(WaPo) Sins of the Fathers: The Confederacy was built on slavery. How can so many Southern whites still believe otherwise?

BossAttack

Member
Oct 27, 2017
15,878
I saw this fascinating piece in today's Washington Post and thought it would be good to share. In this piece, a reporter for the Post spends 10-months with a devout Confederate supporter named Frank Earnest trying to understand his support for the Confederacy. Of course, Frank claims "he's not a racist" but that his ancestors fought a noble war against a tyrannical North that had nothing to do with slavery. Can Frank's mind be changed with some further education a a trip the the African-American Museum?

No.

In July, a 62-year-old white man named Frank Earnest, one of the country’s most ardent defenders of Confederate monuments, traveled 200 miles from his Virginia home to Washington, D.C., and got in line at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. You could say he stood out among the throng of visitors, most of them black. At 6-foot-3 and 300 pounds, Frank sported a thatch of chin whiskers straight from a daguerreotype — a fulsome goatee reminiscent of Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett, a rebel hero of his. In the lobby, as he emptied his pockets at a metal detector, I waited for the attendant, a cordial woman, to notice his key fob, bearing the Confederate flag and the legend “Don’t Mess With Dixie.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/magazine/wp/2018/11/28/feature/the-confederacy-was-built-on-slavery-how-can-so-many-southern-whites-still-believe-otherwise/?utm_term=.ab85ed9b03cc



Choice Quotes:

Not A Racist
Still, in the end, he acknowledged, we are all our parents’ children. “Sometimes in the zeal to give equal rights, the pendulum swings too far,” he said. “That’s where my father was at. This is a horrible example, but it’s like slavery. … I understand if you were a slave, you wanted freedom now. But there were people questioning, ‘How do you just turn them loose?’ You had to prepare them. And I think that really goes to desegregation. My father thought it needed to be incremental, done in a reasonable manner. ‘Let’s not rush into it.’ 
The War Was Not About Slavery...
According to the gospel of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, President Abraham Lincoln ordered an invasion of the breakaway states not as a crusade for natural rights but to keep the union intact and perpetuate the federal government’s economic bullying of the South. As for human bondage, the practice had been dying organically worldwide, and, in due course, it would have ended in Dixie without bloodshed — incrementally, in a reasonable manner, the way Lionel Earnest thought desegregation should have occurred.
1950's Education Was Quite Impartial and Accurate.
The dog-eared volume, feathered with sticky notes, is a resource for Frank in preparing the lectures he occasionally delivers at heritage assemblies. After recounting the Old South’s economic grievances, which still feel fresh to Confederate Frank, the authors described “How the Negroes Lived Under Slavery” in Virginia. Frank and his classmates were taught that, as a rule, the basic personal needs of slaves were humanely seen to by their overseers. Thus, “a strong feeling of affection existed between masters and slaves,” and the slaves “went about in a cheerful manner.”

Chapter 30: In 1831, a bloody slave revolt in Virginia, led by Nat Turner, who was given to “strange visions,” coincided with the growth of abolitionism in the North and its “abusive” propaganda. Out of necessity, “It became unlawful to teach Negroes to read or write because of the fear that they would get dangerous ideas from the books and newspapers of the Abolitionists.” Other privileges also had to be curtailed, for the good of all concerned.

I looked for the chapter about summary hangings of recalcitrant runaways, about floggings and other brutal punishments inflicted after underproductive days in the fields. As Frank might say, “Why am I not surprised they left that out?” Slave labor, an economic engine of agrarian Dixie, wasn’t exactly free labor; a planter had to buy, feed, clothe and house his subjugated workforce. And he guarded his profit margin with a whip when necessary. I searched the textbook in vain for this bit of gruesome history.
Still Not a Racist
Confederate apologists think that the foisting of black suffrage on the defeated South, purportedly resulting in wholesale waste and thievery, was an act of Yankee vengeance. Although Frank assured me, again, that he is not a racist, he said I needed to realize: Freed slaves were woefully unprepared for civic responsibility. He said political integration should have been accomplished incrementally, in a reasonable manner. As Lionel Earnest would say 100 years after the war, “Let’s not rush into it.”
 

Oheao

The Fallen
Oct 28, 2017
6,003
London, Ontario, Canada
Not sure why it says "Southern" whites, from what I see it is America in general. Hell, even Morgan Freeman in his video on Russia tried to play up the United States as having some sort of great democratic history.
 

Wilsongt

Member
Oct 25, 2017
10,769
years and years and years and years of poor education and misinformation campaigns.
 

Spork4000

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
1,352
"100 years after the war"?!?! You mean in the fucking 60s? That was the best time to end slavery in your opinion?!?!
 

crimsonred

Member
Oct 27, 2017
39
Heck even members of my white northern family still say the confederate flag just means “to rebel” and should held up as a symbol of liberty. That and that general lee was an american hero cause he fought for state rights.

I am not surprised at all that southern white people largely defend the confederacy. America is just terrible at teaching history.
 

tyraniboah

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
2,955
Textbooks across the country tend to exclude the fact that the Confederacy existed solely for the purpose of perpetuating slavery. Nearly every state that seceded wrote that slavery was the core issue and that the north had no right to their property. This information isn’t hard to find. The white folks ignoring this fact are choosing not to come to terms with their own racism, because the cost of doing so means eschewing their precious confederate fantasy.


If there is one single tell of which folks are racist or have those tendencies, it’s admiration for the confederacy.
 

adj_noun

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
7,525
'Cause Great Grandpappy took up arms to defend his way of life from the northern aggressors sounds a lot better.
 

fuchsdh

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,895
Read this earlier today. Reminds me I need to get to the African American museum next time I'm down in DC, heard good things.

I always love the economic arguments about the causes of the civil war because they are both true (there were economic issues other than slavery involved) and hilariously ignore the fact that slaves were property, and hence an economic issue, leaving aside the broader issues of racial politics that remain painfully germane today with slavery as the most important component of it.

Ultimately I think the heart of it is this:
There’s a cavalry saddle in the parlor that “belonged to this man,” Frank said, gesturing to a sepia photo. “Captain Joseph Shelton, my great-grandfather’s sister’s husband.” Other dyspeptic-looking rebels are framed throughout the house, their pictures taken before the smile was invented. “This is my great-grandfather’s older brother. … This is my great-great-grandfather. … This is my great-great-grandfather’s double first cousin, Eusebius Fowlkes, killed at the Battle of Seven Pines.”
Some people can't deal with the fact that they're on the losing side of a conflict, or that their ancestors ultimately died defending something we find (or should find) abhorrent now. So they're raised with an alternate version of history that they'll end up vociferously defending because you've now not only wedded it to their ancestors, but to their own upbringing. So they can admit their parents were "by today's standards" racist yet at other points complain about them adding plaques to statues to point out that they were racist.
 

stupei

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,683
Lincoln was originally interested in preserving the union and not in ending slavery.

But the Confederate states all state in their original founding documents that they broke away entirely because of slavery and their desire to oppose the state rights of the northern states who would not "return" their run away "property." They were anti state rights, and founded on slavery. The exact opposite of everything they pretend now.

But, sure. They're right about Lincoln not explicitly being invested in ending slavery in the beginning. But he came around.

The southern states... I'm still not sure they're there.
 

Commedieu

Member
Nov 11, 2017
5,692
black people aren't human beings. They are property, less than. Fucks even lost a war over it. That sentiment has not changed in the way that LEO deals with african americans either. Its all being passed down from generation to generation too..And good point about Stupei, Lincoln.

That mindset was vastly accepted and its just not the Confederacy. They doubled down on it, but a lot of people are not our allies.
 

Dekim

Member
Oct 28, 2017
860
The lack of political will to harshly punish the states that joined the Confederacy was a disastrous decision that is still felt to this day.
 

FreezeSSC

Member
Oct 27, 2017
628
It wasn't about slavery but let's copy paste the u.s. Constitution and make owning slaves a constitutional right.
 

Slayven

You probably post about me on another board.
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
34,019
Being properly labeled as racist is more damning then having racist thoughts and opinion
 

Contramann

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,148
Not sure why it says "Southern" whites, from what I see it is America in general. Hell, even Morgan Freeman in his video on Russia tried to play up the United States as having some sort of great democratic history.
I visit Pennslyvania and West Virginia alot and it's always fucking insane to me how in those two states (OF ALL PLACES) I see Confederate Flags. Like goddamn you guys realize which side your state was one right?
 

BassForever

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,169
CT
Lincoln was originally interested in preserving the union and not in ending slavery.

But the Confederate states all state in their original founding documents that they broke away entirely because of slavery and their desire to oppose the state rights of the northern states who would not "return" their run away "property." They were anti state rights, and founded on slavery. The exact opposite of everything they pretend now.

But, sure. They're right about Lincoln not explicitly being invested in ending slavery in the beginning. But he came around.

The southern states... I'm still not sure they're there.
This, Lincoln writing the emancipation proclamation made it a war about the right to own slaves. Even if the South had made some effort to frame it as a states rights war, it essentially lose all meaning after the E.P. It was part of the reason France stayed neutral during the war despite some early possibility of allying with the confederacy. France wasn’t going to go without England, and England wanted no part in a war that could be even remotely be considered about the right to own slaves which they had abolished 30 years prior.
 

Contramann

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,148
I'm from Michigan and let me tell you, I see the flag when I go back to visit there too.
It's worst with West Virginia because that state's exists because they didn't want to side with the Confederacy and left Virginia. These people wanna talk about preservving heritage and history then why spit on their own state's history to celebrate a Nation founded on de-humanizing people? It's fucking disgusting.

This, Lincoln writing the emancipation proclamation made it a war about the right to own slaves. Even if the South had made some effort to frame it as a states rights war, it essentially lose all meaning after the E.P. It was part of the reason France stayed neutral during the war despite some early possibility of allying with the confederacy. France wasn’t going to go without England, and England wanted no part in a war that could be even remotely be considered about the right to own slaves which they had abolished 30 years prior.
Well France had it's own problems with Louis Napoleon and fucking with Mexico when the US was busy.
 

Teddy

Member
Oct 26, 2017
927
Yeah this guy totally not a racist >.>

Read this earlier today. Reminds me I need to get to the African American museum next time I'm down in DC, heard good things.

I always love the economic arguments about the causes of the civil war because they are both true (there were economic issues other than slavery involved) and hilariously ignore the fact that slaves were property, and hence an economic issue, leaving aside the broader issues of racial politics that remain painfully germane today with slavery as the most important component of it.
The economy argument is funny as the economic arguments only exist because the south had slavery. To separate the two is wrong.

Lincoln was originally interested in preserving the union and not in ending slavery.

But the Confederate states all state in their original founding documents that they broke away entirely because of slavery and their desire to oppose the state rights of the northern states who would not "return" their run away "property." They were anti state rights, and founded on slavery. The exact opposite of everything they pretend now.

But, sure. They're right about Lincoln not explicitly being invested in ending slavery in the beginning. But he came around.

The southern states... I'm still not sure they're there.
Well Lincoln didn’t want to say he was abolishing slavery straight away as there were a couple slave holding northern states that may have flipped Confederate if Lincoln had have made the emancipation proclamation the day the war started.

FYI if I got any of that wrong please clarify it as I’m from the UK so my American Civil War knowledge is far from perfect.
 

TheMango55

Member
Nov 1, 2017
3,218
I mean you notice that the Emancipation Proclamation only stated that slaves shall be freed in the rebellious states, and not in, for example, Maryland, Delaware, and Kentucky.

99.9% of what that guy says is racist dribble, but he's right about the motivation to go to war from the Union side. The same people who were supposedly standing up for freedom and human rights were committing genocide against the natives 5 years later.

From the confederate side on the other hand, yeah it was totally about slavery.
 

Bramblebutt

Member
Jan 11, 2018
1,318
I constantly get into arguments with my mother about this. Can you guess what her favorite movie of all time is?
 

samoyed

Member
Oct 26, 2017
8,136
A century of whitewashing, and people wonder why "leftists" get upset at presidential legacies being whitewashed.
 

treble

Member
Oct 25, 2017
506
An interesting documentary relating to this topic is “The Living Dead” by Adam Curtis for the BBC in the late 90s - if you can find it. The doc looks at this idea/question through the lens of 70s post war Germany and 70s/80s UK. Very interesting look at the idea of how malleable cultural memory can be.
 

Almighty

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,166
I will have to read the article when I get home from school tomorrow, but I just want to rant that it is such ignorant bulllshit about the war not being about slavery. Everyone who argues that need to invent a fucking time machine then and tell the 1860ish South that, because those mother fuckers didn't hide it was driven by slavery. As my college history professor used to argue, slavery might not be the only cause of the war, but the war wouldn't have happened if there wasn't slavery.
 
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SolVanderlyn

Member
Oct 28, 2017
6,977
What is a "confederacy" anyway? I tried looking up other examples and the U.S. one was the only one.

I guess it's just literally a nation founded on slavery?

Edit: Ah, here we go

A confederacy is a political union. The most famous American confederacy consisted of the southern states who fought the northern states in the American Civil War. When you confederate — that is, join together for a common purpose — what you get is a confederacy.
I guess they poisoned the term. Interesting that it doesn't really show up anywhere else though.
 

Watchtower

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,886
States rights, Union controlling peoples' freedoms, blacks had honest work, South will rise again, blah blah blah. Let me guess, MLK solved racism too.

Same old song and dance, every fucking time.
 

adamsappel

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,920
It's worst with West Virginia because that state's exists because they didn't want to side with the Confederacy and left Virginia. These people wanna talk about preservving heritage and history then why spit on their own state's history to celebrate a Nation founded on de-humanizing people? It's fucking disgusting.
I grew up in West Virginia. When I was a kid, I never saw a Confederate flag on display. The first time I saw one was when a guy in our freshman dorm hung it in his room, but we mocked him for it and nicknamed him "Country Fuck." Now I see them in my Facebook feed and have to read "Heritage not hate" screeds. Shameful.

And don't cut West Virginia too much slack for seceding. The original state constitution said that NO black people, slave or free, were to reside within her borders. That had to be changed before they would be admitted to the Union.
 

bremon

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,145
I just don’t understand why it’s so fucking hard to admit your ancestors made mistakes.
 

Slayven

You probably post about me on another board.
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
34,019
There are confederate monuments in Canada
 

Bramblebutt

Member
Jan 11, 2018
1,318
I mean you notice that the Emancipation Proclamation only stated that slaves shall be freed in the rebellious states, and not in, for example, Maryland, Delaware, and Kentucky.

99.9% of what that guy says is racist dribble, but he's right about the motivation to go to war from the Union side. The same people who were supposedly standing up for freedom and human rights were committing genocide against the natives 5 years later.

From the confederate side on the other hand, yeah it was totally about slavery.
That's an unfair characterization of the events. The Emancipation Proclamation was only legally justified under the President's war powers, meaning it could only be applied to the rebel states. It would take a constitutional amendment for the slaves to be freed legally in loyal states. Such an amendment was passed in Congress the year following the Emancipation Proclamation, and eventually ratified within the year of the Confederacy's surrender.

Now the motivation for abolishing slavery has a lot more to do with national self determination vis a vis economic independence from Europe than the morality of freeing the slaves, but abolishing slavery was always the long-term objective. The Confederate states correctly anticipated this as Lincoln campaigned for strict limits on the spread of slavery to the American frontier.
 

wisdom0wl

Avenger
Oct 26, 2017
3,613
Still crazy to me that people love to represent a losing rebellious faction that went against their own country.

How are you fine with parading an L so hard, it’s absolutely embarassing. Even more so for the “good ole boys” who have no historical ties to the south.
 
OP
OP
BossAttack

BossAttack

Member
Oct 27, 2017
15,878
Still crazy to me that people love to represent a losing rebellious faction that went against their own country.

How are you fine with parading an L so hard, it’s absolutely embarassing. Even more so for the “good ole boys” who have no historical ties to the south.
The idea that pure white people can lose is a hard pill to swallow, especially when that loss meant colored people "winning."
 

TheMango55

Member
Nov 1, 2017
3,218
What is most ridiculous to me about the "Heritage not hate" argument is that your ancestors lived under that flag (and not even really that flag, but we won't even get into that) for FOUR YEARS but lived under the US flag for 230 years. How is it your heritage? I mean you don't fly a Scottish flag, or an English flag, or a German flag, etc, but those are at least as big of a part of your heritage.
 

L Thammy

Spacenoid
Member
Oct 25, 2017
14,788
What is a "confederacy" anyway? I tried looking up other examples and the U.S. one was the only one.

I guess it's just literally a nation founded on slavery?

Edit: Ah, here we go



I guess they poisoned the term. Interesting that it doesn't really show up anywhere else though.
I think it's just a less common version of "confederation".
 
Nov 3, 2017
1,957
I’m not going to feel sorry for that guy and his lot, but Christ, being indoctrinated with this bullshit since childhood and then defining your life with this fantasy. Talk about a life wasted
 

Complicated

Member
Oct 29, 2017
2,111
I saw an old civilian Crown Vic beater with a Sons of Confederate Veterans license plate on it a couple hours ago when I went to get dinner. Fucking baffling to me that someone would want to celebrate that, but then they also had a Don't Tread on Me and a Come and Take it bumper sticker as well.
 

Alucrid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,712
Still crazy to me that people love to represent a losing rebellious faction that went against their own country.

How are you fine with parading an L so hard, it’s absolutely embarassing. Even more so for the “good ole boys” who have no historical ties to the south.
being losers is the one thing that the confederates were successful in passing down to their progeny
 

Francesco

Member
Nov 22, 2017
2,328
The US really needs a better basic history education system. For this, and many other reasons.