Contemplating "Convenient Age and Memory"

"My ancestors owned slaves all,
but if you really think about it,
I'm hurtin' as much as y'all."
(Thanks, Field Negro!)

Really quickly before the "Stages" series continues: Field Negro found this article written by a Southern Republican Kyle-Anne Shiver in which she denounces Haley Barbour and all that jazz, but at the same time is a flawless example of what we lowly folks of color tend to call white hypocrisy.

You know how people of color always tend to remember history a bit more easily and clearly than white folks?  And how we're always given the brush-off about how it was sooooo long ago and how nobody else (read: nobody white) even remembers "all that crap"?

Peep this from the article of "Missy Anne":
I sincerely doubt that Haley Barbour holds any genuinely racist beliefs. But he has made and continues to make comments – in a most Southern, Southern drawl — that have made even this native Southerner cringe....

Like Governor Barbour, I am as Southern as they come, born and bred in Atlanta a mere two generations removed from a plantation in Mississippi. I’m four years younger than Mr. Barbour, which gives me an even better excuse for being too young to have been a segregationist, much less a slaveholder or plantation mistress. But even I have strong, vivid memories of the Civil Rights movement and of the Jim Crow segregation that spawned it.

Two of the first words I learned to read as a young child were “white” and “colored.” ...Those words are still painful to me in ways that might be hard to fathom by my generational peers from other regions. And I’m white. As far as I’m concerned, one would need to have the sensibility of an orange or be born after 1970 not to feel a sharp pain in his soul over Jim Crow and the whole host of indignities to real human beings because of it.

Governor Haley Barbour, I’ve read, has been a good public servant in a state that has had grave problems, many of them stemming from Katrina devastation. He is currently the chairman of the Republican Governors Association and a former chairman of the Republican National Committee. He has served ably in both positions and deserves recognition. But a run for president to unseat the first black president? Hailing from Mississippi? With a record for misconstruing the enormous shame on the soul of the old South?

Mr. Barbour was born in 1947, too late to be held accountable for continuing to uphold a post-Civil-War era code of laws. But I’m even younger, was born in 1951, and the Civil Rights era still amounts to far, far, more than “diddly” to me. I clearly remember the tales of my grandmother’s childhood on the family plantation in Mississippi, where black tenant farmers and their children lived lives completely reminiscent of their slave ancestors. I was in at least the third grade before it dawned on me that the War Between the States had happened nearly a century before I was born, and I could finally rest easily knowing that some guy named Sherman wasn’t actually down the road a piece burning everything in sight. Our parents and grandparents spoke of that war as though it were still going on or had happened the day before yesterday.

I played with the children of my grandmother’s “colored” maid and still remember my own young soul’s recoil over “separate but equal” schools. It took neither a genius nor a saint to fully understand a systematic wrong occurring every single day right under one’s nose.
So...she - and others like her - are too young to have done anything wrong or be held accountable for anything pertaining to modern white supremacy, but at the same time, they're old enough to have immediate ancestors who lived on plantations and were served by Negroes?

But while she - and others like her - are old enough to have been raised by these people, lived and benefited from segregation, they don't hold any "genuinely racist beliefs"? Seriously? Are we seriously expected to buy that?

Just when POC think white desperation and denial can't sink any lower, Merry Christmas! They surprise us yet again.

The message of this article is similar to ones we've heard before:

1) You can't judge the people of that time, because they didn't know better... even though they were self-professed Christians and two thousand years before them, their precious Lamb of God said to "love thy neighbor" and "do unto others as thou wouldst have done unto you."

2) Just because a person can be raised as a plantation princess, or be classified as the "right" skintone during the Jim Crow, doesn't mean they can grow up to be/raise a racist...even though social scientists after social scientists after ignored social scientists have established people are products of their environment, and consciously and subconsciously subject to their conditioning.

3) White folks are supposedly just wounded and haunted about the "whole racism thing" as people of color are...but they somehow manage to get over it.  Wonder why that is?
"I was in at least the third grade before it dawned on me that the War Between the States had happened nearly a century before I was born, and I could finally rest easily knowing that some guy named Sherman wasn’t actually down the road a piece burning everything in sight."
Well...how nice for you, Missy Anne.

Comments

  1. The excerpt from the article just gives me a headache.

    "Those words are still painful to me in ways that might be hard to fathom by my generational peers from other regions. And I’m white. As far as I’m concerned, one would need to have the sensibility of an orange or be born after 1970 not to feel a sharp pain in his soul over Jim Crow and the whole host of indignities to real human beings because of it."

    OMG, LIFE MUST BE SO HARD FOR HER.
    And it's not like people after 1970 don't realize the effects of Jim Crow laws... unless they're white, I guess.

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  2. "I wasn't there", "It wasn't me", "That was a long time ago", "Times were different", "They didn't know any better"... just makes you all warm and sickly inside!

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  3. "Warmy and sickly" - I gotta remember that one.

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  4. Ah Haley Barbour, the bigoted monster who is determined to make Mississippi even more of a shit hole than it already is. Any body who doesn't look at his policies and attempts to destroy his home state and feel a shiver of terror roll up their spine is either an idiot or ...we'll just say something even less pleasant. Here's a hint Haley, that tornado that destroyed your home town this year? That was God saying stop being a jackass.

    I normally try to look at things from a reasonable, nuanced approach, since, as humans, we collectively and individually say and do a lot of stupid shit, but people like that and the people who jump through all these hoops to defend them? Yeah, first against the wall when the revelation comes.

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  5. Why the fuck did I go to the original site and read the comments? Why? Why? Why!

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  6. Whenever I read messages like hers, I feel dumber. I mean seriously, can white people be that dimwitted or so entrenched in their denial to not know what they're saying, or are they saying in their own coded language that they know what happened, and they know what's happening, but they really don't give a damn?

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  7. must be nice to live in such a context free world

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  8. @RVCBard,

    Because you're obviously a masochist.

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  9. @ RVCBard

    Why the fuck did I go to the original site and read the comments?

    Why did you? The excerpts on Field Negro were painful enough for Moi, but I'm guess I'm a masochist too, because Field Negro ended his excerpts on the line about the "colored" maid, but I just had to click over and keep on reading.

    *twitch*

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  10. By the way, bitches like these get on my last nerve because they're totally full of shit. They don't know or understand shit. They don't even stop to realize how unrealistic their claims of pain are, or how what vouching for the likes of Haley Barbour means to POC.


    She felt pain during segregation? She felt pain that her family was wealthy and being serviced by Negroes? Seriously? We're really supposed to believe that a life of privilege and opportunity was painful for her?

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  11. I love Field's blog but I've given up sifting through the bat-shit crazy on his comments site because he has a very laissez-faire mod policy. And no way in hell am I going to the original site because I like my blood pressure right where it is, thanks. (Hope you're okay RVC Bard.)

    "Just when POC think white desperation and denial can't sink any lower, Merry Christmas! They surprise us yet again."

    Indeed. You've always got to brace yourself for a new benchmark of sheer stupidity.

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