Yet Another Problem Neoconfederates Have

. Much of what they write and believe is racist.

Here’s an example that showcases not only this problem but others as well.

This post quoting Brandon Hicks, a member of “The Committee” at Washington and Lee University, was placed on the Virginia Flaggers Facebook page.  Let’s take a look at some of the comments:

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Here we see some massive ignorance and a bit of racism.  Notice the first post:  “stick it to whitey any way they can.”  Wow, 38 “Likes,” including this:

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The second post asks, “When are they ever in the crypt anyway?”  This shows ignorance on the part of the person who posted it.  The crypt is in the lower floor of the chapel.  The upper floor is where the flags were.  Some would say that the flags weren’t visible from outside the Memorial Room that contained the recumbent statue of Lee.  The flags weren’t visible in photographs taken from the rear of the chapel.  But, as we can see,

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the flags are visible from the front of the chapel, and if one is looking from one of the side pews, the flags would be visible even further back.  It’s called “perspective.”  Your perspective changes depending on where you are in the room.  Notice that ignorant comment got 34 “Likes” including:

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And let’s take a look at the five replies to that particular comment:

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One person wants to close the law school over this.  Then we have “California has thousands of black law students they pushed through the system that can’t pass the bar.”  This comment was “Liked” by Dustin Gregory Smith and C. J. Lewis.

The final comment of this first group of comments reads, “U.S Grant bought and owned slaves until forced to free them and said, ‘If I thought that this war was to abolish slavery, I would resign my commission and offer my sword to the other side.’ Four slave states remained in the union and West Virginia joined the union as a slave state after the Emancipation Proclamation.”  As has been shown repeatedly, this is all nonsense.  Grant owned one slave in his life, William Jones, whom he freed in 1859, not because he was forced to do so.  He never said the quote attributed to him, and West Virginia wasn’t allowed to join the Union until they had enacted emancipation in their state constitution.  That four slave states remained loyal doesn’t change the fact that eleven seceded to protect slavery.  There’s no coincidence that the slave states that remained loyal were the four that had the least percentage of their population enslaved.

Here’s the next group of comments:

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The first comment is hilarious.  “W&L should have mandatory true history classes.”  That’s great, because Mr. Causey wouldn’t pass the class if he managed to get admitted and take the class.  The next person rails about his GGGGrandfather “being disrespected in his own school.”  This guy doesn’t know history, and as to his family’s bloodline, it’s true the vast majority of the country couldn’t care less about it.  A responder said, “Your Grandfather was REAL American hero just like Jefferson Davis and Stonewall Jackson.”  Well, Jefferson Davis and Stonewall Jackson were arguably American heroes during the Mexican War.  During the Civil War, they were traitors to America.  That’s just a fact.

Next we have an overtly racist comment:  “Black entertainment television offends me. The black shopping network offends me. Miss black America offends me. Ebony magazine offends me. The united negro college fund offends me. The black panthers offend me. Affirmative action offends me. The NBA offends me. The black congressional caucus offends me. The all black fraternities and sororities offend me. Because I’m a white man I’ll just have to get over it. NOT!”  There are 36 “Likes” to this comment:  Nicole Dollins, Nancy L. Scholz, David Boyett, C. J. Vandergriff, Delores Baugh Goneau, Kent M. Walls, Eve Davenport Holder, Wayne Unger, Rob Mikell, Lu-Ann Clenney, Frances Roy, Christian Erickson, Kyle Tefft, Hubert Cash, Casey Moses Chamberlain, Lynn Hammond, Scott and Stephanie Boehm, James Hutchinson, Barbara Hathaway, Rodney Cool, Lloyd Gilbreath, Mark Lockheart, C. J. Lewis, Jeannie Casey Damron, Greg Duvall, Kimberly Thurston, Travis Gaddy, Jamie Lee Surber, Valencia Hylton Bowman, Arnold Simpson, Sherry McKinney Smith, Susan C. Griffin, Stacey Schultz, Dustin Gregory Smith, Tom Mccrea [sic], and Alan White.

Susan Hathaway then chimes in saying that the students “never ‘sat in that room’ to begin with.”  How does she know this?  Also, as we’ve seen, the flags were visible from the chapel depending on where you sat.

Here’s the next group of comments:

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The first comment is a laugher.  The members of “The Committee” obviously know more true history than Mr. Boyett knows.  Then we have those who claim the members of “The Committee” went to Washington & Lee solely for the purpose of getting the flags out of the chapel.  So a person will spend thousands of dollars to go to a university only because they want to get flags out of a chapel.  You really believe that?  If so, you’re even dumber than I thought.  One person says that the members of “The Committee” should be expelled.  I suppose their offense that would justify expulsion would be being “uppity negroes” and not knowing “their place.”  The comedy show continues with “Another ignorant yankee who hasn’t spent time looking up official war records.. they are disrespecting a man who loves black folks.”  Lee loved black folks so much he thought the master-slave relationship was the best that could exist between whites and blacks in the same country.  He loved black folks so much that in Pennsylvania every part of his army engaged in kidnapping black residents to take them south into slavery.  He loved black folks so much he wrote, “wherever you find the negro, everything is going down around him, and wherever you find the white man, you see everything around him improving.”  He loved black folks so much that on March 12, 1868 he wrote to his son, Robert E. Lee, Jr., advising him to hire only white men, not black men:  “When the railroad shall have been completed to West Point, I think there will be no difficulty in getting the whites among you. I would try to get some of our own young men in your employ. I rode out the other day to Mr. Andrew Cameron’s and went into the field where he was plowing. I took great pleasure in following the plows around the circuit. He had four in operation. Three of them were held by his former comrades in the army, who are regularly employed by him, and, he says, much to his satisfaction and profit. People have got to work now. It is creditable to them to do so; their bodies and their minds are benefited by it, and those who can and will work will be advanced by it. You will never prosper with the blacks, and it is abhorrent to a reflecting mind to be supporting and cherishing those who are plotting and working for your injury, and all of whose sympathies and associations are antagonistic to yours. I wish them no evil in the world—on the contrary, will do them every good in my power, and know that they are misled by those to whom they have given their confidence; but our material, social, and political interests are naturally with the whites.”  He loved black folks so much that he signed the White Sulphur Springs Manifesto in which he said, “It is true that the people of the South, together with the people of the North and West, are, for obvious reasons, opposed to any system of laws which will place the political power of the country in the hands of the negro race. But this opposition springs from no feelings of enmity, but from a deep seated conviction that at present the negroes have neither the intelligence nor other qualifications which are necessary to make them safe depositories of political power. They would inevitably become the victims of demagogues, who for selfish purposes would mislead them, to the serious injury of the public.”  He loved black folks so much that during Reconstruction he testified before Congress that, while he claimed to have good feelings toward blacks, he was against giving them the right to vote and he  thought Virginia would be better off if all the black folks were forced to leave the state.

Next we have a ludicrous claim:  “people keep on pushing and pushing to take away our rights”  as if there is a right to have flags in a chapel on the campus of a private university that you neither attend nor have any other contact with.  We continue, “they need to all be sent to an island to live with each other.”  So much for African-American students having the right to make their grievances known.

The next group of comments is equally illustrative:

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I agree with the first comment.  It doesn’t change history.  But then again, that commenter has no idea what the actual history is.  We also have another knee-slapper here:  “If slavery were truly the issue, why is there NEVER any mention of Irish that were sold into slavery?!”  Could be because there weren’t any Irish sold into slavery in the United States, and nobody tried to break up the country and fight a bloody civil war in order to keep them in slavery.  As we know, historical accuracy isn’t part of the makeup of these folks.  Notice the response to that comment, another racist referring to African-American students as “thugs,” with six “Likes” for that comment.

Here’s the next group of comments:

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Here we have one person advocating illegal trespass onto the campus and into the chapel:  “Need a volunteer Color Guard inperiod dress to bring their own flags and stand sentinel over the General’s grave. And replacements for when they sick the ‘campus police’ on them” and another person showing ignorance of what happens at the university:  “Why would students be in there anyway? Unless they want to pay their respects to General Lee. Seems weird to me. Also, the flags offend them but not General Lee himself? That also seems weird.”  Well, it is the school’s CHAPEL for one thing.  Students who want to attend religious services on campus have to do so in the CHAPEL.  Apparently this person doesn’t know what a chapel is and how it is used.  Additionally, as the University tells us, “Lee Chapel is a gathering place for the University’s most important academic events. Concerts, lectures and other University activities take place regularly in the 500-seat auditorium on the main level and its balcony.”  The statue of Lee is there not because he was a general but because he was the President of Washington College after the Civil War, and was arguably the most significant president the University had.  He brought the college back from the brink of ruin and gave it a new start.

When we move onto the next series of comments we see:

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We see here more of the same historical illiteracy and a bit of racism at the end:  “I wonder of those 6 are actually working for Obama.”  Sure.  Two “Likes” for that ridiculous comment.  No surprises, other than there weren’t more “Likes” for it.

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Our next group of commenters really have what it takes to be neoconfederates.

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Another call for expelling the students.  Again, the probable offense for this person would be that they are “uppity negroes.”  “Let them go to their own schools,” eh?  Leave the white schools for the white folks?  The next commenter is also ignorant of what goes on in the chapel.  We have folks here saying that “The Committee” shouldn’t be going to W&L in the first place.  Go to an all-black school and leave the white folks alone, right?  Then we have one lunatic calling for violence:  “grab your rifle, fall in, and fix bayonets! This is war and time for talking is over. Time to physically move onto the campus of W&L, into Lee chapel and replace the battle flags.”  Scary individual.  And we end this section with more ignorance about the University and its chapel.

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This section starts with the myth that history is written by the victors.  Obviously this person has no clue about history and merely ignorantly parrots what others falsely claim.  Another individual has no idea about what Lincoln said or wrote but spouts off as if they did.  The last commenter simply doesn’t have the wherewithal to compose a sentence that makes sense.

We finally get to the final series of comments:

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So exercising the right to express a complaint will get someone sent to Federal prison?  Really?  These people are a real trip.  Then we have more people who think they know history but in fact know little about it.  Sad.

I think we see why the flaggers haven’t disavowed Matthew Heimbach.  It appears from this that they agree with his white supremacist views.  The fact that blatantly racist statements can be allowed to stand on their Facebook page and get over thirty “Likes” from the group shows the true colors of the group, and it lends credence to an interpretation of less blatant statements that those are also racist.

We’ll now hear the defense of the racists from our good friend in Pensacola.  🙂

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23 comments

  1. I’ve said this before, but it’s still true: most of these people are so immersed in racism they truly don’t understand why their comments are racist.

    The rest are just flat-out racist.

    1. And note how many of them project their racism onto others. Sad. But I have to say there are some who I don’t think are racists, so I don’t think I can agree completely with your comment, Chris.

      1. I’m an optimist, Al.

  2. chancery · · Reply

    >Lee loved black folks so much he thought
    >the master-slave relationship was the
    >best that could exist between whites
    >and blacks in the same country. …

    You left out Lee’s career as the manager of Arlington slaves as executor of his father-in-law’s will. There is substantial evidence that he drove them hard, broke up families by hiring out “uncooperative” slaves to other owners with a reputation for instilling obedience through brutal treatment, and who was known to have ordered slaves whipped, even if it’s unlikely that he did the work himself.

    /Begin Digression

    I’m currently struggling my way though an atrocious book, Thomas Fleming’s “A Disease in the Public Mind.” My brother, an exceptionally well-read guy on many subjects, mentioned that he was reading it. He doesn’t follow neo-confederates, so the fact that Fleming’s book was enthusiastically endorsed by Lew Rockwell and Thomas DiLorenzo doesn’t mean anything to him or set off any warning bells. I felt that I couldn’t anathematize the book without reading it myself, but it’s not easy, and I’ve found myself unable to read the thing straight through; I get through a chapter, and then skip ahead, reading snippets before doubling back.

    (Sometimes I find a snippet like this one, Flemming describing Professor David Blight’s “Race and Reunion, the Civil War in Modern Memory” as “a searing exploration of the _abolition_ _driven_ _hatred_ of the south in a post-Civil War nation shorn of Lincoln’s healing power.” (my emphasis) Flemming at p. 317. “Race and Reunion,” while an excellent book, is of course not immune to criticisms, responses, and reworkings as the scholarly dialectic continues. Fleming’s description, however, suggests either that he simply hasn’t read the book, or that found it so disconcerting that made up a contentiously inaccurate tag for the purpose of disparaging the book instead of dealing with it.)

    Fleming writes with tender sympathy of then Colonel Lee’s dilemma upon being appointed executor with power over many hundred slaves. (Incidentally, Fleming takes as one of the gospel-like starting points of his book that “a mere 6 percent” of the white southern population “owned” slaves — in the sense of title ownership as recorded by the census — and therefore finds it “perplexing that “the vast majority of southern whites “unite behind these slaveholders …and sacrifice over 300,000 of their sons to preserve an institution in which they apparently had no personal stake.”

    Fleming shows no indication of noticing that Lee’s example shows the misleading nature of title ownership as a measure of the society’s ownership of slaves. Lee “owned” none of the Arlington slaves despite having legal responsibility for the management, suffering, torture, and ultimate freedom of hundreds of enslaved souls. I’ve yet to see any acknowledgment by Fleming that a quarter to a third of southern _families_ owned slaves, and an additional substantial cohort frequently leased slaves for a season, let alone the additional tens of thousands of people in other trades, professions, and occupations whose economic well-being relied exclusively on the slave system.)

    “The will directed that the slaves should be freed within the next five years, or sooner if [$40,000 in bequests to Lee’s four daughters] were made and [$10,000 in debts] were paid. If Lee wanted to sell some of [the estate’s extensive land holdings], he was free to do so. But the Colonel was reluctant to choose this solution. On his small army salary, he was unlikely to have anything to leave his children. Their grandfather’s legacies were their only hope of acquiring a _decent_ inheritance. [my emphasis] Lee decided, pending approval of the courts [of course court approval blesses the venture], to make Arlington profitable first, pay the debts and the legacies, and then begin freeing the slaves.”

    Fleming doesn’t fault Lee’s decision, exactly, but calls it psychologically flawed, because he didn’t understand the slaves “deep desire” for freedom. He goes on to describe the slaves as “sullen, uncooperative, and often defiant,” and suggests strongly that this attitude was a shabby return for the efforts of Lee’s wife to educate slaves and promote colonization. Fleming continues by discussing the substantial evidence (for the most part long part of the historical record) discussed by Elisabeth Brown Prior in “Reading the Man,” establishing Lee’s executive role in the whipping of slaves he controlled. Fleming takes no position himself, merely reporting that this evidence convinced Prior, and concludes by quoting a letter from Lee denouncing the charge as “slander.”

    Fleming’s thesis seems to be (haven’t finished the book) that the civil war was an unnecessary tragedy caused by southerners’ extreme but legitimate reaction to decades of “abuse” heaped on them by abolitionists driven insane by their paranoid and self-serving hatred of southern whites. Fleming writes facilely enough about the horror of slavery, notes the pervasiveness of slave patrols, and has read quite a bit of recent writing on the war, although shows an amazing inability to grasp the significance of what he has read.

    A civil war author who denounces the war as “unnecessary” but does not endorse slavery as a positive good is required to present some plausible solution for a peaceful end to slavery As far as I can tell, however, his best suggestion for a peaceful solution to slavery was allowing unlimited expansion, so as to diffuse the problem as widely and as thinly as possible. After that, it’s not clear; perhaps slavery would peacefully wither away in the face of competition from cotton growers in India.

    I believe that if Fleming should have reflected more deeply on the way Lee — for good reason the South’s epitome of a Christian gentleman, a man with many unquestionably brilliant and well-bred parts — resolved the conflict between his family’s financial interests and the interests of the slaves he was legally bound to set free.

    It appears that Lee could have freed the slaves immediately if he had been willing to sell some of the estate land to pay of its debts and fund the legacies to Lee’s daughters. But he didn’t, because he wanted the debts and legacies paid without diminishing the landholdings he could pass down to his sons. And why not? The only people hurt by this decision were the slaves who would endure additional years of oppression, unreimbursed toil, occasionally torture, and above all, lack of freedom.

    How was Lee to weigh the interests of his family against the interests of the slaves which were under his direction? It was easy. As Justice Taney wrote for the Supreme Court in the Dred Scot Case, black slaves are “so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” In accordance with the Supreme Court’s ruling, Lee could with clear conscious value his family’s interests to their fullest measure, and assign zero weight to the interests of the slaves.

    If Fleming had been paying attention to Lee’s behavior, rather than to his thesis blaming the “unnecessary” war on the hatemonger abolitionists, he might have found in this incident a glimmer of the evidence that has persuaded most scholars that U.S. slavery would not have ended without the exercise of government force, with military force probably necessary as part of the government action.

    1. As the executor of GWP Custis’ will, Lee behaved like a normal slave owner of the time in his management of the Custis slaves. It goes to show what a violent, terrible institution it was. In addition to the Custis slaves, Lee was a slave owner in his own right, having inherited slaves from his mother.

      As to the Fleming book, I haven’t read it, but based on a talk I heard him give from the book, I don’t think he understands the war at all.

    1. Spraying her with water like dog behavior mod was a true LOL moment.

  3. The blatant racism is simply breath-taking. And Chris is right—they simply don’t see it.

    1. Or maybe they don’t care.

  4. Pat Young · · Reply

    One theme I see repeated throughout these and other neoconfederate discussions of The Committee is the constant reference to the blacks as law students. Before the 1970s there were very few black lawyers in the South. Most law schools were at the major segregated white universities that barred blacks from entering. Many of the posters you cite indicate that they do not consider blacks to be real law students. I wonder if this is because these racists did see blacks in the legal profession in their youth or because the doctrine of white supremacy assumes black incapacity for such a serious study.

    1. I think they look at black law students as affirmative action babies who couldn’t make it into law school if it weren’t for them getting what these folks view as an unfair advantage. In my opinion, these people don’t understand what affirmative action is, and I believe they have a racist view of blacks as inferior. Many times they’ll quote crime statistics as their confirmation of black inferiority without any thought given to how socioeconomic status plays into crime or any other reasons for criminal behavior.

  5. I’m glad you have the stomach to deal with this kind of insanity. Honestly, I’m not sure that any sense of reality will ever intrude on people who hold these types of opinions. The cretins on those Facebook threads have NO interest in learning abut history. I’m not sure they have an interest in learning, period.

    1. I think a psychologist would make a career from studying them. They’re interested in learning, but what they’re interested in learning just isn’t true. They’re interested in learning what they think their heritage is, which has absolutely nothing to do with actual history.

      1. Jimmy Dick · · Reply

        As I explain to my students, “There are facts and there are beliefs. There is a psychological condition to describe people who willingly ignore facts in favor of beliefs. In this classroom we deal with reality, not fantasy. If we are going to deal with fantasy this will be a class on the History of Middle-Earth, not the United States.”

          1. Great article, Jarret. Thanks for sharing. This is especially applicable: “Once people’s cultural and political views get tied up in their factual beliefs, it’s very difficult to undo regardless of the messaging that is used.”

    2. Jarret, there are lots of ways and angles to look at and try to understand the Confederate Heritage™ movement, but a huge part of what drives it is validation and affirmation of the advocates’ own political, racial, religious and cultural beliefs. This is the I-want-my-country-back crowd, that uses an imagined view of the Confederacy as an historical precedent to validate their own, 2014 worldview. They’re doing the same thing the segregationists did in the 1950s, flying their Confederate battle flags and coining the phrase, “the War of Northern Aggression,” to serve as a rallying point.

      The Confederate Heritage crowd today are their descendants — figuratively, if not literally — but without the perpetuation of Jim Crow to unify them, it’s become a more vague (but no less angry) frustration and resentment generally, now about Marxist academics and political correctness and the NAACP and people who supposedly hate the South, on and on and on. Confederate Heritage isn’t about what actually happened in 1861-65; it’s about re-envisioning the that conflict as a vindication of their own beliefs, insecurities and resentments in 2014.

      1. Great response, Andy. While I totally get all that, I guess what still leaves me scratching my head is what kind of psychological make-up leaves certain people prone to that type of thinking. In other words: what drives some people to seek the truth (or as close as we can get to the truth) with regards to history and it’s influence on the contemporary world, while others spend their time constructing myths about the past and today.

        I’m sure there’s no easy answer to these questions, but it must involve a potent mix of upbringing, environment, early exposure to certain political ideas, and personal fears and anxieties that coalesce to create the individuals who compromise the “Neo-Confederate” and/or “I want my country back” crowds.

  6. Back in school in1963, a student I knew had attended a John Birch society meeting with his parents. He told me that Robert Welch called the NAACP the national association for the agitation of colored people. That same student also told me that all of the equal rights marches and protests were being instigated by Communist, and that the Kennedys were just stirring up trouble.
    He claimed that Negroes were content with their lives and that they worked best as porters, domestic servants, and other service jobs and that the Kennedys and other trouble makere should stay out of the South and mind their own business.

    [edit modern politics]

  7. The old thing about repeating a lie so often it becomes accepted got my attention with the Grant quote in there: “If I thought that this war was to abolish slavery, I would resign my commission and offer my sword to the other side.” It comes up a lot and I’m glad you have the patience to refute it and all the rest.

    I wonder if you or anyone has compiled a list of such unsupported quotes re the main ACW cast of characters. (?)

    1. That would be a huge undertaking, Bert. I haven’t, and I don’t know of anyone else who has.

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