When the War Between the States ended, the Constitution was amended to free slaves, grant them citizenship, and give them the vote. Concurrent with these three Constitutional amendments, White Northerners felt pressured to stop treating Blacks as second class citizens. So the North began to modify and/or eliminate its Black Codes.
The South’s Black Codes became known as ‘Jim Crow’ laws. This designation was taken from minstrel shows in New York that stereotyped Blacks as lazy and buffoonish. An oft featured act was ‘Jump Jim Crow’, performed by a shabbily attired White Northerner with blackface. This act preceded many minstrel shows as it was highly popular with audiences who would sing along with the performer, clapping and stamping their feet.
The epithet ‘Jim Crow’ should have been abandoned during the Civil Rights Movement. But, well into the 21st century, Liberals continue to use the racist invective ‘Jim Crow South’, although relations between the races in that region are amiable.
As the 1800s drew to a close, Atlanta newspaper journalist Henry Grady anticipated that the agrarian South would become industrialized. Consequently he proposed that the Southern region be called the ‘New South.’ His designation ‘New South’ is certainly more accurate than ‘Jim Crow South.’ But ‘New South’ is anathema to social activists because it depicts the region favorably.
Georgia’s requirement that voters prove their identity with a photo ID is referred to as a ‘Jim Crow’ voting restriction. Black media icon Stacey Abrams refers to Georgia’s voting laws as “a redux of Jim Crow in a suit and tie.” But there have been widespread incidents of suspected voter fraud, especially in the 2020 presidential election. And several states require either a photo ID or another official form of identification in order to vote.
‘Jim Crow 2.0’ is how Stacey Abrams describes Georgia’s SB 202 – Election Integrity Act of 2021. This Bill attempts to correct deficiencies primarily in absentee voting, early voting, and vote counting. But media celebrity Abrams perceives these so-called corrections as ‘voter suppression’, preventing Black votes.
Critical Race Theory ( CRT) accusations are comparable to Jim Crow inferences.
CRT maintains that all Whites are White supremacists who oppress Blacks and prevent them from attaining full legal rights. CRT also contends that Whites are beneficiaries of unearned privileges denied to Black communities. Consequently news media focuses solely on problems of Blacks even though Whites are roughly 60 % of the population whereas Blacks are only 13 %.
In her book “The New Jim Crow” civil rights activist Michelle Alexander objects to the imprisonment of Black drug offenders. These Black males are serving time for possession and trafficking of illegal drugs. Alexander ignores the fact that these felons violated existing laws and were properly arrested, tried, and convicted. Claiming that they are victims of Jim Crow Laws, she not only wants them released from prison but wants their conviction records wiped clean.
Jim Crow also influences reparations for slavery. Neither victims nor perpetrators of slavery are still alive and we cannot assume that all Blacks suffered slavery comparably or that all Whites benefited comparably. But Black activists consider Jim Crow laws a continuation of slavery. So the detriment caused by Jim Crow laws justifies reparations.
Finally, mention should be made of Michigan’s Ferris State University’s “Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia.” Yes. You read that correctly – a Jim Crow museum. The purpose of the museum is to make students aware of “...restrictive covenants, literacy tests, poll taxes, and other oppressive features of the Jim Crow racial hierarchy." The thinking is that such exhibits will “...teach tolerance and promote social justice". But these exhibits are more likely to increase animosity between the races.
Leftist activists insist that America is not a ‘post-racial society’ but is systemically racist. We frequently hear phrases like racism, bigotry, color discrimination, racial prejudice, White supremacy and on and on. But a growing number of citizens reject the ‘systemically racist’ caricature of our country and still take pride in being Americans. Hopefully these patriots will be able to eliminate terms like ‘Jim Crow’ from our vocabulary.
President Biden’s deteriorating mental condition seems to have affected his judgment when he appointed Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. Ketanji Jackson is a “far-left political activist" with a collectivist or socialist philosophy. Her opinions are anathema to middle America. During evaluations by the Judiciary Committee and the Senate, Jackson was unable to conceal her radical political philosophy. But her Court appointment was approved.
In his presidential campaign, Joe Biden promised that, if elected, he would appoint the first Black female to the Supreme Court. He made no mention of experience, political philosophy, or prior legal decisions. His only criteria were race and gender. Appointing Ketanji Jackson to the Supreme Court was the only campaign promise that Biden fulfilled.
President Biden justified Jackson’s appointment with this language: "For too long our government, our courts haven't looked like America," The phrase “doesn’t look like America” actually means our government and our courts lack ‘diversity.’ Our Founding Fathers would never have imagined that appointments to the Supreme Court would be made simply to achieve diversity.
During her Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Ketanji Brown Jackson either didn’t respond to questions or responded with vague generalities. Committee Republicans tried in vain to determine the judicial philosophy Jackson would bring to the highest court in the land. But Jackson described herself as ‘neutral’; with no philosophy only a ‘methodology.’ But it is unlikely that Jackson could have had such a lengthy legal career, including judgeships, without developing legal preferences.
The Declaration of Independence includes the affirmation that all men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” These unalienable or natural rights - life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - are the underpinnings of our way of life. But when Ketanji Brown Jackson was asked her opinion of natural rights, she responded: "I do not hold a position on whether individuals possess natural rights." Are we to believe that a former judge, with years of experience, hasn’t decided if individuals have natural rights? She claims she can’t define the word ‘woman’ so we wonder if she understands the difference between natural rights and legal rights.
The Supreme Court is the guardian and arbiter of the Constitution and the cases its justices must decide involve interpretations of that document. But there is a growing sentiment with certain Leftists that the present Constitution doesn’t meet the needs of modern society. It is widely believed that Ketanji Brown Jackson shares the opinion that the outdated Constitution should be replaced with a “Living Constitution.” But during her hearing, Jackson denied any involvement with the “Living Constitution” movement.
Ketanji Jackson’s evasiveness during her Committee hearing prevented an adequate evaluation of her competence. But excerpts from her testimony indicate that ‘Wokeness’ might affect Ketanji Jackson’s decisions on cases involving free speech, religious liberty, and other cultural issues. Critical race theory and other racist issues might also impact Jackson’s thinking. Ketanji Jackson’s Supreme Court appointment is concerning because, in close cases, one vote could produce a different outcome.
The unwise Supreme Court appointment of Ketanji Jackson comes at a bad time. Our country is at a pivotal moment in its history. We desperately need competent leadership but the failed Biden administration can’t provide it.
Some of you may wonder about the caption for this article. You’re probably thinking “Doesn’t this writer know the civil rights movement ended years ago.” But I maintain that a version of that movement, albeit scaled down, remains to this day . We still hear Black accusations of White racism and Black demands for equal rights. The 1960s Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) has been replaced by Black Lives Matter (BLM). And White privilege has become this generation’s most popular form of racism.
The establishment wants us to think the civil rights movement only lasted 14 months. Their arbitrary beginning date is 1954 with the Brown versus Board of Education decision that ended segregated schools. The ending date is designated as 1968 with the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Essentially the civil rights movement is a collection of civil disobedience events, e.g. Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott, the march on Washington, freedom riders, and the Selma to Montgomery march.
These civil disobedience events have become legends as a result of overblown media reports. Journalists are not impartial. They advocate certain agendas . Their advocacy is especially evident in their reports on the civil rights movement. Not only is the movement always reported favorably but its detrimental aspects are ignored.
Today’s journalists were not around in the 1950s and 1960s, during the heyday of the civil rights movement. Their opinions of that earlier time are based on ‘handed down’ reports by previous journalists. I tend to be skeptical of versions of current incidents that rely on interpretations of past news reports
As an analogy, consider the ‘telephone game’ often played at parties. Someone whispers a phrase to the person next to them and it is whispered from person to person around the room. The version of the phrase whispered to the last person is always significantly different from the original phrase.
Civil disobedience was the primary strategy of the civil rights movement. But in the beginning, protests were more disciplined and rarely disruptive. However activists felt that conditions for Blacks weren’t being improved fast enough. So they stepped up their protests to the point of disrupting society. When civil disobedience began to disrupt society, public support began to wane.
The civil rights movement has been called ‘Second Reconstruction.’ This comparison is plausible if first Reconstruction is viewed simply as granting equal rights to freed slaves. While that explanation may be satisfying , it ignores Union attempts to make the South a bastion of the recently created Republican party. Obstructions to reordering Southern society eventually discouraged the Union. It relinquished control of the South and withdrew its troops. Forsaken by their Union saviors, destitute slaves sought out their former masters and negotiated a working arrangement involving shared land and shared crops.
Slavery and racism have so continuously and thoroughly dominated our nation’s dialogue that it shouldn’t be surprising that an academic scholar has created a diagnosis of ‘Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome (PTSS).” Essentially PTSS posits that the ‘multigenerational’ history of slavery and related injustices is causing pain and suffering to contemporary Blacks who have never been slaves. Similarly, racism is not so much individual incidents but a system-wide imperceptible phenomenon.
Throughout the years, characterizations of racism have been continuously updated with new terminology. The term “racial bias” has been changed into “subtle manifestations of racial bias.” This change allows any interaction to be interpreted as a racist episode. A similar accusation is “unconscious bias” which refers to biases we may not be aware of. And the derogatory designation ‘White supremacy’ essentially implies racism.
One of the Black community’s hypothesis is the ‘Myth of Meritocracy’ which maintains that success is more a matter of luck rather than hard work. This ‘Myth’ holds that in a society permeated with ‘institutional racism’, Blacks cannot succeed without some form of government intervention. Meritocracy implies that hard work leads to wealth and security but Blacks insist that no amount of hard work can overcome White privilege.
This generation includes civil rights under the collective term ‘social justice.’ And although social justice is aggressively pursued, its activists don’t exhibit the same zeal as civil rights activists in the 1960s. This generation seems to feel that advocating social justice is more an obligation than a concern for the betterment of society.
The epithet ‘hero’ has often been bestowed on individuals insincerely and politically but the designation should only honor exceptional individuals. Heroes are an essential and indispensable part of a country’s heritage. They represent what is best in a country and are figures to be emulated. But as our formerly unified country dissolves into a collection of disparate ethnic and racial groups, esteem for past heroes declines.
The assemblage of powerful elites known as the Establishment, has no qualms about deciding who is a hero and who isn’t. Consider their treatment of Robert E. Lee. General Lee was one of America’s special heroes and remains a hero to a sizable segment of the populace. The Establishment has not only retracted Lee’s hero status but now classifies him as a traitor.
Some countries have one national hero it esteems over others – consider France’s Napoleon. If America had a national hero, who would it be? There are two choices for that honor and they differ appreciably: George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
I agree with those who maintain that America’s hero is our first president, George Washington. Born and raised in the British Colony of Virginia, George Washington would become our most important founding father, often described as “the father of our country.”
As commander in chief of the Continental Army, Washington defeated the British and won our independence. Washington also led the Continental Convention that drafted the Constitution and, with the unanimous support of both political parties, became our first president. Washington has been called “the indispensable man” and, as president, he was truly non-partisan, a characteristic rarely found in future presidents.
Washington chose the site of the new capital alongside the Potomac River on land donated by Maryland. During George Washington’s two presidential terms, the structure and functions of our government were established and the newly created United States was brought to fruition.
The Establishment and other similar factions characterize Abraham Lincoln as “our greatest president” and America’s hero. A Lincoln legend has actually been created, based primarily on the over-simplified claim that Lincoln freed the slaves and saved the Union. The basis for this assertion is Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and the Union army’s defeat of the Confederacy in the War Between the States.
Contrary to what many think, the Proclamation didn’t free all slaves, only those in states engaged in war against the North. Furthermore, it allowed those states to keep their slaves if they discontinued their war efforts. But, as slavery was legal under the Constitution, slaves were also lawful until an amendment made slavery illegal. When such an amendment was finally ratified, Lincoln was no longer alive.
The claim that Lincoln saved the Union ignores the fact that at the time of his death, Southern states were being ruled by occupying military forces. Actually, states weren’t reunited until the administration of President Rutherford B. Hayes In 1877, President Hayes ended the military occupation of the South, reuniting the states.
The composition of our population has become so varied that a consensus on a national hero is highly unlikely. Actually, a growing segment of the population has no concern for America’s heroes. And the working class often dismisses heroes as fictive projections of the gentry.
Heroes are also of no concern to those who claim to be victims of social and racial injustice. Social activists actually consider victims more important than heroes. Being perceived as a victim can be very lucrative so claiming victimhood is fairly common. A victim mentality facilely removes feelings of responsibility and blames lack of success on a flawed society. Victimhood has almost become a profession and its lucrativeness is attracting adherents.
The concept of hero could be a thing of the past or there could be new forms of heroes. Heroes of recent generations might be sports and entertainment celebrities or other pop culture icons. But even if these heroes have more than “15 minutes of fame”, we shouldn’t expect their likenesses to be carved into a granite mountain.
Hollywood films set in the South adhered closely to the cultural customs existing during the time period wherein the action takes place. But activists insist that even though a film portrays an earlier generation, it must conform to the standards of the current generation. Consequently, films set in the 19th century must either conform to 21st century standards or contain a waiver disclosing their deviance from those standards.
An unusual case is ‘The Birth of a Nation.’ the acclaimed D.W. Griffith film. The film uses a Southern viewpoint to portray the effects of the War Between the States and Reconstruction on a Northern family and a Southern family. Griffith was familiar with those effects, being the son of a Confederate colonel, born shortly after the War ended. The settings of his film accord with conditions of his time, unhindered by sensitivities of future generations. BOAN was released as a silent film in 1915 and sound was added in 1930.
Griffith was captivated by the emerging trend of filming pictures in motion. The filming techniques he concocted were crucial to the development of motion pictures and he is often credited with creating the Hollywood film industry. In recognition of his technical contributions, the Motion Picture Academy created the D.W. Griffith Award, to honor directors with outstanding lifetime achievements.
The NAACP had existed for only six years when BOAN was first screened but the fledgling organization tried to have the film banned or at least have certain scenes deleted. The NAACP’s efforts failed but it never surrendered its opposition to Griffith or his film. Years later, in 1999, the Director’s Guild of the Motion Picture Academy capitulated to NAACP demands, and removed Griffith’s name from the prestigious D.W. Griffith Award. It is now called the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award.’ So, the man whose innovated filming techniques were essential to the film industry’s creation can no longer be mentioned during Hollywood’s annual ceremony.
Another equally renowned and maligned Southern film is the 1939 version of Margaret Mitchell’s novel ‘Gone With The Wind.’ For decades this film has continuously filled theaters and has been widely praised by audiences. Set in the antebellum South, GWTW is the story of vain, self-centered Scarlett O’Hara, probably the best known female protagonist in literature and movies. GWTW begins with Scarlett as a 16 year old flighty Southern Belle and , although she survived hardships after the War and Reconstruction decimated her fashionable lifestyle, the story ends with her as a skittish 28 year old still lacking mature judgment. (Some of today’s women characterize Scarlett as an early feminist, but that’s too much of a stretch.)
GWTW has been screened innumerable times in the eight decades since its release. Adjusted for inflation, GWTW is probably the most financially profitable film, estimated earnings exceeding $2 billion. It won eight Academy Awards including best film and best actress. Hattie McDaniel won best supporting actress, the first Black to win an Academy Award.
Today’s activists take issue with the film’s depiction of amiable relations between the O’Hara family and its slaves. But GWTW portrays only house slaves who were treated better than field slaves. Activists also object to the house slave Mammy being allowed to scold and criticize Scarlett and other members of the O’Hara family.
Although elites prefer that GWTW not be shown, there is a reluctance to ban such a well crafted film. However, they insist that each screening be preceded with a brief statement putting the film into perspective – a warning about its implied racism. A television host contextualized GWTW as follows: "The film presents the antebellum South as a world of grace and beauty, without acknowledging the brutalities of the system of chattel slavery, upon which this world is based."
GWTW avoided being banned and was only contextualized but Disney’s 1946 ‘Song of the South’ was actually banned. SOTS is faulted for its “outdated cultural depictions.” That criticism can also apply to Disney films such as ‘Snow White and The Seven Dwarves’ and ‘Sleeping Beauty.’ We can assume they weren’t banned because they weren’t associated with the racist South.
Disney insists that SOTS wasn’t banned but it will not allow the film to be shown. Disney also rejected the screening of a contextualized versions of the film. The film was deleted from Disney’s streaming service and recordings of the award winning song ‘Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah’ were removed from various Walt Disney World sites.
The NAACP maintains that SOTS “...gives the impression of an idyllic master-slave relationship, which is a distortion of the facts.” But James Baskett, the actor who played Uncle Remus in the film, took a different view: “I believe that certain groups are doing my race more harm in seeking to create dissension than can ever possibly come out of the Song of the South.” Baskett won an honorary Academy Award for his performance.
Leftist media considers the antebellum South a bygone and bigoted epoch, undeserving of future portrayals in movies. However, the contemporary South is a convenient movie device for exploiting racial injustice. This is the case with the1967 Hollywood film ‘In the Heat of the Night’, one of many “liberal message movies.” The plot of this movie is fairly typical of how the South is stereotyped in films.
While waiting for a train in a small racist Mississippi town, a Black Philadelphia detective is arrested by a bigoted local sheriff who refers to him as “boy”. In this caricature of a small Southern town, uninformed inhabitants distrust all strangers especially Blacks and Northerners. Local law enforcement detains the Black detective but without evidence has to release him.
The police chief learns of the detective’s crime solving abilities, puts aside his prejudice, and requests the detective’s help in apprehending the real murderer. Locals are impressed when the Black detective’s skillful investigation expeditiously uncovers the real murderer. In a cliched Hollywood ending, the White sheriff abandons his racist attitudes and befriends the Black detective. Many of the locals also modify their racist opinions of Blacks.
The film won five Academy Awards including best film and best actor. Some questioned its selection as best film as its competition included ‘Bonnie and Clyde’, ‘The Graduate” and ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’ . But this film was considered to be more ‘socially relevant’ - more important than artistic merit. Regardless of its quality, its political message has made it a television favorite. It was even made into a televised series as well as a play.
Finally, (I’m not making this up) a study guide of the film was created for students to learn about segregation and racism in the 1960s South.
Hollywood no longer portrays the South favorably. So, if you can locate DVDs of those early, fair and equitable, Southern films, you should strongly consider purchasing them. As the ethnicity and gender of actors and actresses has become more important than their acting skills, today’s Hollywood rarely produces watchable films and its survival is in doubt.
We live in a surreal generation, where boys think they can become girls and girls think they can become boys. This generation has been deluged with the ‘equality’ gospel: everyone is equal and everyone can achieve at the same level. But equality is idealistic, not realistic. And our history is replete with failures as well as successes. We’ve had both heroes and commoners. Among the heroes of the past, my most admired are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Robert E. Lee.
Social activists often denounce this famous threesome as White supremacists, even “White Christian supremacists.” The anti-White slur has become pervasive while the anti-Christian slander is of recent origin, possibly being tested for its effectiveness. Monuments honoring these luminaries are being removed or contextualized to minimize their historical status. The nation is now enduring what Southerners endured with the maligning of Southern traditions
Monument removals are sometimes classified as an act of social justice. Activists think they are capable of passing judgment on America and its past although their understanding of our history is limited. Their versions of history are sometimes related using ‘storytelling’, an archetypal narrative that doesn’t involve verified facts. ‘Storytelling’ is often simplistic but it bolsters social justice theories.
Politicians also tend to view history simplistically, often as a collection of heroes and villains. Consider President Biden’s voting rights speech to students at Atlanta University, a cluster of Black colleges.
Biden asked his audience: “Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis ?” The way history is currently taught, these students would certainly be familiar with slavery and racism but might not recognize Jefferson Davis. Also, they assuredly have heard the “storybook” version of Lincoln freeing the slaves. But his Emancipation Proclamation freed no slaves. Slaves weren’t legally freed until the ratification of the 13th Amendment, almost nine months after Lincoln’s death.
If Lincoln’s opinion of Blacks were judged by today’s standards, he would be considered a racist. Lincoln’s presidency has been significantly embroidered, giving him credit for freeing the slaves and saving the Union. As a result of these hyperbolic interpretations, Lincoln has been ranked as our greatest presidents, with George Washington following in second place. But a factual, unemotional assessment of history would make George Washington our best president.
Placating minorities has not only involved defiling famous monuments but also modifying our traditions. Names of White heroes have been removed from our national holidays. Other than Christmas, Martin Luther King Jr Day is now the only national holiday honoring a person. Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday and George Washington’s Birthday were combined into the benign President’s Day. And Columbus Day became Indigenous Peoples Day.
President Biden recently added Juneteenth as a national holiday. But what happened on that date that was special enough to justify the creation of a national holiday ? On June 19th 1865, a Union officer informed slaves in Galveston, Texas that they had been freed. Only in this politicized era could such an unpretentious event become a national holiday. Juneteenth is the first national holiday created since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was added.
As we can only have a limited number of national holidays, many prestigious heroes were honored with monuments and other forms of esteem. This group of luminaries includes Robert E. Lee. Although he led Southern forces in the War Between the States, Lee later attained national acclaim. General Lee is admired not only for who he was but for what he symbolizes; a loyal citizen and a devout Christian.
During Thomas Jefferson’s first term as president, a political enemy implied an affair between Jefferson and one of his female slaves. This affair was based on scuttlebutt circulating in Jefferson’s Virginia county while he was still a fairly young widower. The story was short-lived and soon fell into obscurity where it remained for over a century. It was recently revived and accepted as credible by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. But the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society reexamined the accumulated evidence and refuted the claim.
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Robert E. Lee should be our nation’s most respected figures. But social activists associate them with the institution of slavery and equate their monuments and memorials with White supremacy. So those of us who hold these men in esteem must strive to protect their reputations as well as their monuments and memorials.
What do Americans think about their country? Until the turbulent 1960s, most had a favorable opinion of America. But the upheaval of the ‘sixties decade’ permanently altered our society and how it was viewed. Electronic media essentially replaced print media, a new group of journalists replaced old-line reporters, national news outlets took precedence over local news outlets, and our society was portrayed as racist.
This concern with racism has not only expanded since the 1960s but extreme measures are being proposed to end it, especially by indignant members of the Black community. In a Lancet book review, Dr. Rhea Boyd, a pediatrician and activist for communities of color, excoriates the racism of White Americans maintaining that the only way to stop racism is ‘to eliminate Whiteness all together.’
Resentful Black organizations are demanding the elimination of Whiteness although their opinions vary on how it can be done. Some claim that eliminating Whiteness is meant figuratively rather than literally. Others insist that Whiteness can be eliminated if “the identity and culture of White people” is destroyed. Eliminating Whiteness is a goal of irate Black organizations because they lump all Whites together as White supremacists and anti-Black bigots.
Among the many justifications for eliminating Whiteness is the insinuation that Whites aren’t “sacrificing privileges “ or working hard enough to accomplish “true racial equality.” But what is the distinction between “racial equality” and “true racial equality.” Is this simply a linguistic devise to set the stage for additional racial remedies. We know that each time a racial concession is made, militant Blacks demand another concession.
Luckily, all Blacks aren’t militant. Most realize they are better off coexisting with Whites and assimilating into the existing culture. Also, Blacks are only 13% percent of the population whereas Whites are over 60%. Consequently, a minority take-over of society is unrealistic. Unfortunately, our agenda-driven news media doesn’t hold our society in esteem.
The average age of American adults is roughly 40 which means that most came of age after electronic media became the primary source of information. It was initially thought that this new medium would improve the quality of news reporting. A typical comment was that electronic news media “... has replaced print with better and fast flowing news and information.”
It is undeniable that electronic news media has “replaced print” and its reporting is certainly “fast flowing.” Also, a significant segment of the public prefers hearing brief, spoken versions of events rather than reading a news article. But today’s electronic news reports are not necessarily “better”, in fact, what is called “news” is primarily scolding of Whites for their racism and media hype that kowtows to elites and militant Blacks.
Some reporting goes beyond biased opinions and is actually “fake news.” In this time of impotent moral standards, fake news is widespread. Fake news is not just a ploy used by political candidates to allay derogatory coverage. The term has been around since at least the 1890s. News media reports can be deliberately false or unintentionally misleading.
News media’s coverage of the critical race theory movement is more positive than negative. And it doesn’t refute CRT’s claim that America is a structurally racist society with Whites oppressing Blacks. White racism is a popular topic with news media as well as google sites and online videos. These, often zealous, characterizations of White racism are encouraging the elimination of Whiteness.
We shouldn't let the month of January slip by without paying our respects to one of finest men our country has produced; Robert E. Lee. January 19, is the 215th anniversary of the birthday of Robert E. Lee; a very special day, not only for Southerners but for all Americans who admire true heroes.
Unlike media created heroes, Lee doesn't have a hint of scandal that has to be covered up. The facts of his life may be recounted without modification. Theodore Roosevelt characterized Lee this way: "the very greatest of all the great captains that the English-speaking peoples have brought forth." Lee is also venerated in Europe as evidenced by this tribute by Winston Churchill: "one of the noblest Americans who ever lived."
In 1998, a Midwestern college decided to publish a book about the persons they considered to be six authentic heroes of our nation. They selected George Washington, Daniel Boone, Louisa May Alcott, George Washington Carver, Robert E. Lee, and Andrew Carnegie. Excellent choices; a group of outstanding people and a selection made without kowtowing to current political trends.
Robert E. Lee's father was a Revolutionary War hero, a three-time governor of Virginia and a congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives. Two members of the Lee family risked their lives by signing the Declaration of Independence. Lee married Mary Custis, great-granddaughter of George Washington and she inherited Arlington House, Washington's antebellum estate in Virginia that eventually became home to Lee, Mary, and their seven children, before being confiscated by Lincoln. He turned it into a Union cemetary with an eye to making a return to its owners impossible.
After graduating from West Point, Lee became a member of the U.S. Army and began a long and remarkable military career. He distinguished himself in the Mexican War earning three honorary field promotions. His accomplishments were many including Assistant to the Chief of the Engineer Corps and Superintendent of West Point. In later years he was appointed president of a college in Lexington, Virginia that was later renamed Washington and Lee University in honor of his outstanding years of service.
Interestingly, when the Civil War started, Robert E. Lee was offered the command of the Union forces, but after his home state, Virginia, seceded, he resigned from the U.S. Army and joined with the Confederates. Many people wonder why Lee would turn down the command of the Union forces and support the Confederacy. But loyalty was one of Lee's bedrock traits and he couldn't wage war against Virginia and the South. Also, recent historians are presenting a more balanced view of the long festering and complex events leading to the Civil War. (An example being inequitable tariffs – the South paid 87% of the nation's total tariffs in 1860 alone.) The new research contained in these books puts a new light on Lee's decision to fight for the South.
I suspect that another reason Lee decided to support the South was President Lincoln's refusal to meet with Southern representatives to try to reach a compromise to avoid war. Although members of Lincoln's own cabinet as well as newspapers in America and Europe encouraged the President to attempt a negotiated settlement, he remained adamant. Lincoln rejected all requests for discussions that might have led to a peaceful resolution.
Robert E. Lee vigorously opposed slavery and as early as 1856 made this statement: "There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil." Lee also knew that the use of slaves was coming to an end. Cyrus McCormick's 1831 invention of the mule-drawn mechanical reaper sounded the death knell for the use of slave labor. Before the Civil War began, 250,000 slaves had already been freed.
Robert E. Lee did not own slaves, but many Union generals did. When his father-in-law died, Lee took over the management of the plantation his wife had inherited and immediately began freeing the slaves. By the time Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, every slave in Lee's charge had been freed. Notably, some Union generals didn't free their slaves until the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868.
During the Civil War, Union commanders pillaged the South, abusing civilians in unspeakable ways, destroying railroads and factories, and burning private homes, public buildings, schools and libraries. Union forces also slaughtered livestock and decimated crops, after they took what they wanted.
Periodic reports detailing their carnage were sent to General Halleck in Washington who shared them with President Lincoln. In a typical report issued on September 17, 1863, Union General Sherman added this comment; "We will remove every obstacle-if need be, take every life, every acre of land, every particle of property, everything that to us seems proper." Halleck showed this report to Lincoln, who enjoyed it so much that he demanded that it be published.
When Robert E. Lee invaded Pennsylvania, many Southerners hoped that he would give the Yankees a taste of their own medicine. But Lee was a man of integrity. Not only did he prohibit "wanton injury to private property," he also ordered his soldiers to pay for any supplies taken from civilians.
Most histories have treated General Lee kindly, even those written shortly after the Civil War. This respect accorded to Lee infuriates those who want to tarnish his reputation, and they have even managed to force textbook writers to reword their references to Lee and, in many cases, delete any mention of him.
Also, some cities have removed portraits and other Lee memorabilia as a result of pressure from politicos who haven't taken the time to learn the facts about this famous Southern gentleman. Portraits and plaques honoring Lee have been slashed and burned, and statues of the General have been spray-painted with obscenities.
Never the less, current biographies continue to enhance Robert E. Lee's well-earned reputation. One journalist, after reviewing many of these new histories made this comment. "The South may have succumbed to overwhelming military force, but it triumphed in at least one sense. It produced perhaps the greatest symbol to come out of America's most disastrous conflict, someone who combined combat and moral excellence and who, once defeated, worked to heal the wounds of war. It is a record that deserves to be retold constantly."
Years after the war, Lee still commanded respect in both the North and the South. On one occasion he was approached by a group of businessmen concerning a questionable commercial venture. After offering the General $50,000, they told him; "You will have to do nothing. All we want is the use of your name." Robert E. Lee's response was what we would have expected;
"Sirs, my name is the heritage of my parents. It is all I have, and it is not for sale."
If I had to pick one American to represent the best values of our nation, I would choose Robert E. Lee. He stands taller than anyone else. We must continue to honor him every January on the anniversary of his birth because;
"Men of such magnitude are rare in history. They come but once in a century."
This piece was previously published on LewRockwell.com.
Most White Americans are relieved and thankful that the year 2021 is ending. It was one of the worst years for White Americans. Whites were made the scapegoat for racism in America, the social villains of 2021. The White racism ploy was used to justify eliminating White heritage: monuments and memorials were demolished; traditions and customs denigrated, and moral values scrapped.
During 2021, we rarely heard “Proud to be an American.” but we often heard “America is a racist country.” We also heard a lot about diversity, the current panacea for society’s ills. The term ‘diversity’ has diverse meanings, ranging from preferential treatment of minorities to the devaluing of Whites.
America’s White European heritage remained largely intact as the immigration of other races altered our demographics. White and non-White groups coexisted and often commingled without altering our heritage. But, over time, anti-White agendas emerged, putting our heritage at risk.
Our heritage was seriously threatened in that era known as the ‘Sixties’, that restless period from roughly the mid-1960s to the early 1980s. During that chaotic era, the counterculture implemented various changes to our society without considering their long-range consequences.
Essentially, the Sixties were a symbolic cut-off point between a pragmatic way of life and idealistic social activism. This era was characterized by efforts to eliminate disparities between the races and minimize acts of racism. The electronic media that emerged around that time strongly encouraged the anti-racism fervor. But the repeated racism complaints began to sound scripted, giving rise to the sardonic phrase ‘race grievance industry.’
It was assumed that sub-groups, including Blacks, would assimilate into the existing White culture . And for most of our history that has happened. But during the last few decades, a resentful contingent of Blacks has emerged, clinging to Black culture and refusing to assimilate. Some members of this aggrieved assemblage occupy pivotal media positions from which they castigate White America.
One of the most virulent of these embittered media journalists is Joy Reid, who hosts a cable program on MSNBC. Reid was one of the first Black woman anchors of a cable news show. The format of her show is political conversations with news makers. These conversations are supposed to cover a variety of issues but Reid’s favorite topic is White racism . Attacks on Whiteness have so characterized Joy Reid that she has been called the ‘race lady’ and even a ‘racist sociopath.’
Joy Reid is the epitome of race-baiting Black journalists who hyperbolize the adverse effects of White racism. But she has also expressed abusive opinions on other issues, which offended minoritized groups. After previously denying these opinions, Reid reluctantly apologized for them. Not surprisingly, it is rumored that MSNBC is considering canceling the Joy Reid show.
White racism dominated both news media and social activism during 2021. Also, critical race theory and similar ideologies were essentially engaged in a culture war against Whites. They depicted racism solely as a White phenomenon. Some of their assertions were: White racism permeates our entire society; White Americans are socialized to be racists, Whites are unconsciously biased without knowing it, White supremacy is indigenous to our way of life, and Whites oppress Blacks and other minorities.
During 2021, eliminating White supremacy and White privilege evolved into abolishing Whiteness . The elimination of Whiteness has become the cause du jour of many non-White groups. And their efforts are intensifying. Even White elites are part of the anti-White crusade. Many naively believe that without Whites, a more tolerant and bias-free society can be created.
But eliminating the oldest and largest race, the White race, will seriously impair our society and our heritage. So we should hope a significant backlash against the purging of Whiteness will develop in 2022.
Some think the 1960s improved our society but I believe the events of that era did more harm than good. Street protesters along with news media, academia, and entertainment, hyped and magnified the effects of racism and social injustice. They hoped to make the public think these issues were America’s most serious problems. And, for a while, they succeeded.
During Barack Obama’s presidency it was claimed that we lived in a post-racial society. But that post-racial opinion was quickly squashed by race hustlers who feared losing their livelihood. Racism complaints, mostly uncorroborated, had been too successful to abandon. However, new justifications had to be found. So equality of opportunities was updated to equality of outcomes.
Various strategies have been used over the years to end racism and social injustice. But, despite the accomplishments achieved, activists continued to claim that more societal changes were needed. Finally it was realized that correcting individual cases of racism was too slow. Wokeism’s claim that Whiteness prevented social justice was accepted. The elimination of Whiteness became the new goal.
Wokeism has become a powerful self-righteous phenomenon similar to a Puritanical religious revival. Its proselytizing has propagandized a significant segment of the population. The following example illustrates how thoroughly Wokeism has indoctrinated this generation.
The college town of Basingstoke, England held an enthusiastic celebration of Black Lives Matter. An outpouring of residents took part in honoring Black Lives Matter and BLM was eulogized in the local newspaper. Some time later, signs were posted in Basingstoke bearing the inscription: “It’s okay to be white.” Woke residents were offended by these signs and angrily tore them down. The local newspaper characterized them as “hate crimes” and demanded a police investigation into the postings of the signs.
The “It’s okay to be white” signs were originally part of a social experiment. They were posted on university campuses to test the reactions of professors and their students. As expected, gullible students thought the signs were posted by White supremacists. This experiment indicates how hyper-vigilant campuses around the country have become over the issue of White racism.
In prior generations, the innocuous phrase “It’s okay to be white” would not have been interpreted negatively and certainly not considered a hate crime. But since the 1960s, news media has created a lopsided narrative world that magnifies racial and social injustice. And media blames White supremacy for social injustices.
Wokeism politicizes language and currently the word Black is valued while the word White is disdained. Consequently, the statement ‘Black lives matter’ is esteemed whereas ‘all lives matter’ is denigrated because it would include Whites.
This anti-White trend is growing and there doesn’t seem to be any significant resistance to it.
One of the reasons why anti-Whiteness is thriving is because many White elites are using their influence to sustain it. An example is the support of White Rutgers professors for a White-hating Black professor.
Dr. Brittney Cooper is a Rutgers University associate professor for “Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Africana Studies. Responding to White parents objections to Critical Race Theory, Cooper stated: “Critical Race Theory is just the proper teaching of American history.” That was a fairly mild response but most of Cooper’s anti-White reprimands are intemperate and often include foul language. A couple of examples: “White people are committed to being villains in the aggregate,” “Whiteness is largely an inconvenient interruption," and ‘We got to take these mf***ers out”
Although there have been demands for Cooper’s resignation, many White Rutgers professors have defended her. Their defense included this sentence: “We wish to express our unequivocal solidarity with Dr. Cooper, to affirm our support of her academic freedom, and to decry the harassment and intimidation she now faces.”
The Associated Press and most major newspapers capitalize Black while printing White in lower case. The New York Times tried to justify printing White in lower case with this strange explanation “White doesn’t represent a shared culture and history in the way Black does.”
This is a contemporary media judgment rather than an historical one. Media tends to portray Blacks and Whites as concepts rather than as actual persons. The truth is the cultures that White European colonizers shared were more similar than the various tribal cultures of African Blacks.
Gail Jarvis is a Georgia-based free-lance writer. His writing is influenced by witnessing how versions of news and history were distorted for fashionable political reasons. Mr. Jarvis is a member of the Society of Independent Southern Historians and his articles have appeared on various websites, magazines, and publications for several organizations. He lives in Coastal Georgia with his wife.