The Segregated South

I think I’ve mentioned from time to time that, because of an unfortunate string of factors, my main source of news is the local NPR station. I take most of it with a grain of salt, just as I would with Fox News: they’re polar opposites, as far as I’m concerned. The main difference is that, where folks on Fox like to give dirty looks and seem to think that volume equals correctness, the NPR people take the opposite tack: the best way to convince you of their viewpoint is to be calm and inclusive: low-key equals political correctness.

Of course, NPR and Fox are just samples. If there’s such a thing as unbiased news, I’d be surprised. In fact, thanks to things I’ve picked up in the last few years, I’m not sure if we’ve ever had unbiased news in this country. I’ve heard arguments to the effect that it’s better to have biased news. It’s been a while since I heard that one, so I don’t remember the man’s reasoning (I do remember that it was a man), except to say that, in a way, they made sense.

NPR’s particular bias of political correctness simply means they are with what appears to be the majority these days. We scream about our 1st Amendment rights—until someone else’s free speech contradicts ours. For instance, the issue of nativity scenes on public property. Let some town display one on their square or common and the ACLU (American Communist Lawyer’s Union; they’ll probably sue me for that now) will swarm into town—whether anyone there has complained or not—and treat the city council as if they’ve been feeding Jews to the ovens. Or worse. (No, I’m not making fun of the Holocaust.) As I heard one pundit say, members of the ACLU lay awake at night worrying that someone, somewhere, might actually be thinking about God.

OMG! (In ACLU PCness, that would be Oh, my goodness. Or would it be gosh? Goodness is such a judgmental statement, after all.)

And yet, a few years back, some California public schools were putting their elementary students through a “cultural awareness” course in which they were to role-play being traditional Muslim families—including making the girls subject themselves to the boys’ authority. Hmm. And yet, if an American man does anything that meets the ever-changing standards of the feminist movement, we’re castigated and ostracized, accused of being misogynistic.

I could go on for hours, but I’ll spare you.

What’s got me going this week, though, is that I just finished listening to the Sunday broadcast of Weekend All Things Considered, the afternoon news show on NPR. The Saturday and Sunday broadcasts are designated with the Weekend qualifier because, well, they’re on weekends and they’re shorter. On our local station (KUAF 93.1 FM), weekday ATC—as the anchors love to call it—is about three hours long, though the last hour is a rebroadcast of the first one. Does that make sense? In essence, I’m guessing that since the show runs from 3 to 6 PM, the first hour is rebroadcast for those who are still at work during the hour between 3 and 4. Meanwhile, the weekend version is only an hour long.

Anyway, I will have to say that, for the most part, calling it All Things Considered is fairly accurate, for they do stories on things that I doubt Fox would touch. In some cases, there’s a good reason for this.

Regardless, this weekend, ATC broadcast, by my informal count, no less than three stories where they made sure to remind everyone of the segregation of the South, from the cover story about the GOP candidates campaigning in Mississippi and Alabama, to the possibility that the Southern Baptist Convention might elect its first black president, to covering the release of a book that details a program put on by the founder of Sears, Roebuck and his friend Booker T. Washington’s plan that built 5,000 schoolhouses for blacks across the—are you ready for it?—segregated South in the early 1900s.

Now, I have to be honest, or maybe I should say this is full disclosure, when I say that part of the story about the Republican hopefuls had to do with how the party can gain Hispanic votes. Oh, wait, I’m sorry. That’s Latino votes. My bad. But they made sure to fit in the unthinkable possibility Southern voters will vote for a white Mormon before they’ll vote for a black man.

Maybe. I don’t know. Since Obama’s blackness or lack thereof made no difference to me on how I voted, I’m not a fair judge. I’m much more concerned with his socialist leanings than I am his skin color.

Besides, I hope I don’t have to listen to that mealy-mouthed guy say um every third or fourth word for the next four years. The liberals are so afraid they’ll offend someone that they have trouble putting together coherent, firm-sounding sentences.

Anyway, the point of what I’m saying is this: why are Southerners still getting beat over the head for slavery/segregation? Yes, I was alive when MLK was making his case for civil rights, but seeing as how I was born in 1965, somehow I doubt my opinion counted for much during that era. And since slavery ended over 150 years ago—despite what rabble-rousers like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would have you believe—I don’t think I need to pay “restitution” for it to blacks who weren’t alive then, either.

It’s funny how nobody mentions the separate water fountains in northern states. Or that they were the ones who imported slaves and sold them to the South until the profits ran out. Then they decided to exhibit some moral outrage.

I have to side with a Mississippi woman they interviewed Saturday on NPR: she said that every election cycle, the news media troops to places like her home state and acts shocked that the citizens are actually wearing shoes. We get that a lot in Arkansas, too. When the media remembers we’re part of the nation, that is.

The victors write the history. That means that Southerners are still portrayed as racist, bigoted rednecks who see blacks as less than human and still treat them like property. Meanwhile, we have to put up with the vocal ones who report us as being just that if they decide we looked at them the wrong way. All a black has to do is holler the word prejudice and there’s not a thing we can do. We’re guilty of it just because we’re white.

And, like my daughter said, we—and here I means whites in general—have to put up with Affirmative Action, which isn’t about equal rights at all. It’s about special rights. If I apply for a job or admission to a college and it comes down to me and a black, who do you think’s gonna get it? Ain’t gonna be me, that’s for sure.

I understand why Affirmative Action started, but it’s outdated now. Just as is the law that says Southern states have to get federal approval to make any change in their voting laws. The law says that any state that ever exhibited segregationist tendencies had to do that. What about all those Northern states that did it? Why aren’t they covered?

I’ll tell you why. Because they didn’t dare to tell Washington, DC that they were tired of being told how to live their lives and broke off to form their own country. The Confederacy was a separate nation when Lincoln sent the Union Army to invade it, and after the war, Congress forced those same states to ratify the 14th Amendment (if I don’t have my amendments mixed up) before they could be readmitted to the Union as a state.

Think about that for a moment. Because the thirteen states of the Confederacy weren’t even considered part of the US by Congress, there should have been no legal way for them to ratify an amendment to the US Constitution. And yet, that’s exactly what they were expected to do to gain readmission into the US. Do you see what I’m saying? Congress told them they couldn’t be states until they ratified a new law that applied to the states of the US, and yet they weren’t states of the US when they ratified it.

And you thought our modern congress does some boneheaded stuff.

But, see the North won the war. They can, and do, frame the history of that time any way they want, including emphasizing the South’s role in slavery while omitting their own. Then, after spending 100+ years treating the South as a beaten, subjugated country—which we are—they expect us to be accommodating to their reason for invading our sovereign country, meanwhile neglecting to inform history students that each and every one of the original 13 Colonies reserved the right to secede from the union if it decided this new united States thing wasn’t gonna work out (no, that’s not a typo. That’s how it was originally written, back when we had a weak central government that didn’t micromanage our lives).

See, the original idea for the united States was sorta the same thing as the European Union is now: a union of separate countries. That’s what the word state means in this context: a country that is separate from other countries. And the only reason the original Colonies ratified the Constitution was because they were allowed the secession option and because states’ rights were supposed to be superior to federal rights. The Constitution isn’t a document that has the government granting rights to its citizens. It is the citizens defining a strict set of rules that the government can operate under. See the 9th and 10th Amendments if you don’t believe me.

It was because of this that the Southern states seceded from the Union—not because we wanted to keep owning slaves. Slave owners made up 6% of the Southern population, and you can bet those slave owners were damned rare in the Confederate Army.

In essence, the South is like that kid the bully always picks on: he’s down on the ground, face in the dirt, hollering “Uncle!” and the bully isn’t listening. He’s just grinding the poor guy deeper in the dirt.

Folks, it’s 2012, no 1812. Let us up already.




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