Monday, April 2, 2007

A Half Assed Stand For Southern Heritage

Athens, GA
I have mixed feelings about this "opinion" piece from the University Of Georgia's Red&, but I'm going to blog it here anyway. The writer does raise several interesting points.

This is an opinion piece in response to a cartoon featured in the University's newspaper last week. The cartoon was in response to recent talk of the state legislature's proposal of a Confederate History Month. The cartoon depicted a White man standing in front of a swastika with a coffee mug reading "I'd rather be fishing".

Southern pride not a racist agenda

Apparently I'm supposed to be ashamed of who I am. At least that's the impression I got from The Red & Black Opinions page last Tuesday, March 20.

If you read the paper that day, you might recall that a few opinion writers and a cartoonist chose to respond to a bill in the Georgia Senate proposing the creation of a Confederate History Month. However, instead of just stating their opposition to the bill, they decided to degrade Southern heritage.

I am not offended by people making fun of Southerners since it can be funny, but that day's "Our Take" and the daily cartoon compared my whole family to Nazis.

I support equal civil rights for all people no matter their race, religion or sexual orientation, but I also have nothing but Southern blood running through my veins. My ancestors, dating to before the Civil War, have all lived in a few adjacent counties in South Georgia.

I could care less about the Confederate History Month legislation since there are more important issues to act on. However, calling all of my ancestors dishonorable for being confederates - most were poor and none that I know of owned any slaves - and suggesting they should be sent to "the dustbin of history" is inflammatory to people like myself.

Using the editorial board's logic, we should send all history that involves slave-owning civilizations to the dustbin. On the bright side, that would make history class pretty easy considering Greeks, Romans, Russians, Arabs, Africans, Asians and Americans have all been slave-owning peoples. What if we just condemned everyone and studied only the past 140 years?

Yet, the most offensive item of last Tuesday's paper was the cartoon because it insults today's Southerners.

In the image, a man is standing in front of a swastika and holding a mug that says "I'd rather be fishing." I know there are some racist fishermen somewhere out there, but most of them are not hateful Nazis.

What a lot of people don't seem to understand is we Southerners have a unique culture just like other minority groups. Many of us like to fish, shoot guns, farm, tell romantic stories of the past and party in hay fields to the music of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Alabama.

History is important for our culture. We inherited several of our traditions from our Confederate ancestors, but one thing we did not inherit is slavery. We are not threatening to bring back segregation and slavery or to secede again. So, why does anyone care if we choose to celebrate our history the way we want?

I'm proud to have a permanent farmer's tan, speak with a drawl and I love my ancestors.

Everyone does not have to understand my way of life for it to be justified. Those who dislike my culture might like to know that if I ever have kids, they'll be raised just like me.

Insisting we suppress our heritage will only make Southerners more determined to preserve it.

Thanks, Red & Black.

Original here:
Southern Pride Not Racist Agenda

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