum which I can respect because biopics often come heavy with the cheese. I honestly want to discuss some scenes with y’all but again I don’t want to spoil anything. (Let me know in the comment section if it’s cool.)
  4. Korea, specifically the North, actually existed before the crazy. (I’m a stan for history laden picture spreads and dogs.)

That’s all I have. Y’all have a good weekend.

Vaya con Dios!

Bootsy Collins — I’d Rather Be With You