Black Activists Seek to Eradicate Southern Culture

By Roberts, Paul Craig | Insight on the News, June 12, 2000 | Go to article overview

Black Activists Seek to Eradicate Southern Culture


Roberts, Paul Craig, Insight on the News


In our multicultural, diverse society everything is tolerated except the South. The South is entitled to no self-esteem, no history and no voice. There are no Southern universities. There are no Southern newspapers. There are no Southern voices.

To be sure, there are universities and newspapers in the South, but they are not Southern. They are forums for other voices. Professors educated at Northern, Midwestern, West Coast and Ivy League schools staff the universities. Media chains based outside the region own the newspapers.

There are still a few small-town papers with a Southern point of view, but their voice doesn't carry beyond the town limits. It is possible here and there to find a course on Southern literature and the culture of the Old South. The course might even be taught from a Southern point of view, but it is not part of a dynamic ongoing tradition.

Much of the South is thriving economically, but the South has been reduced to a geographical region. The South's self-identity and culture have been eradicated. Now even its few remaining symbols are slated for demolition. Southerners are being forced to accept the redefinition of the Confederate flag as a "racist symbol." The flag can no longer fly over South Carolina's Capitol. It won't be long before it will be a hate crime to display the flag.

In Virginia, the state legislature is too terrified to permit the Sons of Confederate Veterans to put their logo, which includes the flag, on specialty license plates.

Southerners have tried to accommodate black political activists by celebrating black heroes along with Southern ones. But on Lee-Jackson-King Day, the mural of Robert E. Lee was firebombed. To aid black self-esteem, Richmond's city council renamed two city bridges from Confederate generals to black leaders.

Now Sa'ad El-Amin, a Richmond city councilman, wants to strip the city of Monument Avenue, a street through the historic district that has statues of Confederate heroes. The NAACP's Virginia executive director, Salim Khalfani, wants to strip Virginia of Confederate History Month. He refuses to be appeased with Black History Month. He claims the South's past "glorifies slavery" and has to go.

Before history was reduced to "White Racism," an earlier generation of educated Americans would have found amusement in black leaders -- who sport names that could have belonged to Arab slave traders --describing Southern history as part of the "racist infrastructure" and demanding its end. …

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