Damn Yankees Think They Know Everything, Don't They?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at SPAMpanix.com
Wed Mar 14 10:52:01 MST 2001


Tony Abdo wrote:
>What seems to draw the ire, is that I mentioned that the South had a
>long history (80+ yrs.) of being treated as a defeated enemy.     From
>there, it was just too easy for some, to go flying off to saying that I
>was pro Southern racist.     The same leap of logic would be to declare
>anyone that said that Germany was treated like a defeated nation post
>World War One, as being an advocate of Nazi racial theories.     Pretty
>silly stuff.

This is preposterous. We are dealing with a slaveholders revolt, plain and
simple. To even talk about the South as a "defeated enemy" is to make
concessions to all of the ugly racist confederacy revival that is rearing
its ugly head nowadays. When the WWI allies imposed a punitive treaty on
Germany, it created economic ruin. This was the whole purpose in fact. But
the South was not treated as a defeated enemy. The period that the
southerners look back on as its darkest hour is the greatest time, from the
viewpoint of socialists and civil rights activists: reconstruction.
Reconstruction did not punish the south. It made black people equal before
the law and allowed them to win electoral office.

What do you think the movie "The Birth of a Nation" is about? It is a white
racist diatribe about reconstruction with Black men, portrayed by white men
in blackface, generally depicted as beasts: lawless, abusive and lusting
after white women. Director D.W. Griffith tries to balance this
characterization by blaming this behavior on white "scalawag"
carpetbaggers, and by having a few "good" black characters. These "good"
blacks are former slaves still loyal to their former white masters. The Ku
Klux Klan, a murderous, racist vigilante organization, are presented as
heroes for restoring "order" and white minority rule. Scenes suggesting
that blacks should be shipped to Liberia were deleted from the film after
protests.

When you spat out at "carpetbaggers", you were echoing this tradition
whether in your heart you are a racist or not. And I don't think you are.
In reality, carpetbaggers were the main allies of blacks trying to gain
equality during reconstruction. The whites who cooperated with the blacks
and the carpetbaggers were called "scalawags". Needless to say, we favored
carpetbaggers and scalawags during reconstruction.

Louis Proyect
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