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The Racist South
The South is no more “racist” than any other part of the country. This is a tiresome, yet persistent, lie. It may be that we get along better here precisely because of our shared history. Provided histrionics may be left to one side.
The largest Klan meeting in history didn’t occur in Little Rock or Jackson, but in Kokomo, Indiana in 1923. No one mentions this, or the legacy of Nazism in Northern states.
I saw a nasty tweet from a Presbyterian theologian recently that seemed intent on (anachronistically) attacking the South as defenders of Jim Crow—as if that was still the case. It obviously isn’t.
The fact is that with the race-baiting crowd there is no moving forward. They want to keep us in a perpetual time loop and behave as though it is still 1863 and they have warrant to bitch and moan and riot and burn.
But most of us here have been taught for years that men should be judged on the basis of their character rather than by the color of their skin. And I think we Southerners have learned this lesson pretty well.
When I travel to other places it isn’t uncommon for someone say something like, “What is the South *really* like?” And the unstated implications are almost deafening, “what with all of those sweaty poors and fat biscuits and racisms?”
But the fact remains that racial tension isn’t anymore pronounced down here than it is anywhere else in the country. And that is mostly because we pay attention to our past down here. Warts and all.
We don’t need lectures from Detroit or Chicago or New York about living amicably and without violence. We are doing ok.
I have never owned a slave or taken part in a lynching. I haven’t even worn a bedsheet since I went to a Halloween party as Casper the Friendly Ghost in the 2nd grade. So it would be nice if folks wouldn’t treat my people like we are holdouts from Appomattox.