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Are Southern Black People Complicit in Racism?

Interesting article which discusses the differences between black folks living in the South and those from other places. I am not sure the author’s reasoning is correct but it is worth evaluating and discussing…

I’m a Black Southerner Who’s Seen Racism All My Life. Why Do I Stay Silent?

Blacks in the South, Carlton told me, are submissive. He was a young African-American man from Kansas City. We were sitting in a classroom in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. A teacher friend of mine had asked me to mentor him and another of her high school students.

Blacks in the South are submissive.

It rolled off his tongue, not as indictment, but as description.

His family sent him “down South” for that very reason, to get him away from, Carlton said, the kind of black people who stand up for themselves and firmly against injustice—personal and otherwise—the kind of black people he had been getting in trouble with as they fought back … against whatever it was they were fighting, something he couldn’t quite explain.

Being among submissive blacks, there would be none of the fighting and mischief that had his mother worried about how long he would live, because Southern blacks don’t fight, don’t question authority, unthinkingly fall in line—the kind of environment he needed.

The proof was all around us.

Never mind the rich history of the Civil Rights movement, born in the South and carried out by men and women so fearless they were willing to be lynched. What caught Carlton’s attention were Confederate flags in store windows, hanging from front poles in people’s yards, on bumper stickers and T-shirts, and gated communities developers named after pretend plantations, hoping to invoke the image of Southern elegance portrayed in Gone with the Wind.

No way that kind of thing would be allowed where he was from, Carlton reasoned. There would be rioting in the streets. (Notice how black South Carolinians have been praised for not rioting after a white North Charleston cop shot a fleeing black man in the back or when nine black people were targeted for death in a church.) The Southern blacks he saw—people like me—seemed too content, too happy, too accepting of the unacceptable.

Listening to him, I felt like Hattie McDaniel, which was fitting, given that I have driven by a restaurant named Mammy’s so frequently it had become part of the landscape, no longer a point of reflection. The sight of it, or riding down roads named for Confederate heroes, no longer left me wondering how much my state’s reverence for a war it started to keep people like me in chains a century and a half ago helped perpetuate 21st-century racial disparities.

That conversation with Carlton was a little more than a decade ago. The memory of that day came flashing back as I watched commentators throughout the country wax poetic with righteous anger about the Confederate flag flying on State House grounds in the capitol of my native state and their clear, unapologetic calls to “bring it down.”

I was ashamed, began wondering if Carlton was right because I knew that in some ways black people and white people in South Carolina had for years done what President Barack Obama warned against during his eulogy for the “Charleston Nine” killed at Emanuel AME—slipped “into comfortable silence.”

Despite the headlines and rhetoric dripping from the lips of Southern politicians so white-hot they make national news and late-night comedians drool, a comfortable silence has been a more accurate description of everyday black life in my part of the South than constant, overt racial unrest.

And that’s why it took the massacre of nine black people in a church once burned down by slavery supporters to make the Confederate flag an issue politicians have to grapple with today.

I was raised about 45 miles from where Dylann Roof allegedly sat in a Bible study for an hour before shooting the people he reportedly hesitated to kill because they had been so nice to him. My childhood included many trips to Charleston, including to Emanuel AME during the summer of 1990 on the day the Ku Klux Klan held a rally a five-minute walk from the church.

I grew up in an under-funded, rural high school that remained segregated for four decades after Brown v. Board of Education, and was taught by a white high school teacher who forbade us from writing about Malcolm X for Black History Month.

I rushed to the TV like many people I grew up with to watch “The Dukes of Hazzard.” I cheered for Daisy and Uncle Jesse against Jefferson “Boss Hog” Davis, and with Bo and Luke Duke in an orange Dodge Charger with the Confederate flag on the roof and named after the most revered Confederate soldier of them all, Gen. Robert E. Lee.

By the time that show ended its six-year run in 1985, the Confederate flag had been flying above the South Carolina State House dome for almost a quarter of a century, placed there in 1962 in defiance of the burgeoning civil rights movement. As it was flying at our capitol to celebrate men who fought to implement a permanent form of black enslavement, we were celebrating it in our homes in the form of the good-natured Duke boys.

By night, for at least an hour every week, we were immersed in the kind of sanitized version of the ugliest period of our past that was codified by Gone with the Wind. By day, we were taught in public schools from a history book written by the daughter of a Confederate soldier that included descriptions of happy slaves and a sympathetic Klan.

We had (and have) friends who revere the flag and told us they were protecting their heritage and honoring the sacrifice their ancestors made to protect the state from an invading army.

They never stopped reminding us of the horrors inflicted upon the South during General Sherman’s infamous march during the Civil War.

Their lines are so well-rehearsed, I can’t tell if they are sincere or a knee-jerk reaction to any criticism of the South.

“There were slave owners who fought for the North, too.”

“Did you know there were black slave owners?”

“Most white Confederate soldiers were too poor to own slaves.”

“That war had nothing to do with slavery; they invaded our homeland and we had to protect it. That’s why Lincoln will never represent me.”

“Thousands of black people fought for the South.”

“How I wish the South would have freed all the slaves, then fought the war.” (…More…)

Interesting viewpoint. Raises a question as to how much this “Southern mentality” may have affected MLK’s strategy of non-violence, if at all. It also raises some question of how the “New South”, particularly those regions into which have gained black population from the North in the Reverse Great Migration of the last two decades as manufacturing has crumbled in the North will fit into this “polite society”. Texas and Georgia are probably the next two states in the once “solid South” to go blue, changing the political dynamic.

Issac Bailey (the author of this article) is a columnist at the Sun News in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He’s the author of Proud. Black. Southern. (But I Still Don’t Eat Watermelon in front of White People). He was a 2014 Neiman Fellow.

 

 
 

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How Slavery Built America

Saw this one on my Amazon Reading List, downloaded it – and have been reading through it the last week or so on my way to work on the subway.  Historian Edward Baptist’s treatise on how slavery made America has been greeted with both strong objection from the usual suspects as well as hailed for it’s detailed treatment of a complex historical subject, the ramifications of which still impact American Society today. What Baptist documents is what us students of American History have suspected for a very long time, but until this book – no one really documented it and brought it out front.

What Baptist succinctly points our and documents is the “capitalism” which grew this country from it’s founding in the early 1600’s to an industrial powerhouse owes it roots, and its foundation to slavery. Far from the oft repeated “land of economic opportunity”, slavery generated over half of this country’s economic might, and the worth  of slaves alone constituted over 1/6th of the total wealth of the nation prior to 1860. This one smacks the”Southern Myth” regurgitated by conservative right wingers dead between the eyes.

The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism

 

Part of a book review by the NY Times. Follow the link for the whole article.

A Brutal Process

‘The Half Has Never Been Told,’ by Edward E. Baptist

For residents of the world’s pre-­eminent capitalist nation, American historians have produced remarkably few studies of capitalism in the United States. This situation was exacerbated in the 1970s, when economic history began to migrate from history to economics departments, where it too often became an exercise in scouring the past for numerical data to plug into computerized models of the economy. Recently, however, the history of American capitalism has emerged as a thriving cottage industry. This new work portrays capitalism not as a given (something that “came in the first ships,” as the historian Carl Degler once wrote) but as a system that developed over time, has been constantly evolving and penetrates all aspects of society.

Slavery plays a crucial role in this literature. For decades, historians depicted the institution as unprofitable and on its way to extinction before the Civil War (a conflict that was therefore unnecessary). Recently, historians like Sven Beckert, Robin Blackburn and Walter Johnson have emphasized that cotton, the raw material of the early Industrial Revolution, was by far the most important commodity in 19th-century international trade and that capital accumulated through slave labor flowed into the coffers of Northern and British bankers, merchants and manufacturers. And far from being economically backward, slave owners pioneered advances in modern accounting and finance.

Edward E. Baptist situates “The Half Has Never Been Told” squarely within this context. Baptist, who teaches at Cornell University, is the author of a well-­regarded study of slavery in Florida. Now he expands his purview to the entire cotton kingdom, the heartland of 19th-­century American slavery. (Unfortunately, slavery in the Upper South, where cotton was not an economic staple, is barely discussed, even though as late as 1860 more slaves lived in Virginia than any other state.) In keeping with the approach of the new historians of capitalism, the book covers a great deal of ground — not only economic enterprise but religion, ideas of masculinity and gender, and national and Southern politics. Baptist’s work is a valuable addition to the growing literature on slavery and American development.

Where Baptist breaks new ground is in his emphasis on the centrality of the interstate trade in slaves to the regional and national economies and his treatment of the role of extreme violence in the workings of the slave system. After the legal importation of slaves from outside the country ended in 1808, the spread of slavery into the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico would not have been possible without the enormous uprooting of people from Maryland and Virginia. Almost one million slaves, Baptist estimates, were transported to the cotton fields from the Upper South in the decades before the Civil War.

The domestic slave trade was highly organized and economically efficient, relying on such modern technologies as the steamboat, railroad and telegraph. For African-Americans, its results were devastating. Since buyers preferred young workers “with no attachments,” the separation of husbands from wives and parents from children was intrinsic to its operation, not, as many historians have claimed, a regrettable side effect. Baptist shows how slaves struggled to recreate a sense of community in the face of this disaster.

The sellers of slaves, Baptist insists, were not generally paternalistic owners who fell on hard times and parted reluctantly with members of their metaphorical plantation “families,” but entrepreneurs who knew an opportunity for gain when they saw one. As for the slave traders — the middlemen — they excelled at maximizing profits. They not only emphasized the labor abilities of those for sale (reinforced by humiliating public inspections of their bodies), but appealed to buyers’ salacious fantasies. In the 1830s, the term “fancy girl” began to appear in slave-trade notices to describe young women who fetched high prices because of their physical attractiveness. “Slavery’s frontier,” Baptist writes, “was a white man’s sexual playground.”

The cotton kingdom that arose in the Deep South was incredibly brutal. Violence against Native Americans who originally owned the land, competing imperial powers like Spain and Britain and slave rebels solidified American control of the Gulf states. Violence, Baptist contends, explains the remarkable increase of labor productivity on cotton plantations. Without any technological innovations in cotton picking, output per hand rose dramatically between 1800 and 1860. Some economic historians have attributed this to incentives like money payments for good work and the opportunity to rise to skilled positions. Baptist rejects this explanation.

Planters called their method of labor control the “pushing system.” Each slave was assigned a daily picking quota, which increased steadily over time. Baptist, who feels that historians too often employ circumlocutions that obscure the horrors of slavery, prefers to call it “the ‘whipping-machine’ system.” In fact, the word we should really use, he insists, is “torture.” To make slaves work harder and harder, planters utilized not only incessant beating but forms of discipline familiar in our own time — sexual humiliation, bodily mutilation, even waterboarding. In the cotton kingdom, “white people inflicted torture far more often than in almost any human society that ever existed.” When Abraham Lincoln reminded Americans in his Second Inaugural Address of the 250 years of “blood drawn with the lash” that preceded the Civil War, he was making a similar point: Violence did not begin in the United States with the firing on Fort Sumter.

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2014 in American Greed, Black History

 

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Did Racism Cause the Shutdown?

Great article here with the most detailed history in one place I have seen about racial politics and how the party’s switched positions. Racism has been intertwined with policy at the Federal Level since before the Civil War. This article provides a great background on the what, who, and why…

How Racism Caused The Shutdown

This isn’t an article about how Republicans shut down the government because they hate that the President is black. This is an article about how racism caused the government to shut down and the U.S. to teeter on the brink of an unprecedented and catastrophic default.

I understand if you’re confused. A lot of people think the only way that racism “causes” anything is when one person intentionally discriminates against another because of their color of their skin. But that’s wrong. And understanding the history of the forces that produced the current crisis will lay plain the more subtle, but fundamental, ways in which race and racism formed the scaffolding that structures American politics — even as explicit battles over race receded from our daily politics.

The roots of the current crisis began with the New Deal — but not in the way you might think. They grew gradually, with two big bursts in the 1960s and the 1980s reflecting decades of more graduated change. And the tree that grew out of them, the Tea Party and a radically polarized Republican Party, bore the shutdown as its fruits.

How The New Deal Drove The Racists Out

In 1938, Sen. Josiah W. Bailey (D-NC) filibustered his own party’s bill. Well, part of his party — Northern Democrats, together with Northern Republicans, were pushing an federal anti-lynching bill. Bailey promised that Southern Democrats would teach “a lesson which no political party will ever again forget” to their Northern co-partisans if they “come down to North Carolina and try to impose your will upon us about the Negro:”

Just as when the Republicans in the [1860s] undertook to impose the national will upon us with respect to the Negro, we resented it and hated that party with a hatred that has outlasted generations; we hated it beyond measure; we hated it more than was right for us and more than was just; we hated it because of what it had done to us, because of the wrong it undertook to put upon us; and just as that same policy destroyed the hope of the Republican party in the South, that same policy adopted by the Democratic party will destroy the Democratic party in the South.

Bailey’s rage at the affront to white supremacy was born of surprise. Until 1932, the South had dominated the Democratic Party, which had consistently stood for the South’s key regional regional interest — keeping blacks in literal or figurative fetters — since before the Civil War.

But the Depression-caused backlash against Republican incumbents that swept New Yorker Franklin Roosevelt into the White House and a vast Democratic majority into Congress also made Southerners a minority in the party for the first time in its history. The South still controlled the most influential committee leadership votes in Congress, exercising a “Southern Veto” on race policy. The veto forced FDR to stay out of the anti-lynching fight (“If I come out for the anti-lynching bill, [the southerners] will block every bill I ask Congress to pass to keep America from collapsing,” he lamented).

The veto also injected racism into the New Deal. Social Security was “established on a racially invidious, albeit officially race-neutral, basis by excluding from coverage agricultural and domestic workers, the categories that included nearly 90 percent of black workers at the time,” University of Pennsylvania political scientist Adolph Reed Jr. wrote in The Nation. “Others, like the [Civilian Conservation Corps], operated on Jim Crow principles. Roosevelt’s housing policy put the weight of federal support behind creating and reproducing an overtly racially exclusive residential housing industry.” Read the rest of this entry »

 

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The Mack Truck That Hit Paula Deen

Have to say I’ve certainly enjoyed cooking up a Paula Deen recipe or two. Most of her food is guaranteed to send you heart doctor into apoplexy over your sky high cholesterol…

But it was so damn good!

 

Paula is authentic deep South. Unfortunately for some folks that carries a lot of racial baggage. Some of that baggage is in the form of using distasteful racial epithets in common conversation between folks sharing the same background. Usually anymore when there is nobody else around to overhear.

Now, Paula – like myself is old enough to have lived through some of those bad old days of segregation. Led by racist and segregationist Democrats and Dixiecrats making a last stand at the schoolhouse door, folks from her world tried to stop folks from my world from having equal rights.. Attacking and abusing Civil Rights workers at the Lunch Counters. At the worst, even murdering them as they drove down back country roads. There are those who followed those very same Dixiecrats to the Republican Party, where that type of racism was made safe by Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan for their kind as amply demonstrated even today.

And then there are a lot more Southern  folks who left those ignorant attitudes with the times- even though they seldom to be quite enough in the majority to get elected…

Decent people seldom do anymore.

So…Paula has said some racist things. And judging from how quickly the companies who were partners in her business empire are scrambling  for the door – there is a lot more “bad acting” that hasn’t hit the presses that they are afraid will be uncovered.

But in the scale of things…Whose racism has done more damage t America, Paula and her well used butter dish and southern fried sympathies…

Or the 4 racist thugs in robes and their Uncle Tom sitting the highest court?

Now…Don’t gt me wrong. I don’t feel sorry for Paula. But the reason has a lot less to do with her racism and a lot more to do with a lack of professionalism. Professionalism?

Yeh. When you run a multi-million dollar business – You don’t get to make an ass of yourself like Dan Cathy of Chick Fil A – without some hurt coming down from some pissed customers…And partners who know what it takes to run a business and don’t want to be hit by the shrapnel of an idiot imploding.

Obviously Chick Fil A agrees with Mr Cathy’s lack of professionalism because he is still there.

Since in Paula’s case she is the company, Paula is going to have to suffer the consequences.

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2013 in The New Jim Crow

 

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Revenge of the Rust Belt

So now that US Industries have woken up – and finally started realizing that producing many products is cheaper in America…

Where are the new factories going?

Turns out, a majority of them are moving right back where they came from…

The Rust Belt.

During the 80’s and 90’s a lot of American business followed the cattle herd mentality in migrating manufacturing to China – or the next “best” onshore location – the American South. Now I don’t know if it was because at the time, Wall Street was sucking up all the smart MBAs with promises of making millions – or a failure in groupthink…

But a whole bunch of somebodies forgot to put the ancillary costs of offshoring into the equation. From lead laced toys damaging babies, to diaphanous intellectual property protections, to drywall which killed people because of the use of cheaper – poisonous chemicals… The real cost of manufacturing in China is much higher than the wage level would indicate. Thank goodness some folks finally got a clue.

The issue in the South is productivity. American productivity far surpasses that of any other country – and is significantly higher than Chinas. So while the payroll part of manufacturing in China is cheaper – the cost per completed piece is actually higher. Same issue in the South. When you start looking at where your educated workforce is…

It isn’t by and large …There. Meaning productivity is again higher in those old tried and true rust belt states. Further is the cost of conservatives. That is – as long as southern conservatives are dedicated to fighting the Civil War – the number of discrimination lawsuits, and level of employee friction is going to be through the roof, hampering full productivity. Lastly – as recent laws introduced and passed by conservative red state legislatures – such as the anti-immigrant legislation in Georgia where the state’s agricultural workforce was decimated…

You don’t know what stupid, business killing thing they are going to come up with next. Like declaring war on your largest foreign customer.

It’s early – but the “Rust Belt” right about now is looking pretty damn good.

The Revenge of the Rust Belt: How the Midwest Got Its Groove Back

We’re not used to thinking of the old industrial Midwest as a beacon of good news. Just the opposite. It’s Exhibit A in the story of America’s economic decline — a land of hollowed-out factory towns and shrinking cities. There’s an entire genre of photography dedicated to Detroit’s decaying cityscape alone.

Yet, it may be time to rethink that view. Because there are signs that the heart of the rust belt may be finally shaking off its rust.

For the past thirty years or so, there have been two great running narratives about American manufacturing, both of which have been disastrous for the Midwest’s economy. The first has been about the disappearing factory worker — how by shipping some jobs abroad and replacing others with machines, companies have figured out ways to produce more goods with millions of fewer employees on their assembly lines. The second narrative has been about migration — the decision by companies to move production away from once-booming industrial centers of the north, to southern states with weaker unions and lower wages.

Both of those trends, it appears, may have drawn to an end.  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2012 in News

 

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Musical history of the blues found in juke joints – CBS News

A few of the old Juke Joints still survive. Wynton Marsalis takes on a trip down History Lane finding several Juke Joints still operating.
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Musical history of the blues found in juke joints

In a downhome neighborhood on the outskirts of Birmingham, Ala., Rita James bought an abandoned building and built a happy home for the blues. Her tiny, unmarked Red Wolf club invites the entire community.

Just four years old, The Red Wolf is a real juke joint. It’s roots go all the way back to Emancipation. In the old South, poverty made life more extreme. So folks found barns, shacks, anywhere – to play, sing and dance their sorrows away. Over time, these places became known as juke joints. Within their walls the blues were born.

Every Wednesday night, Wilson takes the microphone and gets the people on their feet. But it’s the music that brings them together.

“I just make them feel good,” Wilson said. “That’s just me period. Anywhere. I make the crippled feel good – make them think they can walk again.”

First-timer BJ Miller drove 500 miles from St. Louis for a chance to blow her trombone in a place where spirits are served, and freed.

“It’s not that they just serve alcohol,” Miller said. “It’s that they are serving musicians the opportunity to express themselves – and that’s not everywhere.”

“The blues has good and sad, so it’s for good too,” Wilson said. “And you know I like the blues. I like music period, I like all music, so music cheer me on and make me feel good.”

The blues are good for the soul. Their rhythms are inseparable from the American identity, and they’re not naive. The blues tell us bad things happen all the time, and they do, and we can engage with them. The blues are like a vaccine. If you want to get rid of something, give yourself a little bit of it, and when the real thing comes – you’re ready for it.

If Rita has any say in the matter, they’ll be an integral and constant part of the future. Wilson said her club will stay open, “until I drop.”

 

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Herman Cain 999 Plan…Stolen from SIM City Game? SimAmerica…Indeed.

How stupid are conservatives, again?

It’s pretty damn bad when your “signature” proposal to cure what ails the country…

Is stolen from a Video Game!

What next? The Army dressed up in Marvel Comics Superhero costumes?

Screen Shot of a Sim City Game

Herman Cain 999 Plan: Did It Come From SimCity?

In Herman Cain’s America, the tax code would be very, very simple: The corporate income tax rate would be 9 percent, the personal income tax rate would be 9 percent and the national sales tax rate would be 9 percent.

But there’s already a 999 plan out there, in a land called SimCity.

Long before Cain was running for president and getting attention for his 999 plan, the residents of SimCity 4 — which was released in 2003 — were living under a system where the default tax rate was 9 percent for commercial taxes, 9 percent for industrial taxes and 9 percent for residential taxes. (That is, of course, if you didn’t use the cheat codes to get unlimited money and avoid taxes altogether.)

There has been all sorts of speculation about where Cain came up with the idea for his catchy plan — Unnamed economic advisers? A clever marketing promotion pulled from the pizza industry? — but beyond a few hardcore gamers in the comments sections of blogs, few have looked to SimCity, the land where there’s a “God mode.”

Kip Katsarelis, a senior producer for Maxis, the company that created the SimCity series, was excited that politicians may be looking to video games for ideas.

“We encourage politicians to continue to look to innovative games like SimCity for inspiration for social and economic change,” said Katsarelis. “While we at Maxis and Electronic Arts do not endorse any political candidates or their platforms, it’s interesting to see GOP candidate Herman Cain propose a simplified tax system like one we designed for the video game SimCity 4.”

Adopting such a simple tax structure, Katsarelis said, would allow fantasy political leaders to focus their energy on infrastructure and national security. “Our game design team thought that an easy to understand taxation system would allow players to focus on building their cities and have fun thwarting giant lizard attacks, rather than be buried by overly complex financial systems.”

When asked about similarities between Cain’s plan and SimCity’s default tax rates, Cain campaign spokesman JD Gordon replied, “Well, we all like 9-9-9.”

Rich Lowrie, the Ohio Wells Fargo employee who is the brains behind Cain’s plan, did not return a request for comment regarding whether he is a fan of SimCity and looked to the game for inspiration.

One other thing of note about Mr. Cain today… Appears he’s sewn up the bigot vote! Although it’s unclear if that alone is enough to win the whole South anymore.

Haley Barbour Predicts Herman Cain Would ‘Sweep The South’ Against Obama

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2011 in Black Conservatives

 

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