Brooks highlighted this article on his blog. As he pointed out, the comments section is rich.
It’s written by Sonia Kuguru, a sophomore at Wake Forest University from Nairobi.
Ms. Kuguru writes about her reaction to seeing a confederate battle flag on the back of a fellow student in math class. While talking about her actions, she specifically states she’s not trying to tell others what to do. She’s simply giving her reactions. She says, “It is evident, nationally and internationally, that the Confederate flag is associated with hate groups, anti-Semitism and selective breeding.” One would think that she would know what it’s associated with in her native country, and thus has some idea of what it’s associated with “internationally.”
She continues, “Groups such as the White Citizens Council, neo-Nazi groups, the Confederate Society of America, the United Daughters of the Confederacy and, most notably, the Ku Klux Klan, all use the flag as a symbol of what they stand for: Aryan supremacy.”
I confess I hadn’t heard of “the Confederate Society of America” before this, so I went to their website. This is nothing but another bunch of racist wackadoodles. Here’s what the website has to say: “They have been quite the opposite & have elevated & altered the ‘profile’ of the central Government beginning in 1867 with their bogus 13th, 14th & 15th Amendments that clearly, Re-Purposed government in their own image. To this end and with the beginning of the 20th Century, the National Government took greater ‘goose-steps’ forward in their ‘re-definement’ of the Founders intended Government.”
So, what did the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments do? Ended slavery, made citizens of African-Americans, and gave the vote to African-American men.
Here’s another gem from their website:
“White Christians in Europe once prayed for deliverance from barbarians — from those raiding, raping, murdering, enslaving Vikings–from ‘those Danes–those men of the North.’ At first, Christians paid extortion money to stop the invading Danes.
” As long as they paid the Dane geld, they never got rid of the Danes. Once they ‘wised up,’ and took up arms against the invaders, however, they enabled God’s vengeance and, finally, were freed from the Vikings.
“Sad to say, modern barbarians — modern Vikings, now live among us. Most of them wear American faces, so look just like us. Some of them are the offspring of those 2nd Wave Vikings, the 19th century Vikings, under the micro-management of Abe Lincoln, slew or mutilated our Southern people—babies and all.”
Now, I don’t know that the current UDC has any white supremacist goals. Mildred Lewis Rutherford can certainly be shown to have white supremacist goals, but thus far I haven’t seen evidence of this in the modern UDC. So right now, absent compelling evidence, I would have to disagree with her about the UDC.
Ms. Kuguru says, “Many students on campus feel that the flag reinforces their nationalistic love for their region–but forget that this region stood in the way of abolition, and stood strong in support for slavery. Why is it that this is something to be proud of? Slavery, whether we like to admit it or not, is inherently a part of the Confederate flag conversation as well as it’s [sic] ensuing state’s rights/civil war argument.”
She continues, “The use of nostalgia, or even worse, ignorance to justify flying the Confederate flag is discrediting your own Wake Forest intellect while devaluing the legacy of slavery in the South and stripping black Americans of their history.”
Finally, she says, “For Southern enthusiasts, there is beauty in sweet tea, open porches, the religion of football, seersucker and no-white-after-Labor-Day, things that are inherently Southern. Know that there is a way to be proud of one’s Southern heritage without sporting the Confederate flag.”
Ms. Kuguru correctly identifies the linkage of the confederate battle flag with slavery and white supremacy, and she correctly points out that one can demonstrate pride in southern heritage without the CBF. All in all, she has written a reasonable opinion piece.
One commenter claims, “The war has been over for 137 years.” I suppose one could argue about when the war ended. The legal end of the war came with Andrew Johnson’s proclamation in 1866 proclaiming the rebellion at an end in Texas. See here, through page 817. This person apparently thinks the war ended in 1876. Perhaps he’s using the election of Ulysses S. Grant.
He claims, ” Many hate groups have gravitated toward the historical flag. But it is also true these very same groups also use other symbols that are loved and cherished by millions of people. The pinnacle of the Ku Klux Klan was in the 1920s. They boasted over a million members with national leadership in Ohio and Illinois. Yet the most careful photographic scrutiny of the era will fail to reveal a single Confederate flag. One will however find the American flag and the Christian cross in profusion. These symbols are mainstays even today for hate groups. The difference is that patriotic Americans and Christians already have a context for these symbols. The icons cannot be co-opted because they already mean something else. This is also precisely why Southerners continue to love the Battle flag in the face of so much bad publicity. The flag already has meaning and context.” Certainly it already has meaning and context. It was used by soldiers whose victory would have meant the preservation of legal slavery. It was used in 1948 by the “Dixiecrats,” aka the States Rights Party (platform here) whose rallying cry was “Segregation Forever!” It was used in the 1950s and 1960s to oppose civil rights for African-Americans. Images here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
The commenter continues, ” what the shamrock is to the Irish or the Star of David is to Jews, the Battle Flag is to most Southerners. There is enough historical baggage to encumber any of these symbols, but there is more to admire.” So what is the historical baggage that accompanies the shamrock? What historical baggage encumbers the Star of David?
He then delves into the largely discredited views of Grady McWhiney’s Cracker Culture showing his views based on faulty history.
Another commenter suggests Ms. Kuguru “Read a book” and then links to the website of the Kennedy Brothers, who have published some proconfederate propaganda that lacks credibility.
One member of the SHPG claims, “Sonia my dear, you are not only widely wrong about virtually everything you said in regards to the Dixie Cross (battle flag) but it is obvious you are to me the very thing you claim to hate most: an intolerant agent of bigotry.” Hilarious. He says, “First off, your claim that the world recognizes that flag as a symbol of hate groups is so far off the mark I could not begin to point out its falsehoods so I will just have to settle with a few examples …” That’s not exactly what she said, and as I pointed out she has firsthand knowledge of what one part of the world outside the US thinks of the CBF. He asks, “how can you claim to speak of diversity when you advocate to Southerners that, out of respect for ill-informed people like yourself, they should put away a symbol that for many of us is no different that the Shamrock for Irishmen, the Star of David to Jewish people, the colors of black, green, and gold to Black people, and so forth?” Since Ms. Kuguru is not “ill-informed,” his entire argument is fallacious. To claim that the CBF is no different from a shamrock or a Star of David is simply ridiculous. He talks about “the colors of black, green, and gold to Black people.” This is yet another ridiculous claim. The colors black, green and gold have no significance to African-Americans. He is probably confused and is trying to reference the Pan-African colors, which he has botched. He later quotes an SCV resolution “deploring the use of the Confederate Battle Flag by Hate Groups.” Those hate groups are simply using it in its historically correct context, and I suspect the SCV knows it.
Someone named “Confederate Mike” shows his ignorance of history:
” yes secession was indeed partially caused by the peculiar institution of slavery, which was by the way fully protected by the American Constitution across the entire land and the North also profited from it greatly.” Apparently, Mr. Mike has not read any of the Declarations of Causes of the Seceding States, nor read any of the letters and speeches of the secession commissioners. His claim that slavery was protected by the Constitution is a non sequitur. Whether or not slavery was protected by the Constitution has nothing to do with the fact that the confederates were attempting to protect slavery from a perceived threat to its existence. Same for his claim about “the North” profiting from it.
He continues, “That being said, they may have seceded, but Lincoln started The War.” He apparently thinks Lincoln ordered the firing on Fort Sumter. He says, “The first Southern States referenced slavery, the remaining, such as Virginia, only seceded due to Lincoln’s act of aggression towards The entire South.” Not quite, Mr. Mike. The actual story is a bit more complicated. You can start here: https://studycivilwar.wordpress.com/2012/12/02/he-started-the-war-on-purpose/
He says, “They were there for their Sister States as 75,000 were called upon to invade and destroy their land.” Dramatic, but not quite accurate. They were there for their sister slave states and for the institution of slavery as 75,000 were called upon to put down an illegal rebellion, thus posing another threat to slavery.
He says, “As well, the vast majority of Yanks also considered blacks as being 3/5 human” This shows he has no conception about the 3/5 clause. The 3/5 clause didn’t say African-Americans were 3/5 of a human. It said that for purposes of representation and for taxation, they would be counted as 3/5 of a person. Mr. Mike should one day read what happened in the Federal Convention.
He says, “All of you Yankee Doctors and Professors always conveniently omit and deny the fact that Lincoln only proceeded with the Emancipation as a military strategy. That’s it !!!”
More drama, and a false claim. Every history of the EP I’ve read certainly shows that it was a military measure. I guess if one never reads anything by a real historian, one can only imagine what they write about and don’t write about.
He continues, “You’re the first ones to quote Alexander Stephens, but everyone avoids quoting Lincoln’s many proclamations about his numerous views of African Folks and how they would never be equal.” Apparently, Mr. Mike has never read what Lincoln had to say, only what others claim Lincoln said. This would be a good topic for a future post.
He claims, “Battle wise, Lincoln was getting his Yankee ass kicked for almost the entire first two years of the conflict, hence he came up, out of desperation, with the Emancipation as a military strategy regarding a great number of logistical reasons, which you should all be familiar with…”
He apparently hasn’t heard of Shiloh, Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, and the fall of New Orleans to start with. The confederacy lost territory almost continuously from the start of the war. Mr. Mike apparently doesn’t think the Western Theater was part of the war. It’s quite true that Lincoln issued the EP as a war measure, believing the war couldn’t be won without it. So what?
Another genius contributes, “By your owns words you have been in American barely two years. For this reason, I don’t believe you are a descendant of a Union or Confederate soldier or a slave. Therefore, you don’t have a “dog in the hunt,” therefore you CANNOT possibly understand the meaning of the Confederate Flag.” Therefore, Mr. Terry, since you don’t have any family members who have ever been to Mars, you will never possibly understand anything about that planet. Do you have any family members in the Obama White House? If not, then by your own peculiar form of “logic,” you cannot possibly understand anything about it or the policies of the Obama Administration.
He says, “Please don’t further disrespect our First Amendment freedom of speech/press by engaging your pen to write hatred for the Confederate Flag before engaging your brain. Please keep your opinions about the Confederate Flag to yourself, or if you dislike the flag so much, and the fact that some Americans chose to display the Confederate Flag, you are free to return to your mother country.” In other words, if you can’t praise the soldiers of the slaveocracy, you have no right to express yourself according to this person. And if you don’t like the CBF, then according to this person, leave. Well fine, Mr. Terry. If you don’t like the United States, leave. If you don’t like the fact that people have a right to express themselves, leave. Don’t like Lincoln? By your own “logic,” then, leave. Delta is ready when you are.
Another contributor says, “Ya’ll try reading Lincoln’s 1st Inaugural Address, CLOSELY. He specifically lays out the DETAILS for WAR while DENYING it has anything to do with slavery. remember, this is LINCOLN’S public address concerning his election, on his 1st day as president. Meaning this document/article was more important than a campaign speech or any other speech he had given. He was defining the opening of his presidency, what he would and wouldn’t do. He done this in the most open and public way possible, and in order to get the best effects from his speech.” Apparently this person hasn’t read the First Inaugural at all. He claims, “He didn’t care about the slavery issue at all. It didn’t matter what ANY state did concerning slavery, particularly the South.” Lincoln did say that he had no purpose to interfere with the institution of slavery in those states in which it existed, he did say he had no objection to the Corwin Amendment, and he did say he would enforce the Fugitive Slave Law. So what? He was saying he would abide by the law. Lincoln’s record opposing slavery was clear for his entire career. From the Inaugural, “One section of our country believes slavery is right and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong and ought not to be extended. This is the only substantial dispute.” Anyone who’s read anything Lincoln wrote or said would know Lincoln believed slavery was wrong.
This contributor claims, “He stated that ANY state, specifically any state that didn’t pay its’ Federal taxes would be dealt with, and possible severely.” Lincoln said, specifically, “The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere.” So this contributor deliberately misstated what Lincoln said. Lincoln said he would enforce the revenue laws and “hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government.” Is it any wonder the President would enforce laws?
Our contributor next goes further into his fantasy land: “Never mind the South was already paying app. 87% of the nations taxes, and it was about to go over 90%.” That is a complete lie, which I’ve already shown to be false here. He continues, “Never mind that only app. 4.5% of the Southern People owned slaves.” This is an example of how to lie with statistics. He ignores the fact that about a third of the families in the confederacy owned slaves. He continues, “Never mind that slavery was still Constitutional and was still legal in some Northern States.” Slavery was not legal in any Northern state with the exception of the 18 residual slaves in New Jersey, which forbade any new slaves. He claims, “Never mind that Lincoln committed treason himself by breaking the US Constitution by attacking another state, which was unconstitutional.” Obviously this guy has no clue about what Treason is. These heritage instead of history types don’t even have the intellect to read the Constitution correctly. He says, “Never mind that Lincoln is Obama’s favorite president. I see many connections for this!” Wow, they really hate having an African-American president, don’t they?
Someone named “Rebel,” says the following (all spellings remain the same as in the original post): “The U.S flag in todays society represents more hate and racism than my confederate “battle” flag.Ever heard the term minority.Thats the most discriminating thing in this country.I as a white man do not qualify for business loans and home loans because of the color of my skin.If I was black it wouldnt matter but im not.My flag hasnt changed its meaning since its creation and it stands for real freedom for all who honor it regarless of color show me anything that disproves that.When real freedom rings the south will have risen from the ashes
and its true meaning will be realized by all.We arent taught to hate or discriminate and never have been.” And they wonder why they’re seen as racists.
“Confederate Mike” reappears and says, “Folks like Sonia deliberately waste everyone’s time and cause aggravation to the ones who know better by writing these ill-informed articles without having taken the time to understand the full picture. She insults Southern Heritage, therefore she should be fully prepared to receive retaliation in some way, shape or form.” Wow. So if you write the truth about the CBF, as Ms. Kuguru did, then the massively historically ignorant heritage instead of history crowd will retaliate. Good to know. He says, “I’ve lost my patients a long time ago.” He must be a horrible doctor. 😉
As we’ve seen time after time again, the heritage instead of history crowd has no idea about accurate history, and they don’t care. They simply put forward inane, inaccurate, illogical claims that only show their own ignorance and their own
The people who insult Southern Heritage the most are the same people who advocate Southern Heritage. They never fail to amuse me with their vehemence or lack of historical knowledge. Furthermore they often reveal their lack of knowledge as to how the federal government works, but then there is a very strong connection between these Southern Heritage folks and a deranged form of Libertarian Conservatism which contradicts itself repeatedly. As we’ve mentioned before, their arguments often follow the same cyclic nature with the same limited use of actual facts used out of context followed by repeated statesments that are completely wrong. It’s like a chain reaction with them.
I agree completely, Jimmy. It seems their only conception of the south is an image of four short years, and an inaccurate image at that.
Craig Maus, the president of the Confederate Society of America, is a former state chairman of the Council of Conservative Citizens, which is the successor to the white Citizens’ Councils organized in the 1950s to oppose desegregation in the South.
Maus also claims the title of President of the Executive Council of the “provisional government of the Confederate States of America.” He and his Secretary of State, William Patterson, were “impeached” last year by the Supreme Court of the other “provisional government of the Confederate States of America.” Good times.
Thanks for the info, Andy. It seems from looking at the website that only a couple people are involved in writing their “articles.”
Sadly, I don’t know where General Charles Goodson of the “New Confederate Army” falls within the hierarchy of either of these organizations.
Chief Money Launderer? 🙂
An otherwise fantastic post, but I have a real problem with the following: “”…I as a white man do not qualify for business loans and home loans because of the color of my skin.If I was black it wouldnt matter but im not….” And they wonder why they’re seen as racists.”
Would you have called him racist if he were a black person in the first 1/2 of the 20th century who was pointing out that most universities won’t admit blacks?
Would you call this victim of soft racism racist for trying to work within a racist subsystem of society? http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/09/08/a-white-guy-named-michael-couldnt-get-his-poem-published-then-he-became-yi-fen-chou/
I’m glad you liked the post.
African-Americans in the first half of the 20th Century, and arguably today, faced real discrimination, not delusions of being discriminated against while enjoying privilege in society due to the color of their skin.
As to the article, that’s not an example of racism. His poem wasn’t judged good enough to be published by forty journals. Since pictures aren’t included with submissions, how would the editors know his race? Part of the reason it was chosen for the anthology was the editor was captivated by a presumably Chinese-American poet who approached his work in a decidedly non-Chinese manner. Plenty of other white poets are included in the anthology, so it’s not a case of his being discriminated against because of his race. You’re trying to present false comparisons.
The editors could easily judge his race by his name. I’m pretty sure the name “Michael Derrick Hudson” sounds like a white name, and “Yi-Fen Chou” sounds Chinese.
What happened to Michael is that he could not get published the poem published in 40 attempts. He got the poem published with the Chinese pen name in 10 attempts.
From there, the poem was a candidate for Best American Poetry. Its editor, Sherman Alexie, outright admitted he was biased towards the poem because of the Chinese name. Read his admission and keep in mind that he is Native American: http://blog.bestamericanpoetry.com/the_best_american_poetry/2015/09/like-most-every-poet-i-have-viewed-the-publication-of-each-years-best-american-poetry-with-happiness-i-love-that-poem-je-1.html
“I paid more initial attention to his poem because of my perception and misperception of the poet’s identity. Bluntly stated, I was more amenable to the poem because I thought the author was Chinese American.
Here, I could offer you many examples of white nepotism inside the literary community. I could detail entire writing careers that have been one long series of handshakes and hugs among white friends and colleagues. I could list the white poets who have been selected by their white friends for each of the previous editions of Best American Poetry. But that would be just grandstanding. It’s also grandstanding for me to accuse white folks of nepotism without offering any real evidence. This whole damn essay is grandstanding.
So what’s the real reason why I’m not naming names? It’s because most white writers who benefit from white nepotism are good writers. That feels like a contradiction. But it’s not.
And, hey, guess what? In paying more initial attention to Yi-Fen Chou’s poem, I was also practicing a form of nepotism. I am a brown-skinned poet who gave a better chance to another supposed brown-skinned poet because of our brownness.
So, yes, of course, white poets have helped their white friends and colleagues because of nepotism. And, yes, of course, brown poets have helped their brown friends and colleagues because of nepotism. And, yes, because of nepotism, brown and white poets have crossed racial and cultural lines to help friends and colleagues.
Nepotism is as common as oxygen.
But, in putting Yi-Fen Chou in the “maybe” and “yes” piles, I did something amorphous. I helped a total stranger because of racial nepotism.
I was practicing a form of literary justice that can look like injustice from a different angle. And vice versa.”
Bottom line, there’s no difference between de facto discrimination on eligibility for loans today, explicit university discrimination long ago, and de facto racial favoritism AKA soft or implicit racism today. They’re all racist to some degree.
So it’s your position that the forty journals were only going to publish Chinese poets. And it’s also your position that you can tell a person’s race by their name. Really? You want to go there? Are you a member of a confederate heritage group?
I went to school with classmates named Steve Pruitt, Dave Stephens, Mary Ann Singleton, and John Randolph. Tell me, which of those named classmates were white? What’s the ethnic background of actress Amy Hill?
Bottom line here is you’ve just shown you can’t be taken seriously.
Secondly, there is a huge difference between actual racism and your faulty idea of racism. Those forty journals probably wouldn’t have published the poem no matter what the poet’s name may have been. The editors didn’t think it was what they wanted. And he submitted the poem to nine other journals under the false Chinese name. Only one journal published it. So the poem wasn’t deemed worthy of being published by forty-eight out of forty-nine journals.
Look at the poets who were published. What percentage of them were white? I’d say that would rule out any racism against white folks involved in publishing poetry whatsoever.
Sorry, but you’ve engaged in simplistic, superficial thinking about this. Your entire argument is specious with no foundation.
Have a nice evening.
“So it’s your position that the forty journals were only going to publish Chinese poets. And it’s also your position that you can tell a person’s race by their name. Really? You want to go there? Are you a member of a confederate heritage group?”
Would you think a person named Dmitrii Tolstoi was black or Native American, or anything other than a Ukrainian, Byelorussian, Russian, or possibly native Siberian? I didn’t think so. And since you can’t refute my argument, there you go with the Confederate smear. In reality, you’re attacking a person who despises the Confederacy as much as you do. They wanted slavery and were happy to commit treason to keep it. I don’t want to see their flag outside of a museum.
“I went to school with classmates named Steve Pruitt, Dave Stephens, Mary Ann Singleton, and John Randolph. Tell me, which of those named classmates were white? What’s the ethnic background of actress Amy Hill?”
I could easily guess every single one of them was white. The reality of their ethnicity doesn’t matter, the guess a person does based on their name does. That’s what Michael fell victim to.
“Bottom line here is you’ve just shown you can’t be taken seriously.”
That is either some serious psychological projection, or a Fehlleistung. You are a person arguing that a man wasn’t a victim of racism because the racism consisted of guesses.
“Secondly, there is a huge difference between actual racism and your faulty idea of racism. Those forty journals probably wouldn’t have published the poem no matter what the poet’s name may have been. The editors didn’t think it was what they wanted. And he submitted the poem to nine other journals under the false Chinese name. Only one journal published it. So the poem wasn’t deemed worthy of being published by forty-eight out of forty-nine journals.”
Those two submission methods are different due to different guesses of ethnicity caused by names, they can’t be combined. Michael had a 0% success rate as a white person, and a 10% success rate as an Asian person. Considering how many times first-time successful authors have been rejected in the past, a 10% success rate for a first-time author is above par.
“Look at the poets who were published. What percentage of them were white? I’d say that would rule out any racism against white folks involved in publishing poetry whatsoever.”
Look at my quote of Alexie. What percentage of the quote consisted of him saying he engaged in a soft form of racism?
“Sorry, but you’ve engaged in simplistic, superficial thinking about this. Your entire argument is specious with no foundation.”
Your wishful thinking doesn’t make it so. Yet another projection or Fehlleistung.
“Would you think a person named Dmitrii Tolstoi was black or Native American, or anything other than a Ukrainian, Byelorussian, Russian, or possibly native Siberian? I didn’t think so.”
Your problem is you don’t think. We don’t know what that person’s ethnicity is because of intermarriage, people who like names from other cultures, and people changing their names. Only an idiot would claim they know a person’s ethnicity based on their name. You can speculate as to whether or not an ethnicity is probable, but you can’t say you know.
“I could easily guess every single one of them was white. The reality of their ethnicity doesn’t matter, the guess a person does based on their name does. That’s what Michael fell victim to.”
You’re wrong again. Every single one of the classmates I named were African Americans. Amy Hill is Asian-American. So as I said, you can’t be taken seriously.
“You are a person arguing that a man wasn’t a victim of racism because the racism consisted of guesses.”
And now you have no clue about what you’re reading.
I think I’ve spent enough time on you this time around, troll. Nothing you have in the rest of your post is worth commenting on because you lack the intelligence to understand what either of us are saying.