I want to start this post by remembering Denise Perkins. Her birthday is today and her friends and family miss her. <3
But the rest of it, some of y’all might not like (repeat that in your best Southern drawl – for you Northerners, something close to Forrest Gump). I just can’t hold it in anymore and so I’m going to give y’all a history lesson while I admonish some of you for your poor behavior. We live in 2017 folks, not 1861, and it’s time that we as Southerners grow up and be the genteel people we’ve always said we were.
So I grew up on racism. I was taught it. Sorry if that embarrasses anyone related to me but you know it’s true. You don’t associate with black people. Why? No good reason given. Not Jews either, or Catholics, or Italians. Who the hell knows why. I know some of you reading this will point out that I have cousins who have Catholic and Italian heritage. I know that, but I also learned the words “wop” and “dego” from my mother, who apparently learned them from hers. I also learned the “N” word from her, and to my dismay have heard fairly close family members use it in the past few years. I am sad for them when I hear it used, and confused. Confused as to why they would denigrate someone that way, and confused as to what to do about it. It’s hard to cut off ties with family, so what do you do?
My mother “grew” later in her life but still did not completely mature to a point where she valued people based on who they were. I can remember using those words at some point, when I was younger, and when I was in the company of adults who I was trying to impress. That’s sad isn’t it? But it’s how we learn. Lucky for me, I was a very mature, intelligent, and strong-willed child who made my own decisions about life and so I abandoned that early-on. I did not, however, abandon the love of the mystique of the South and all that goes with that until I was an adult. Southern pride is drilled in at an early age. I would assume that even for Southern people of color, they might rip someone a new one who ragged on some of our traditions. We may be somewhat divided down here, but we’re not so much culturally divided.
Before I go on, I’ll also tell you that I learned pride in general from my mother. You don’t admit you are wrong. You don’t share your dirty laundry. You don’t own up – you DEFEND. And you do it fiercely and loudly. You may even do it physically, but even if you aren’t planning on it, you let someone know you’ll whip (or whoop!) their ass if they don’t stop whatever it is that they are doing. And you blame them. Isn’t the “War of Northern Aggression” to blame for all of our troubles? **said tongue in cheek**
I should also mention for anyone who hasn’t read the other thousand times I have mentioned it that I was a history major. No, American history wasn’t my favorite but every one in the south has civil war history multiple times. I’m no exception. So listen to me when I say that if you are not well-versed on what you are blabbing about history and what you think people are trying to do today, you need to STFU and go read some books. Read a variety because you know that history is written by the victor, and you need to get a good sample. Then you can chime in with your informed opinion. You might also want to read about the Jim Crow era of the South and the socioeconomic repercussions of that on top of the effects of slavery. Then I’ll entertain what you have to say.
Yeah, legally the civil war was started over states rights. But do you understand what the rights were? The right to own slaves. Yes, I know that slaves have been all ethnic groups over most of history. But seriously folks – you cannot talk about the civil war without acknowledging the truth, and it’s ugly. We fought it for the right to own slaves. I’m sure a small percentage had other reasons, but you need to just say this out loud, to you, and then learn to get over that ugly truth. And shit, do any of you really agree with owning slaves? I don’t care if it’s now or 1000 years ago, if you advocate for keeping anyone as a slave you have failed as a human. Unfriend me now, and please never come back to my page, because I do not want you in my energy field.
Now let’s talk about Robert E. Lee. By the way, my great grandfather was named for him – Robert E. Lee Dempsey. His father supposedly knew Lee and so named his son for him. That was of great pride back then I’m sure, and I really could care less about it. I’m not ashamed or prideful. Robert E. Lee was fairly honorable for his time-period, but he did own slaves, and there are accounts of him “making them do their duty” and of him punishing them. And, um, he was a traitor. He may have been pardoned, but for all of you who are yelling and screaming about today’s politics blah blah, when Lee decided to fight for Virginia, he became a traitor to the United States of America. He committed treason. I’m restating that in case anyone missed it. If at this point you are saying “But…” stop right there. There are no buts. He was a slave owner and he committed treason.
I am well-aware of what the constitution says about fighting an unjust government. But how do you justify them being unjust in trying to end slavery? You don’t and you can’t. So if you are still saying “But…” maybe you need to rethink what sort of person you are.
So bottom line here folks…it’s absolutely not appropriate to have statues of Lee or Jefferson Davis or anyone else from the Confederacy in government buildings anywhere in this country, because they were treasonous and lost the war AGAINST THE UNITED STATES. It was an internal war yes, but it was against the Union. And guess what? That does not mean that anyone is trying to cover up history. It happened. They were a part of it. And they belong in history books, and in museums, and perhaps even at Civil War battlefield sites. But they do not belong in government buildings, parks, etc. Because they were traitors and fought against the Union. Did you get that? Not because they were slave owners. But I’ll tell you, they lost my respect just for being slave owners.
If you’re still saying but…well I have no words for you.
And my dear readers, if any of you have said “but…” or anything else to explain away the recent white supremacist activity, then go have a deep look at yourself in the mirror. We fought an entire war over that, too and it’s NOT ok. None of that rhetoric is ok, nor is the behavior. If you are still saying “but…” please quietly unfriend me and unsubscribe here. I’d rather not know you are such an asshole.
Please learn some history folks, and dig deeper than the headlines on the news. I read – I read a lot. And I know things. (Yeah, I drink and I know things. Pretty much my super power.) And knowledge is power just like the School House Rock said.
Peace and love to you. I don’t know what to do here…doing nothing doesn’t seem right but neither does spreading hate. So for now, I’ll spread knowledge. Love and blessings and #missingerin (who is probably very glad she is not here at this particular space and time)