"Pearl Man: Whites need Confederate emblem to balance negative 'black culture' " by Jackblog | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Jackblog

Pearl Man: Whites need Confederate emblem to balance negative 'black culture'

I received this stunning letter a couple days ago from a (white, I think) man in Pearl, presumably in response to my recent column about the abominable Mississippi state flag. I post it now without comment but will be back along with some thoughts later. Here it is, verbatim:

Please permit me to submit the following letter to Jackson Free Press:

Some of us have heard the question "What happens when an unstoppable force hits an immovable object?" The puzzle might seem a bit superficial until one notices we have a similar problem concerning our state flag.

I think the JFP has well demonstrated that the Confederate emblem on the Mississippi flag continues to cause hurtful memories to blacks who have endured the horrors of segregation and the Civil Rights era.

So why would so many Mississippians continue to resist changing such a hated symbol of our state's dark past? Ignorance? Bigotry? Could there still be some unspoken reason why many white southerners insist on keeping our flag in its current form?

Hey. We want progress. So let's just go ahead and bring it out in the open.

Just as the current Confederate emblem causes hurtful memories to our state's blacks, the absence of the symbol would cause hurtful memories to many white southerners. And I do not mean just segregationists.

To many whites, the erasure of the Confederate emblem would be an unreciprocated nod to the kind of blacks who attempted, and in some cases, DID seize control of Jackson's schools by force, who pulled knives on white students and threatened them with violence, who stole my brother's school books and urged him to steal from my parents to get money to get his books back.

The erasure would be seen as a nod to "gangsta rap" stars who record songs saturated with sexualized slang and glorify abusing women. It would be seen as a nod to people who have petitioned the NBA to declassify the use of the "MF" word as a technical foul because it is part of "black culture."

To be blunt, there are some facets of "black culture" many of us do not want in Mississippi culture. THAT is what some Mississippi southerners are afraid of.

Though voters decided by referendum to keep our current flag, one can argue that we must have a system in place to protect people from a tyranny of the majority. But there is a bit of a corollary to that here.

If Mississippi blacks are a minority, there is a tiny minority to THAT minority. There are some blacks who want to keep our current flag. Some support groups like the Sons of Confederate Veterans because they are proud to be the descendants of black soldiers who fought for the CSA. Should not their rights be considered too?

But my position is not based entirely on fairness. Perhaps we should lose the current flag.

But that is not going to happen until we have answered the question from that old white Mississippi Southerner, no matter how "redneck" he may be, "If you take away our flag, what do we get in return?"

— Glen Stripling Pearl

Comments

tomhead1978 3 years, 9 months ago

The scariest thing about this letter, for me: I think he has just described, and maybe more accurately than anyone else has, the real reason the overwhelming majority of whites voted against the flag referendum. The Confederate flag really is an attempt to assert the supremacy of white culture, and to make black culture invisible. In a 37% black state, that's the language of cultural genocide.

We're not going to be able to get rid of that damn flag right now—not under this legislature. But we don't have to accept it without complaint, either. And it is the duty of every white person who does not want to marginalize or eradicate black culture, i.e. every white person of good will, to stand up and complain about our state's sorry excuse for a symbol so that this responsibility does not fall on black Mississippians alone.

I keep saying "we have a lot of work to do," but you know as well as I do, Donna, that people like the man who wrote this letter just plain aren't doing the work. And while demographic trends are not on their side, I feel like just waiting them out puts us in the same disgusting position as the white moderates MLK rightly excoriated in his letter from Birmingham Jail. I'm glad you're keeping the conversation going on this in the JFP, and reminding folks what the flag costs us. That's what we all need to be doing.

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Turtleread 3 years, 9 months ago

Perhaps. The reason I voted against that silly new flag was that it had NO historical roots in the state. BTW, my family had members who fought on both sides of that war as did many other families. As you may remember an analysis of the vote revealed that even in heavily black and Democratic counties in the Delta, the vote was light and against the new flag. I thought we should go back to the flag Mississippi had before the Civil War. It has historical roots, does not offend anyone, and we can allow monuments like Vicksburg and others to honor the dead from the Civil War.

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Belvedere 3 years, 9 months ago

In return, you get a better looking flag that all Mississippians can rally around.

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justjess 3 years, 9 months ago

Let me assure the author of the letter, allegedly written by a white ?male from Pearl, that I speak from the experience of being black. I am the daughter of share-croppers and the great grand-daughter of slaves.

Perhaps it will be benificial to this fearful, troubled and racist author, a short lesson in WAR and Flags.

For starters, when a State or Country fights a war and LOSES, their flag is lost; therefore, the place for the Confederate flag is in a museum. For more than eleven years, I walked into a building with that symbol waving on top only to walk to elevators that had metal pictures of Robert E. Lee affixed to its doors. What was really bad was the idea of working with some whites who had similar ideas as the man from Pearl and the evidence of this is still present in view of the fact that blacks continue to be discriminated against, are paid less and haven't any position in top level Administrative positions, even when they are more educated and with more experience. So you see, PLANTATION/SLAVE mentality continues.

The Mississippi flag is symbolic of MS's struggle to keep freedom away from black people. It represents the number of soldiers willing to sacrifice their lives to ensure that slavery (the white man's ability to own black folks) continue.

The flying of the flag represents the idea that the South has not been defeated in their negative treatment and evaluation of black people and that eventually, they will "RISE AGAIN!"

To the man's riddle of "what happens when an unstoppable force hits an immovable object"? The Force and the Object crash an burn. We must stop, take a deep breath and provide truth and understanding to these issues.

For the record: My public school books were over 10 yrs. old. They were sent from the white schools with missing pages, scratch outs and many times without backs on them. Your brother's problem was that of being faced with a bully and just know that they come in all races, sizes and colors.

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HBMargie 3 years, 9 months ago

I'm a lifelong Mississippian and Italian American. As far as I know, I am descended from immigrants who came to the US after the Civil War. So it makes me cringe when some white Mississippians think they can speak for all white Mississippians when it comes to Southern heritage and "white culture," whatever that means.

For starters, the KKK's wrath was (and continues to be) directed toward Italians and Catholics and just about every other immigrant group in America. I've heard stories from relatives about Italians being lynched in the South. The Confederate battle flag is a universal symbol of hatred and intolerance for blacks AND whites.

And why all this misplaced nostalgia about the national blood-letting known as The Civil War? The whole thing was hatched by what were then some of the wealthiest landowners in our hemisphere who could not fathom the prospect of paying human beings for their labor. They didn't even fight in the war they started --- 600,000 Americans (mostly poor country folk) lost their lives doing it for them.

As to your point about "gangsta rap" being misogynistic: Um, have you been paying attention to popular culture for the last 10,000 years??

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Duan 3 years, 9 months ago

@ Tom Head

You blew up the stage with this comment - The Confederate flag really is an attempt to assert the supremacy of white culture, and to make black culture invisible.

Man - that's hitting the nail on the head! Touché!

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Duan 3 years, 9 months ago

Here's the thing that I find most interesting - of those who want to change the state flag, ever said we need to outlaw flying Dixie.

So if you love it so much - fly outside your home! There's a guy on the corner of Ellis and Raymond Road - who flies it religiously and no one ever messes or bothers with him.

Change the flag and move on to bigger and better things.

Tom said it best, for those that scream about legacy and heritage - that's a dog whistle term for asserting supremacy in white culture.

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Scott1962 3 years, 9 months ago

I'm not going to try and defend the confederate flag but I do take great exception with the default implications that those of us who respect it do it out of pure hatred. As misguided as his letter is he does raise an interesting point which is what do we get in return? If you are a white southerner you are not permitted to have pride in your geographical roots. And why? Because no one in this nation is capable of imagining any white person living in the south ever having anything to be proud of prior to 1980. A lot of us don't hold on to these symbols but we refuse to go along with the general beliefs because we know better. And as selfish as it may sound we'd like to be able to look back at our ancestors and feel like we can be proud of who we are. It's not popular to believe but I'm sure there were whole hours that went by back then when they found something else to do besides find new ways to make blacks miserable.

The civil war means something to us for a reason no one seems interested in even trying to understand. Most of the south was rural dirt poor farmers and all but a very very low percentage of us came from those roots. These people were told by wealthy white plantation owners that the north was coming to take our land away and kill our families. Something that wound up being true. My ancestors left their homes, took their sons and died on battlefields far away with the soul purpose of protecting their families and homes in their minds. Do you really think these uneducated, backwoods people gave a damn about whether or not some wealthy man could keep slaves? Do you think they would be willing to die for that? It would be like me taking my sons and going off to kill then die so some doctor can keep his nice home and Mercedes. THESE are the people we find pride in and THOSE are the reasons

Do I understand how a black man looks at it? No, there's no way I can but I hold no ill feelings towards him for feeling that way. In a perfect world he may not understand what I just said but maybe he could see my feelings aren't born out of a hatred for anyone or a longing to return to those days.

There's nothing unusual about being proud of who you are nor should you have to be ashamed of it. And if you're anyone but a white southerner it's not a problem because we are the only ones who have to defend what everyone else takes for granted in our history. But... Ive seen the writing on the wall and like so many other things I've just accepted that those opposed have a lot more motivation to fight against it than I do to fight for it so I've accepted it. They have valid reasons but it would be nice for someone to realize that maybe some of us have valid reasons to and they have not the first thing to do with anything racial.

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tlberch 3 years, 9 months ago

Good manners are not about you, but for the comfort of those around you. Obviously, the state flag is offensive to many because of the history that it stands for. History that our state and region are trying to move past. By changing the flag, we open the door wider to attempt social change. There is the sticking point for many who do not want change. As a white man myself, I do not feel the need to be superior to anyone and I certainly do not want to make anyone feel inferior. My self worth is not about infringing on another's. Sadly, many do not allow this personal growth to happen and this results in ignorance and prejudice. Change the flag so that it represents Mississippi in a positive light. We cannot go around calling ourselves the hospitality state and being inhospitable.

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justjess 3 years, 9 months ago

@ Scott1962 "There's nothing unusual about being proud of who you are nor should you have to be ashamed of it."

One can be proud of who they are, but, they can also be ashame of what he/she has done. It strikes me strangely to read your post and notice that you did not include the continued ownership of slaves as being as least ONE of the reasons for the Civil War.

In MS, even the poorest and most ignorant white person was superior to a black person. As a matter of fact, blacks were considered less than human and were treated by animal doctors (Veterinarians). My grandmother called a 10yr old, Miss Betty and "Miss Betty" called her Lucy. These were poor people in Jefferson County, but, had the luxury of being white and they were able to give blacks old clothes and left over food as a trade for many daily hours of cleaning, cooking and taking care of their children.

The Confederate flag is your battle emblem and your battle was fought to continue the practice of slavery; that practice that continues to harm blacks - even as we speak!

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Scott1962 3 years, 9 months ago

Jess, what did your response have to do with my comment? Which part of it made you feel justified in implying I'm just another black hating redneck? If you want to discuss an issue with me then you're going to have to come at me with something a little more intelligent than a pathetic attempt to position yourself as somehow a victim to the white devil. Besides the fact that it has no place in any response to what I said, it's just plain sad. I didn't read where YOU had to call anyone Miss Betty or where YOU worked all day for a pair of long johns. All I read is a story about two little girls who lived a long time ago that I couldn't care any less about than I do.

I am proud of who I am but I'm not going to feel ashamed so you can feel better. I give the respect I get Jess but it would appear you're not familiar with that type of thing. Why don't you get someone to reread my comment to you and explain it as they go along so you can see just how ridiculous your attempt to turn it into something racial is. Or at the very least explain how grandma's misguided choice of playmates is something I should give a damn about.

The flag isn't "my" battle emblem but you'd have to read what I wrote to know that. And the reason I didn't get into slavery's place in the war is because IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING I SAID!! Quick being the victim Jess and quit trying to live off the misery of those who came long before you. It's a hard hard world my friend and those who chose to claim it's more unfair to them are those whose opinions are irrelevant.

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RonniM 3 years, 9 months ago

Scott, I have mixed feelings about your comment.

Let's agree on a few things: The South lost the war. As descendants of the losers, southerners are stuck with the historical slights that come with defeat. (My "people" fought on the losing side in both world wars, so I'm familiar with the phenomena.) Both the comments and the people who use them may be ignorant, but, as you said: Quit being the victim.

Our self-image doesn't need to include all the baggage. The best thing that any southerner can do is act honorably to lift all southerners--white, black and brown--from the historic mess so until there's no longer a reason to be the butt of jokes. Instead, many southerners have tenaciously held on to ignorance and fear, allowing what was once a rich, vibrant culture to largely sink into decrepit racism and dependence--at least in the eyes of the much of the world. (Mississippi extracts more aid from the federal government than any other state, for example, while "leaders" like Gov. Bryant still rant about state's rights and stoke the old coals to defy the feds.)

Acting defensively to uphold so-called "southern honor" has done more damage than good, keeping the poorest people of all races in permanent, grinding ignorance and poverty. 150 years later, no white southerner can authentically claim to be a martyr to the "cause" or the victims of resulting "loser's anguish," except in the space between his or her ears. (continued)

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RonniM 3 years, 9 months ago

(continued from previous post)

Second, the powers-that-be lied to the average, dirt-poor southerner to get them to join the battle of "northern aggression." (Shades of G.W. Bush and the Iraq war, but that's a different subject). To justify secession, Mississippi said:

"Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery - the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product, which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin." (read the rest here)

Whatever the powers-that-be told the poor whites that sent them to become cannon fodder had nothing to do with the "north ... coming to take our land away and kill our families." Did it become a self-fulfilling prophecy? Yes it did, but it wasn't the reason the southern states seceded. Both the lie and the truth of why the war happened are reprehensible, not the men conned into dying for it.

Finally, for southern whites to demand something in return for giving up the flag seems patently absurd to me. What they had--a few hundred years of a thriving economy built on the backs of slaves--is enough. Too many people have paid in blood in an attempt to drag the South into the present instead of living in the past. To continue a quest to retain what many see as a symbol of that hated and bloody era, and to justify it because they're afraid of black culture (as the letter writer stated) or because they want to retain some semblance of pride, is a misguided battle in the fight to keep the southern status quo intact.

It's long past time to let go of our ignorant fear of one another and make some meaningful changes so that Mississippi (along with other southern states that continue to cling to the past) can once again become the contributing, valuable part of the United States she can be instead remaining a drag on the national economy--and the butt of jokes. No one can hurt us without our permission to do so. Removing a symbol of hatred may just allow us to take back some of the "permission" we've given, and that we're hanging on to with our fingernails.

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bill_jackson 3 years, 8 months ago

I feel quite sure that most Confederate soldiers never read their repective State's articles of secession so the fact remains that they were mostly fighting to defend their homeland. As I understand it, back then people self identified themselves more as a Mississippian, Virginian etc. moreso than as an American.

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donnaladd 3 years, 8 months ago

That may well be true, but there were soldiers who fought for Nazi Germany who were naive about what they were fighting for, too, and that still does mean the Swastiki should be part of the country's official flag, which is what we're talking about. (Not banning the symbol altogether as Germany did.)

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SpaceMountain80 3 years, 8 months ago

I am a conservative by nature and tend to vote conservative on most issues. It took me awhile to come around but, at this point, I do think it is best for us to go ahead and change the state flag. In truth, it really is just a matter of time before it happens. It isn't if but when it happens. It would be better to just go ahead and do it and move on to more important issues than to continually dig our heels in for the next few decades and fight a long, protracted, losing battle.

Most of my relatives feel differently than me on the issue. Most of them are conservative and want to keep the state flag as it is. I do believe there is a bit of racism involved in their feelings but I also believe that, to a good extent, they have dug in their heels on this topic because it continually comes up again and again and they are tired of people (whether it be people here in Mississippi or the national media) telling them that they need to change the flag. I guess, in a way, they feel under siege from outside forces and are resisting partly just to not give them their way. I know that doesn't tell the whole story but I do believe that is part of it. The bigger this deal gets, the more they will dig in and resist.

Of course, they also still believe that the Civil War was still about state's rights. I used to believe that too until I got to college and got access to the internet and then I was able to read the declarations of secession and see the role that slavery played in those decisions. It was pretty clear to me, though my relatives aren't particularly interested in reading them. I understand why, though, as I know that admitting that you are wrong is difficult and change is tough.

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JusBeinMichael 3 years, 8 months ago

I think arguing minutae is not productive, but I understand the need to both vent, and feel like someone might understand viewpoints. The bottom line is that this man wrote a letter and it gives a pretty good overview of white Mississippi and the reasons for the flag.

I think Tom Head made excellent points. I dont' think every white Mississippian is racist. But I do think that many secretly are. I think we'd all be pretty surprised at who says what when they think they are in a safe place. I know of family, preachers, teachers, and friends that won't use the "n-word" but will still think that black people sure are "uppity" and "making too much noise." Or they assume that all crime in Jackson is black-based. Or they think that if you care about this then you are liberal. Or if you don't mind that you don't care about your heritage. Bah. Even allies would surprise you. I'm constantly shocked at what white, good ole boys will say to me under their breath, or in "jest," until they realize that I am not scared of other races, being partially one, other sexualities, or other socio-economic groups. Being white, affluent, and conservative doesn't make you a good Christian, hon.

Things will get better, but it's not there yet... clearly. And I am not one that is offended by the "bars and stars." But that comes with the privilege of being me. I pass for white. I am male and I pass for a strapping, country male. I "foolishly" assume I can pass for heterosexual most days. Am I proud of my heritage? You bet. I come from Scottish/Latin stock and I'm proud all the way around. Am I proud that I'm southern? You better believe it! But I don't carry the pain of historical slavery, unless you count what the Spanish did to my ancestors in Texas and Mexico. But, like I said... that's not my story. That's theirs... That may seem callous, but I don't see it that way. That's what happened to my Native American and Mexican ancestors hundreds of years ago. Likewise, I am not offended that others are offended by our flag. I am not going to argue that the offense isn't real. It is emotionally hurtful to black people to have it thrown up in their face in the present. It doesn't mean slavery didn't happen, because it did. It doesn't mean that Jackson doesn't have crime, because it does. It doesn't mean that we don't have a long, long, long way to go, because we do. But until we can have open dialog... Will changing a flag make those hurts magically disappear? No. Will taking the symbol of that threat and hurt help? Probably. It most likely willl. But until we have real, honest, open dialog... we'll always argue minutae.

To be frank, I have it pretty good. I get up every day a free man in a country that celebrates me and I get to talk, write, and worship how my conscience dictates. I make good money and I am free to come and go and support causes as I see fit. It's sad to me that we don't allow all people to feel that way in our state and country.

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tomhead1978 3 years, 8 months ago

Bill, back in 2002-2003 I was contracted to compile four volumes of primary source documents on the Civil War. Gave me the opportunity to look through a lot of old documents, and on the whole I would say it left me with the very strong impression that most Confederate soldiers did feel like they were defending their homeland. For me, as a white man with Confederate soldier ancestors, this makes the Confederate flag worse—not better. Because these folks were duped (which was a lot easier to do then than it is now, given the limited media available at the time). They were victims sent out to die "defending the homeland" so that the wealthy sociopaths who comprised most Southern legislatures—who made it very clear, in their states' respective articles of secession, that the war was about slavery—could keep turning a profit. It's incredibly sad, and our state shouldn't celebrate it.

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Duan 3 years, 8 months ago

@ Scott1962

and I quote you, As misguided as his letter is he does raise an interesting point which is what do we get in return?

What do you get? That's a win/lose scenario - those who want Dixie to continue to be in the glag win and those who want Dixie out of the flag lose

What you should want is a win/win scenario - to be quite frank with you - its time for a new flag point blank period.

I'm not saying Dixie should be outlawed - because we already celebrate Jefferson Davis Birthday 1st and MLK 2nd.

If you love Dixie that much - fly the flag in front of your house and support it that way. But as a collective the body of citizens are not all in agreement on this and that's why its time to change it.

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justjess 3 years, 8 months ago

@Scott1962 You are accusing me of not understanding your point of view; however, you have done a very sloppy job of reading what I said but, in several situations you have made it clear that you do not care. My grandmother was the maid for this family in Jefferson County. She was over 70 years of age and was expected to call their 10 year old daughter, "Miss Betty". The kid called my grandmother, "Lucy".

These are the risiduals of slavery. Please don't tell me that I, nor members of my family were "VICTIMS". At our family gatherings, I look across the table at a nephew who continue to wear the scars from the bombing of our grocery store in Vicksburg, MS. I was a Freshman in college and had to return home to help my parents whose property was destroyed by the KKK and a cab driver parked in from of the store - waiting for his next call was killed. So, if we weren't the VICTIMS, then, who?

I now consider myself a SURVIVOR"; however, there is not a day that passes that I am not reminded in some way that I am black and must continue to fight for simple rights.

I did not call you a racist. I said that the author of the letter, which is the germ of this discussion, was a fearful, troubled racist. Those are my thoughts and I'm standing by them.

Oh, about your asking or suggesting that I think that you are a "red neck". I was an adult and working as one of the 1st blacks to be hired at South Central Bell when a white female asked me, "What is a red neck?" I asked my father many years ago because I did not know what a "red neck" was. He said, " A red neck is a white man who farms the land and his neck is red from the sun." END OF STORY!

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js1976 3 years, 8 months ago

"I guess, in a way, they feel under siege from outside forces and are resisting partly just to not give them their way."

I made a similar statement when the recent discussions regarding the name change of the Reservoir became a topic of discussion. Hence the reason I spoke out against pursuing such a change because I do think that many people feel this way.

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js1976 3 years, 8 months ago

I will admit that sometimes I feel that many aspects of my way of life are "under siege". Not all change is bad though, and not all change angers me. Nitpicking small things just for change does seem absurd to me, but I've come to realize that the flag does not cast the best image of our state.

Change is going to have to come from WITHIN Mississippi though, and not as a result of outside pressure. Hopefully more people like myself that voted to keep the current flag will eventually see that it deserves its place in our history books, but not on our flagpoles.

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tstauffer 3 years, 8 months ago

And now you're coming at me with the entire family reunion as though that should really show me what a vict... I'm sorry "survivor" you are. I could really be an ass here Jess....

@Scott1964 I would have to submit that you're already being an ass.

I don't see anything in Jess' earlier comment that accused you personally of anything -- and, meantime, you're the one labeling people "victims" and then switching sarcastically to "survivor" to make fun of someone else's argument.

It sounds like your brother-in-law's story is truly tragic. But I also don't see where anyone, anywhere has said "he deserved it." You're the one putting those words into other's mouths.

I'll let Jess defend herself, but what I'll say is this as an owner of this site: please disagree more agreeably and characterize only your own arguments and opinions, not others.

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tstauffer 3 years, 8 months ago

(cont.) Meanwhile, I went back to your original post and tried to parse your argument -- I don't get it.

You don't want to defend the confederate battle flag, but rather you want to defend people's reasons for defending it, I guess because so many outsiders are so wrong about why the Confederate soldiers went to war, even if their leaders proclaimed it rather clearly.

But what if you're wrong even about that?

Your original comment in this thread asserts that the actual soldiers of the Confederacy, on balance, didn't go to war over slavery... because only the "rich" owned slaves. The rest were "dirt poor farmers." You may be confusing two Mississippis -- one that had the highest per capita ownership of slaves prior to the Civil War to the one that was burned to the ground in the process of losing that war, obliterating a great deal of wealth and forcing the to start over again without the economic benefits of 100% free labor. (Try as they might to somehow recover that advantage. )

The pre-war 1860 census shows that nearly 50% of Mississippi's households owned slaves -- around 30,000 families. And around 60% of those families -- call it 20,000 -- owned fewer than 10 slaves.

What that suggests is that a lot of Mississippians we affected by and benefited from slavery every day.

So how much a part of life in 1860 Mississippi was slavery?

It's a crude comparison, but according to this link (PDF), about 43% of Mississippi households in 2012 had cable TV.

In other words, a higher percentage of 1860 Mississippi households had slaves than 2014 Mississippi households have cable.

Another quick comparison -- roughly 47 percent of adult Mississippians say they are Republicans (vs. Democrats and third-parties or unaffiliated voters).

So if half of the households in Mississippi owned slaves in 1860 -- and half of adults in Mississippi in 2014 are Republicans -- then could we imagine the notion of the virtues of the institution of slave ownership in 1860 Mississippi would probably have been at least as prevalent as Republican politics in 2014 Mississippi?

This doesn't take into account the fact that slaves outnumbered free people in Mississippi, or that the ratio of slaves to households in Mississippi was 7-to-1. Or that slaveowners would lend or hire out their slaves to non-slaveowners. Or that non-slaveowners might work for slaveowners in capacities above the slaves. Or that non-slaveowners might work for the state, or in law enforcement, or in industry, where they had leadership over or otherwise encountered slaves and compared their station in life to that of the slave.

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tstauffer 3 years, 8 months ago

(cont 2) Of course, that, perhaps, doesn't speak to the mindset of the soldiers -- but consider this… in 1861, more than half of the officers in the Army of Northern Virginia owned slaves, and 36% of all soldiers came from households with slaves.

The number ascribed to Confederate soldiers as a whole varies—two percent, five percent—but the message is always the same, that those men 150 years (ago) had nothing to do with the peculiar institution, they had no stake in it, and that it certainly played no role whatever in their personal motivations or in the Confederacy’s goals in the war. But such a blanket disassociation between Confederate soldiers and the “peculiar institution” is simply not true in any meaningful way. Slave labor was as much a part of life in the antebellum South as heat in the summer and hog-killing time in the late fall. Southerners who didn’t own slaves could not but avoid coming in regular, frequent contact with the institution. They hired out others’ slaves for temporary work. They did business with slaveholders, bought from or sold to them. They utilized the products of others’ slaves’ labor. They traveled roads and lived behind levees built by slaves. Southerners across the Confederacy, from Texas to Florida to Virginia, civilian and soldier alike, were awash in the institution of slavery. They were up to their necks in it. They swam in it, and no amount of willful denial can change that.

source: http://deadconfederates.com/2011/04/28/ninety-eight-percent-of-texas-confederate-soldiers-never-owned-a-slave/

I don't know if Mississippians beat out the Confederate average or not when it came to whether their soldiers and officers came from slave-holding households; but if Mississippi had the highest percentage of such households, it seems likely.

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Scott1962 3 years, 8 months ago

Todd I honestly don't know who owned slaves and who didn't but I have a hard time believing that Mississippi was the wealthy per capita economic powerhouse you describe. I have an even harder time imagining anyone during this period possessing the necessary technological means to make an accurate census count. But even if they did, and even if your figures were correct and had some way of being validated, then you've given me stats on Mississippi. A sparsely populated mostly rural state that was a part of a much larger group of states that constituted "The South".

If you'll look back you'll see that I said the south. Now you can tell me that the rest the whites living in the south were affluent by default and well versed in the ways and means of the politics involved. But you will be wrong or you will be making up something to support your argument. Few people will defend the south as being the wealthy and the benefactors of an elite education, not then or now. Therefore I stand by my original statement. And unless you can prove to me that someone had the means to take an accurate account of every household during the era then I just cannot accept your statistics as being very accurate.

But here's the thing Todd, here's the part that escapes you and Jess and causes you to attack my opinions, my post had not the first thing to do with slavery. In fact, it offered up an opinion that everyone doesn't view the flag as a racial issue. Slavery was not an issue. There was no point in Jess telling me about slaves and grandma and his/her post did nothing but portray him/her as a victim to people like me. People who he/she implies have committed atrocities they should be ashamed of. No, what I was saying was some people view it with respect for their ancestors who were "poor dirt farmers" and died fighting in a war they were lied to about. The lies turned into truth but they weren't given the whole story. These people had ancestors they would really like to feel as though they can be proud of them Todd.

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Scott1962 3 years, 8 months ago

I can go back and look to verify it but I'm pretty sure at some point I mentioned the fact that everyone viewing the flag is not seeing it as a flag of hatred and intolerance. They are aware of the slavery thing but Todd, every issue has more than one argument to it and that was mine. It had nothing to do with slavery or Jess's grandmother. And maybe if people like yourself would quit trying to find the absolute worst in ANYONE who even vaguely disagrees with you then you could see that.

But no you can't do that. Instead you bored the hell out of me with statistics that are completely irrelevant to my argument. I cannot think of anyone I've ever known who is white and supports slavery. No one does and it is not necessary to use that as a statement or disclaimer before you state an opinion. Well it is here but if you're dealing with logical people not so bent on trying to paint an evil opposition it's not that way.

I daresay if you want to get technical about it I possess enough history in my family to feel hatred but I choose not to. I choose to give the respect I get and give respect in hopes of getting it. I do not blame Jess for the death of my brother in law nor am I comfortable using it as a way to support my opinion. I don't understand why I'm even having to support it in that way since my original post had nothing to do with jess's response which was a victims response.

And for the record if you read my other comments in your paper you'll find I do not support the confederate flag. In fact I called for it to be taken off the state flag. And why did I do that Todd? Because I said it hurts progress and there are people with a much more legitimate claim to disliking it than I can come up with for keeping it. Instead of doing that though, instead of trying to find anything that may be favorable to me and show that I'm more than capable of seeing others views what did you do? You called me an ass

I have tried to find another source of news and opinions other than the CL but this obviously isn't it. I noticed you have the same few people commenting which tells me you just aren't building up much of an audience and I wonder why that could be? Could it be that the editor calls his readers an "ass" after showing he's incapable of comprehending something? Could it be that ANYONE having a different opinion than yours is treated as ignorant and racist? There are only your opinions and all others are irrelevant isn't that right?

But what if YOU'RE wrong Todd?

Go ahead and block me you pathetic hypocrite. After all it's your football and if you can't play quarterback then you'll take it and go home.

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tomhead1978 3 years, 8 months ago

Scott, I think it's telling that you're more willing to defend the honor of the slaveowners' Confederacy—which was pathetic, evil, and utterly defeated—than you are to support the interests of black folks in Mississippi who are alive today, and who voted overwhelmingly in favor of changing the flag the last time they were given the opportunity to do so. You need to think about who you stand for, and why.

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Scott1962 3 years, 8 months ago

This morning, I cut out my original comment along with my subsequent comments and the responses from Jess, Todd, and Tom. I deleted names or anything that would reveal where or why they were written, put them in order and emailed the pages to 11 people I know on facebook. I asked them to simply read it and give me an assessment not of the subject matter, but of the comments and responses. And to be honest I did this because after I saw Tom's response I began to think I must be crazy and incapable of seeing what all of you were seeing.

Well, there's two that I haven't heard back from but the other nine were in complete agreement that the responses were intended to make something racial out of something that had nothing to do with race. A couple mentioned the original poster's frustration being very easy to see but it was justified. And of course all of them wanted to know the history behind it which I gave to them.

Now these nine people, who in response from you will be deemed racist too, easily saw Jess as trying his/her best to be a victim and a good example of why charges of racism are no longer taken seriously. Tom they felt just had a need to feel included and would have defended Hitler if he thought that's what the others wanted him to do. But Todd was the one that got the most attention. They felt his response was one of a man intelligent enough to understand the simplicity of the original post but determined to undermine the poster through the use of stats that once again, had nothing to do with anything. At the end I explained who he was and everyone agreed he was simply towing the company line. Otherwise, he would have directed that response or at least a portion of it, at Jess's pathetic attempt to play the victim which became noticeably quiet after the OP's mention of his family's experience.

Tom, would you cut and paste the part of any of my comments where I supported slaveowners and the idea of the confederacy and where I rallied against black people for me? I need to know what I'm defending and I can't find it. You also mentioned my words were "telling". Could you elaborate on that? I'd like to hear your assessment of who you think I am. You people are like judgmental Christians who have only words but no actions to back up what they claim to be.

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donnaladd 3 years, 8 months ago

By the way, all, I've added the name of the letter writer, after ensuring that he wanted it public: Glen Stripling of Pearl.

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Glen 3 years, 8 months ago

Well! I guess I blew it. I was offering, (what I thought would be), a realistic way to resolve our state's flag issue, namely, understanding how many white southerners think. And for THAT I am being called RACIST?!

As for the gentleman that said I'm just plain not doing the work of racial reconciliation, well... I guess I can't expect him to know I spent seven years working on my novel CHRONOSIA, in which I actually CONDEMN racial bigotry. In my short story THE EARTH INVADES MARS, I speak out against enslavement of black people.

Is that not enough to show I am not racist? OK let's try this: Let's get someone to draft a petition to our legislature or to our governor demanding we change our state flag TODAY. I shall publicly SIGN IT! I SAID I wanted progress. As Belvedere says, I'll get a better looking flag. I'll be happy with that.

But does anybody really think that would solve the problem? Does it really make sense to say, "We want a flag representing all Mississippians, except for the small minority of blacks who want to keep our current flag, except for the majority of voters who voted to keep same flag and except for anybody else that disagrees with us?"

I have never been a black slave or a sharecropper. But I WAS a seven year old child when they integrated public schools. One day I was told, (in a roundabout way), that my friends and I would get beat up if we went to school the following day, because of the color of our skins. Blacks barged into my brother's classroom and turned over his teacher's desk and told my brother if he came back the next day they would "whip (his) white ass black." So we have hurtful memories from those days too.

Years later, a black teenager attacked my mother with a screwdriver and broke her pelvis. I can not help but wonder what it was in his world that made him think it was OK to do this to an elderly woman if she happens to be white.

We need the Delta Blues and black gospel music. But there are some things in so-called black culture that we can do without.

It's not just white southerners that object to some of the bad things in "black culture." I have had friends from places as far away as Canada and Taiwan who told me they were annoyed at some of the behaviors of some blacks in our state that they consider obnoxious or even obscene. After all, isn't this all about our state's image?

So yes, I do have hurtful memories but I don't need our current flag to get past them. But other white southerners probably DO because they have had worse experiences than I.

But we are not going to change their minds by lecturing them, telling they should be ashamed of themselves, making them feel guilty about being uncomfortable in high crime areas, making them feel guilty about publicly honoring their Confederate heritage and THEN telling them they can't object to "black culture" songs that promote violence, rudeness and behavior that's disruptive to society.

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Glen 3 years, 8 months ago

(Continued from previous Post)

If we take away their state flag they might ask for something in return. Who knows? It just might be an ear that's willing to listen.

By the way, I know our evolutionary ancestors came out of Africa, and according to theory, there was a mutation in the human genome thousands of years ago, that controls skin pigmentation. So we are ALL probably the descendants of black people.

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