The Caddell Derail

"SUMMERVILLE, S.C. – Annie Chambers Caddell, whose ancestors fought in the Civil War, insists the Confederate flag flying over her home is an important reminder of her heritage. But for her neigbors in this tree-shrouded, historically black neighborhood, it's an unpleasant reminder of a by-gone era they'd rather not see every time they pass by her house.

"Caddell, who is white, moved into the Brownsville neighborhood in June and began flying the flag about a month later. Since then, more than 200 residents signed a protest petition, and now neighbors plan to march Saturday along the street in front of Caddell's house.

"...Caddell plans to be on nearby James Island on Saturday for the wedding of a friend who is black. She tearfully told the town council earlier this week that she is not racist.

"She also flies the American flag from her modest brick house, and her yard has various ornaments including a gnome, Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations, and a sign on her fence reading, 'Confederate Boulevard.'

"That flag means a lot more to me than anything I can describe to you," Caddell said. 'It's my heritage and it's my right. I'm not trying to slam anybody, and I wish I wouldn't be slammed either.'

"Violet Saylor, a 74-year-old retired social worker who lives about three blocks away, said the flag brings back to her memories of Jim Crow in the neighborhood she has lived all her life.

"'She shouldn't fly that flag because it represents slavery and the Ku Klux Klan that used to ride through the town and we used to have to turn our lights off and hide behind the shades,'" said Saylor.

"Dexter Mack, 31, the head of the Brownsville neighborhood civic association, lives a street away from Caddell on a block where his family has lived for more than a century. He said he's not sure how many people may turn out Saturday.

"'She has the right to fly the flag but when it offends people, we want her understand and try to come to some kind of agreement where she can take the flag down,'" said Mack, who is black.

But Caddell said that's not something she wants to do.

"'Yes, I could take it down, but what message does that send?' she asked. 'If you don't stand for something, you'll never be anything.'" (Source)
A lot of white Americans say they're not racist.  They claim they "want" to live in a post-racial society, absolutely adore "biracial babies", and oh yes...their ancestors never owned slaves.  It's something POC hear/read at least once a day when a white American, in fact, says or does something racist.  But when they break down and cry, it's not because their feelings are hurt.  They're throwing a tantrum because they've been asked the blasphemously unspeakable: to make an individual sacrifice for the collective good.

The Caddell Derail primary comprises the Sweet Tooth and Happy Montage Thinking.  Not only do people like Annie Caddell think that they can pull stunts like these (and I have feeling there is "stunt thinking" behind this), live amongst black people, and have black friends, but they also try to say racism is "dying out" anyway and that this whole thing will "work itself out" if people of color would just shut up and endure like we're supposed to...because after all, that's what we were designed to do.  Being dehumanized is supposedly our raison d'être.

Just to Clarify

Racism isn't "dying out" - racism is being killed off, by people, and with great difficulty, mind you.  Remember: people designed racism.  People just like Annie Caddell maintain it and give it strength.  And people, living, breathing people - in the past and present - have been beaten, lynched, jailed, and assassinated because of it, where because they were fighting racism, or because they were its everyday target.

The Confederate flag is the flag of lying, thieving, murdering, sadistic racists - deal with it.  In the dark of its flapping shadow, atrocities abounded.  The soldiers who rallied beneath it - many of them poor and illiterate - were recruited by rich white men carrying that same flag and waving its false promises.  If we were to bring those soldiers back from the dead right now, they would be the first to tell people like Caddell to burn the damn thing and spit upon the graves of its owners.  Their homes burned to the ground, their kin, their friends, their very lives were destroyed for that flag, because its owners were so deeply, soullessly selfish and morally deficient.  The Confederate flag is "heritage", all right; a sick and poisoned heritage will which continue to infect American society until its followers finally decide otherwise.

And for the last time, children, the Civil War was about abolishing slavery.  Slavery was the only thing the Southern states unanimously agreed upon; it was the one thing each and every one of them devoutly clung to and unequivocally refused to give up.  And contrary to popular belief, John Brown did help trigger the war.  Because at the time, Lincoln and Jefferson were considering extending slavery another 100 years - up to 1950, when my father would've been 3 years old, mind you - in order to help the South "adjust".  John Brown, his followers, every abolitionist, every enslaved African, and every sane, rational Northerner with a soul disagreed.  And while they talked that extending slavery nonsense, John Brown was executed and sixteen months afterward, the North declared war on the South.

So much for that extra hundred years.

Now for white Americans who claim they want everyone to get just along, understand this here and now: you're going to have to give some things up.  That's the inevitable price of progress; that's the core component of every revolution: those with the most have to give things up.  Why?  Because someone else gave up too much, lost too much, so that people like Annie Caddell could walk up and down this land, a land that isn't theirs to begin with and never will be theirs.

People of color have already given much up.  We're waiting on you.  Make no mistake: there will be no post-racial society until you start giving certain things up.  Consider it one of those things you're not going to get around.  It's a non-negotiable step.  Now, if you're unwilling to take that step - regardless of the reason (seriously...we're not interested) - then you're committing a Caddell Derail and whatever happens next will be all on you.

You can go to your graves crying, "I am not a racist!" all you want, but it won't matter because everyone else will go to theirs remembering very clearly that that's exactly what you were.

So much for preserving your precious image...and heritage.

Recommended

"John Brown" by Abagond

Comments

  1. In the last post I mentioned giving up privilege. To me that means not isolating ourselves, and when in the position to do so not granting opportunities to whites over POC just because it might make us more comfortable to do so. And in situations like the one above as you said not putting ourselves above the common good. Just because someone has the legal right to do something doesn't mean they have the moral right.

    The thing is none of that seems like really giving anything up. Am I missing something? Is there more to it?

    ReplyDelete
  2. not granting opportunities to whites over POC just because it might make us more comfortable to do so

    Giving up the creature comfort of a monochromatic working environment, giving up self-satisfying yet socially damaging behaviors like hoisting Confederate flags, torching Korans, harassing POC via law enforcement, barring them from universities...oh, yeah it's giving up stuff all right.

    It's giving up the "Plan B", the fall back position, the ace up the sleeve, overall control by letting a strict meritocracy take over.

    Caddell didn't have to move to a black neighborhood. She could've gone to a white neighborhood where no one would've batted an eyelash, but she moved here and waited a month before deciding to hoist that thing. She could've just as easily not done so, but she didn't. She just didn't want to "give it up".

    This highlights the irony of the post. WP like Caddell think POC should just "get over it, give it up, and let go of the past", when they themselves have no intention of giving up or getting over anything, and even go so far as to throw massive tantrums when put in a position in which they are asked to do so.

    She clearly has no negative memories of Jim Crow. This is what people like Thaddeus don't get: Caddell cannot and never will fully comprehend the sheer horror of what people like Violet Saylor went through. But she nevertheless has the gall to imply that folks like Saylor need to "get over it."

    ReplyDelete
  3. BlackNarcissus10/17/10, 3:44 PM

    LOL @ White people telling others to let go of the past while wallowing in threaded relics!

    ReplyDelete
  4. "Giving up the creature comfort of a monochromatic working environment, giving up self-satisfying yet socially damaging behaviors like hoisting Confederate flags, torching Korans, harassing POC via law enforcement, barring them from universities...oh, yeah it's giving up stuff all right."

    Right, but that's all crappy stuff anyway. I mean, when I think of a privilege I think of something that is valuable to me, something I don't want to lose. That's why I feel like I'm missing something. If these are things whites are supposedly hanging onto for dear life, shouldn't I feel some resistance as a white person to giving them up? Or is it more likely that most whites don't realize the nature of privilege, and that giving it up would actually be more of a benefit to them than hanging onto it. Once you see it for what it is you want to be as far away from it as possible. This is why i'm interested in recognizing the ways that white people blind themselves to privilege.

    ReplyDelete
  5. If these are things whites are supposedly hanging onto for dear life, shouldn't I feel some resistance as a white person to giving them up?

    As an individual, probably not. As a group, as an institution, however....

    Or is it more likely that most whites don't realize the nature of privilege, and that giving it up would actually be more of a benefit to them than hanging onto it.

    Oh, they realize it. But these are the types of things which give them self-esteem and feelings of security and superiority. There's no incentive to give it up.

    Once you see it for what it is you want to be as far away from it as possible. This is why i'm interested in recognizing the ways that white people blind themselves to privilege.

    But most WP don't WANT to see it for what it is. They just want to be happy and comfortable, and the desperate need for that is quite blinding in and of itself. They don't want to know at whose expense the comfort comes...that would defeat the whole point of being comfortable.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "As a group, as an institution, however...."

    Institutions are made up of individuals. So then individuals may make decisions in regards to the institutions they control that are racist. For example an executive at a television network may choose not to feature POC in lead roles because in his/her view that might cause the network to suffer poor ratings. Even though the person making the decisions doesn't see himself as racist, the view of whites as the norm is reinforced. Would that be an example of what you mean?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Individuals at institutions don't usually make decisions alone, however. There's group thinking involved more often than not. However, your example still works.

    ReplyDelete
  8. "There's group thinking involved more often than not. "

    True. And it can feel quite jarring to resist group think, especially in situations involving race. I've done it at work a few times and I've had to push myself to break consensus even though there isn't much risk of consequence for me.

    Great point about being comfortable. I think that's very true and important because to seek comfort is a natural, intrinsic motivation. That's why you were right on the mark on abagond to recommend not to ending racial discussions with whites on a positive note. if people are comfortable they have no motivation to learn, understand or change anything.

    My desire to understand racism and whiteness was definitely brought on by a need to alleviate social discomfort. Though there will be those that will just run away an insulate themselves further.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ankhesen Mié said...
    "Caddell didn't have to move to a black neighborhood. She could've gone to a white neighborhood where no one would've batted an eyelash, but she moved here and waited a month before deciding to hoist that thing."

    She hails from a race soiled by the comforts of privilege; blind to her condition so much so it fosters an utter and complete lack of empathy for the other. Ironically, by ‘purposely’ moving into this particular neighborhood she found herself to be in the minority maybe for the first time in her life; so naturally as a self-centered white woman she felt threatened by the reversal of circumstance.

    Her ‘instinctive- racial reaction’ was to hoist that symbol high above her home, placing a protective emotional hedge between her and the other. (Course in the historical context of 'this' neighborhood she has become 'the racial other') Invoking the privilege of being able to celebrate racial pride in the very heart of a community not far removed from that peculiar institution. She wanted to declare it for the whole neighborhood to see, lest they forget. Hence, her act of privilege becomes an affront and not the innocent display she makes it out to be.

    "That flag means a lot more to me than anything I can describe to you," Caddell said. 'It's my heritage and it's my right. I'm not trying to slam anybody, and I wish I wouldn't be slammed either.'

    It’s a visual reminder of my God-earned privilege… a reminder that I’m higher than everyone in this neighborhood. The sign erected on her fence reading, 'Confederate Boulevard' should have been a dead giveaway; you damned right she’s a racist, but in the worst way.

    ReplyDelete
  10. It’s a visual reminder of my God-earned privilege… a reminder that I’m higher than everyone in this neighborhood. The sign erected on her fence reading, 'Confederate Boulevard' should have been a dead giveaway; you damned right she’s a racist, but in the worst way.

    Thank you! Brilliant as always, M - she didn't hoist those flags from the get-go; she waited and then went all out.

    By pointing her legal rights, people are derailing a very important discussion. In these situations, Appalachians are often delightfully quick to ask, "Why the hell would she do that? What purpose would it serve doing that? What did she think was going to happen when she did that?" This is self-stroking, "stunt" behavior, topped off with a sicken splash of WWT.

    Here's another question people are dodging like the plague: If a black person had moved into an historically KKK-ridden neighborhood, hoisted Black Panther flags, and started getting harassed left and right, would white folks be so quick to defend their rights?

    Nita "Jade" Hanson married a racist and found herself in the hornets' nest - where were the droves and hordes of white people in her life lining up to have her back? Wasn't it a white person who immediately flung her blackness right back in her face, with the term "nigger" itself, no less?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ankhesen Mié said...
    “By pointing her legal rights, people are derailing a very important discussion. In these situations, Appalachians are often delightfully quick to ask, "Why the hell would she do that? What purpose would it serve doing that? What did she think was going to happen when she did that?" This is self-stroking, "stunt" behavior, topped off with a sicken splash of WWT. “

    This charlatan callously inflicts injury at the other’s expense, releasing tears from the ballast only when her motives are questioned. Subsequently, ‘she’ becomes the injured party and the table is turned; all too aware that any white woman in distress must be comforted. It’s the law I think, (Seinfeld: The Understudy.) Historically- the rights of the privileged have always superseded the rights of the oppressed.

    “Here's another question people are dodging like the plague: If a black person had moved into an historically KKK-ridden neighborhood, hoisted Black Panther flags, and started getting harassed left and right, would white folks be so quick to defend their rights?”

    No, there would be no comfort- understanding or the slightest sympathy for the family foolish enough to raise a Black Panther flag in a community hostile to POC. Even in a community that considers itself 'tolerant' of the other there would be hostility; of this I have no doubt. “That’s what happens to troublemakers, “whites would say… “They got just what they deserved,” others would pine.

    It would be viewed as an affront to the community, an act steeped in racial bigotry. Proof-positive that blacks can be racist too. In stark contrast to the white woman who simply stood up for her rights.

    ReplyDelete
  12. "She tearfully told the town council earlier this week that she is not racist."

    What a load of BS! I'm not buying her crocodile tears. If all she really wanted was to remember her heritage, why didn't she hang her flag up INSIDE her home? Then she could gaze at it lovingly all day if she liked. The fact that she hung it OUTSIDE her house shows that she's making some public statement to her neighbours. Her life must be really boring for her to seek attention this way.

    ReplyDelete
  13. If all she really wanted was to remember her heritage, why didn't she hang her flag up INSIDE her home? Then she could gaze at it lovingly all day if she liked.

    $64,000-question, love.

    ReplyDelete
  14. What Ms. Weepy seems to forget that is that that flag represents her neighbors' heritage, too. It's just that she'd rather forget about what their heritage means to them, forget about what her heritage means to them. And she'd really rather not think about what other groups have adopted and still use that symbol, or what her real motives might be in choosing to fly that particular flag in her neighborhood.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Whiteness is always telling black people they need to get over slavery and yet they keep freaking bringing it up with their precious confederacy nonsense.

    ReplyDelete
  16. @ NoDak608

    Excellently stated. She wants people to see her POV, but she has no intention of doing the same thing.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I agree with the point that if we could bring back Confederate soldiers most of them would curse the very idea of what they "fought" for. Most of the "fodder" for the civil war was immigrants, poor white people and blacks. The rich white men always do an awesome job of convincing poor white people they are "apart of them" in their time of need. And its so funny how poor white people fall for the shit. This lady is a fucking idiot. Typical delusional racist. I say they call code enforcement or take matters into their own hands. Its more than one way to skin a cat. The neighbors could send hate mail, make anonymous phone calls and shoot paintballs at the flag lol .. because logic isn't going to work with this woman

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

This blog is strictly moderated. Everyone is now able to comment again, however, all Anonymous posts will be immediately deleted. Comments on posts more than 30 days old are generally dismissed, so try to stay current with the conversations.