Those Racist Southerners!

One of the most frustrating aspects of being a Virginian, a conservative, and a Southerner is the persistent and mistaken notion that we are nothing more than a bunch of backwards racists who long for a return to the days of slavery and keeping minorities “in their place”.  However, for a great many of us nothing could be farther from the truth.  To paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I believe that a person ought to be judged by the content of his or her character, not the color of his or her skin.  Therefore, regardless of whether it would benefit or hinder me, I strongly oppose using race to determine rights, employment, or political representation.

Although I would be nothing short of a boldfaced liar if I were to say that racists and racism did not exist in the South, I have found that it is no more a widespread epidemic in my adventures in the region than it is in either the Northeast or Southwest.

And yet, due in part to the chivalrous and false notion that the Civil War (or more accurately called the War Between the States) was fought entirely over slavery, some of those in the North to this day hold the erroneous viewpoint that they are more civilized and righteous than their barbarous neighbors to the South.  For that reason along with the memory of “southern” Jim Crow laws (which existed decades before I was born and manifest themselves in some facet in most states in the Union), so much of the South, Virginia included, is penalized to this very day.

As you can see, a vast majority of Virginia is under electoral supervision.

The Justice Department requires us to create gerrymandered districts like the 3rd congressional district of Virginia due to supposed racial prejudice.

So is Virginia a heavily segregated state?  Recently, one of my friends shared a Salon article that listed the 10 most segregated urban areas in America.  Guess how many were in the South.  That’s right.  Zero (or one, if you count the state of Missouri).  Counting from ten to one we have:  Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, New York, and Milwaukee.   But really, what does it matter?  If a government were segregating people, I would clearly object to such a practice.  On the other hand, if a person of his or her own free will chooses to live in communities of primarily one race or another, should the government take an active role to correct this supposed problem?  Absolutely not.

De jure segregation, like “separate but equal”, is a blight upon humanity.  De facto segregation, either done consciously or unconsciously, is just people exercising their rights to live where they choose.  Now to change this issue, should the city, state, or feds forcibly uproot families and individuals from Milwaukee and the surrounding counties and mix them together to create more racially diverse communities?  I would dread to see a government with such a grotesque amount of power.

Of course, maybe my opinions are in the minority here.  After all, according to the above map, I’m from the “racially enlightened” Shenandoah Valley.  That must explain it.  We all know that a majority of Virginians are just plain ignorant and hostile when it comes to race.  But thanks to the Voting Rights Act, these huge pockets of racists are not only separated from the rest of the nation, but also treated unequally under the law.  But it’s OK because we just can’t trust the rest of the Virginians outside the specially designated zones!

Although I firmly believe skin color should not be a defining characteristic, for those who consider Southerners horrible racists, need I remind you that Virginia was the first state to elect a black Governor?  Just for fun let’s compare Virginia to our neighboring state to the west that until his recent death kept electing a Senator who was once a member of the KKK.  As West Virginia isn’t under the same burden as our Commonwealth, that must mean that by comparison Byrd was never a racist nor were any of the people who put him in office!

Anyway, with the 150th anniversary of the war fast approaching, I wanted to share with you a recent video from Jack Hunter addressing this issue.  Enjoy!

6 Replies to “Those Racist Southerners!”

  1. Joshua
    Great article. American history was my favorite subject in school. They did not teach us all of the facts about the War between the States. It was not until years later through personal research and study that my personal conclusion is the war was about states rights. We have family letters from the battle field and between family from that period. From reading those, spending time in museums, touring plantations and other research so much of the facts and truth has been omitted from the public school history books. It is true some of my family owned slaves, I feel that had the issue been left alone over time they would have all been set free. Jim Crow laws would have never existed. I am not pro slavery and am glad it no longer exist. I do not owe any one anything for the past sins of my fathers. It is over, or is it?
    I am not ashamed of my heritage, it is Pre-American revolution. We have family who fought as patriots against the British, they fought each other in the War between the States and they have served their nation in the more recent wars. Yes we are so racist here in The Republic of Texas also. That is part of the lefts agenda, conquer and divide. Class warfare. White’s against Blacks, Whites against Hispanic, Women vs. Men etc. Speaking of the KKK sad but true the Grand Dragon lives in community called Hamilton, Texas not too far from my home, unless that has recently changed. Sorry I am rambling again.
    Thanks again for such a great article.

    1. As you mentioned, I think the greatest shame is that too many Southerners feel guilty or ashamed of their heritage. Without a proper understanding of history, some people accept all sorts of reverse racism and heavy handed federal oversight as proper punishment for the sins of their fathers.

      As far as I’ve discovered, none of my family owned slaves. They arrived in the Shenandoah Valley in the 1850s and, regardless of what their opinions on the matter were, there wasn’t much demand for slaves or a high number of them available in this part of the state. But, even if they owned slaves would that somehow justify punishing me for it? That line of thinking makes about as much sense as condemning modern Jewish people for the death of Jesus. At some point we have to stop awarding or penalizing people based upon the color of skin or we will never advance as a society.

      Thanks for your comment.

  2. First, I need to say; this was a great read it forced me to really focus on this topic. Second, I am proud of my heritage, I am not a racist and it was not me how enslaved others. Third; being a middle age white man living in the south I am tired of being made to feel like I have something to be ashamed of. The tables turned long ago. I am the one being held back because of the color of my skin.
    Long live the Republic of Texas

  3. Southern culture aside, Virginia has never concluded on it’s own that the races are equal. Federal Law has forced every equal rights legislation past it’s own racist state law due to it’s own obstinance. It was Virginia that pushed the interracial marriage case of Loving V Va to the federal courts. It was Virginia who was among the last to ratify the Bill of Rights. Often slow, stubborn, or wrong is Virginia’s politics. To shave this reputation, you have to move with the rest of the country. You don’t get a reputation for leading the pack when you are merely being dragged behind.

  4. I am mostly American Indian. When I was a child in the early sixty’s I was discriminated against for not being white. Now I am old and work for the Virginia Government, I discriminated against because I am white.

    Black people will never end white racism until they stop abusing power when they have it.

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