Keeping Racial Differences in Perspective

Memorial Day

Honoring our Confederate Dead

Keeping racial differences in perspective

Yesterday I went to honor our confederate dead as well as all those who died for our freedoms in America.  I honored these confederate dead for their bravery and devotion to one another and for trying to protect the only way of life they ever knew.  I do not come to say I wish that history could have been rewritten and the South victorious, though I am sure life would have been better for some.

A southern victory would have set the path to freedom for the African Slave back 150 to 200 years and that would have been a travesty.  To the southern who says the War was not about slavery, but about States Rights, I say, yes, that point was forcefully made by the loss of 600,000 American lives, both from the North and the South and still more deaths than all American wars combined.

The States Rights issue is not lost on me either.  States right does nothing but increase the freedoms of those who wish to govern themselves a little differently from others in parts of the country.  But it’s association with slavery  has made it a politically incorrect topic for almost 150 years.

However, even during the slavery days feelings of love transcended the cultural, political and even slavery issue differences between African slaves and their white owners.  Not in every case of course, but innate in the human race is the ability to love others even though one is slave and the other free.

It is sometimes said of white Southerners that they hate Africans as a race, but love them as individuals.  I would disagree with the statement, but I understand that observation and maybe there is a shred of truth there.  I know this statement will inflame the passions of many, but put your self righteous passions away for a minute and consider.   Try to consider the evolution of the black and white man, both relatively new immigrants, from vastly different cultures,  to the southern states of America .

I think the shred of truth is not directed toward a person, so much as toward remnants of a culture created by the inhumanity of slavery.  It is a misguided hatred…an immature hatred…an unsympathetic hatred.  It is a hatred for remnants of a primitive African culture, who spoke a different language, and dialect, who had different traditions and customs that was traumatized by being captured and sold and traded like cattle.  It was a culture of prisoners held to do the dirty work of their owners, denied education, or any significant opportunities afforded to human beings.  And to the shame of a people who called themselves a Christian nation, slavery lasted for 250 years.

Some say that we should feel no shame for these injustices our ancestors or at least the ancestors of our white cousins helped create by our immoral laws in the 17th ,18th and 19th centuries.  I certainly had no part in this injustice nor do I think my inherited DNA makes me guilty of misdeeds.  But I can be mature in my thinking.  I can understand that the opportunities offered to African Americans have been slow to catch up.  I can celebrate the tremendous accomplishments against difficult odds that have been achieved by men like George Washington Carver, Martin Luther King, Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, Tiger Woods, Colin Powell, Clarence Thomas and now the President of the United States Barack Obama.  And I can be proud of the fact that all Americans regardless of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, age or disability are afforded equal rights under the laws of the United States of America.



Keywords:  Race relations in the south, Old South, Racial Tension, African Americans in the New South

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