Sunday, January 27, 2013
By John Wayne Dobson
Recently I was waiting my turn in a check-out line at a local retail store. Near by was a rack of various children’s books and among them was one entitled “Meet Dr. Martin Luther King.” I do not suggest that there was anything wrong with the presence of that book but rather the absence of other books that could have been offered as well.
There was not one, for instance entitled “Meet Jefferson Davis” nor one about Robert E. Lee or Nathan Bedford Forrest. Each of these four individuals were noted personages in American history, and, regardless of their respective roles, they played a significant part in what America was to become.
A decision of political correctness has been reached and an unwritten standard set that allows certain portions of history and culture to flourish and disregards others – even seeks to destroy them. History is history and it should be a level playing field. The legacy of the South – the good the bad and the ugly – is part of my compiled personal heritage. I have every right to it. I never seek to attack nor disgrace the heritage of other people – never – and I dare anyone to say that I do.
A person should be naturally proud of their heritage. I would, for example, think something was strange about a black person who was not proud of their heritage. Most, I suppose, are justly proud, and that is perhaps why they often refer to themselves as African-Americans. I will speak plainly when I say that I simply do not believe that I am allowed the same dignity, respect and latitude regarding my Confederate ancestry.
As an example, I have regularly been personally jeered and told to “get out of town” when lawfully and peacefully participating in Confederate Memorial Day parades. I would not attend, for instance, a Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday parade and offer the same disrespect.
There are other examples of this type of inequity. Recently, in Monroe, Georgia, black people put on white masks and Ku Klux Klan hoods to re-enact the 59th anniversary of the unsolved lynching of two black couples who were forced out of their car by a mob of white men. This is history – they can certainly re-enact it if they want to, however, if this project had been accomplished by whites, the cries of protest would never have ceased. Other historical re-enactments do not exclude blacks (unless they were historically not present) and I defy anyone to say they do.
Additionally, an effort is being made in Memphis to rename several parks and remove the statues (and graves!) of Confederate heroes standing within. While seemingly all other ethnic, cultural or historical groups enjoy the proliferation of their heritage, there is a concerted effort to remove every vestige of the Southern Confederacy, 1861-1865, and the people who played a role in that period.
True, this disdain may well be attributed to a lack of understanding of this area of Southern culture but that is a hollow excuse – there are many areas of history and heritage that I do not know much about but I sure do not protest them or lean toward their destruction.
Therefore, I have concluded that I simply do not want to hear any more about ‘civil rights’ – no more about social injustice – no more about equality – no more. Never again, do I want anyone to try to persuade me. I have had it!
When the political tide turns to include me, and deliver REAL equality, then maybe––just maybe—I will reconsider including others.