'Well isn't that a NORTHERN perspective?'

Published:June 17, 2009 by Brendan Wolfe

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Ta-Nehisi Coates waxes melodramatically about finishing Battle Cry of Freedom and learning that slavery was as African a phenomenon as it was European or American:

It is one thing to be judged immoral. But to be judged immoral and backward, at the same time, to be both debauched, and yet in your debauchery, still be a loser, is deeply painful. It was not bad enought that my people had been enslaved, but the fact that we were first enslaved by people who looked like me robbed us of any moral high ground.

His sentences can be like Escher drawings sometimes, but the sentiment here, as he grapples with the Lost Cause, is honest and real. And the comments on his posts are often the best part. One commenter, a northern-born Texan, remembers speaking up in high school:

“. . . don’t you think that, when you rebel, you have to expect that there will be negative consequences for you if you lose?”

She glared at me for what felt like minutes and then spat out, “Well isn’t that a NORTHERN perspective?” I honestly didn’t know what to say to that. God she was horrid. I can only imagine how the black students in the class must have felt.

Another commenter replies:

Oh, Betsy, if someone had only brought up Nat Turner at that point . . .

The same person then riffs on George W. Bush:

The national media thought he was adored in the white South because he, unlike his father, was a real Southerner. That’s wrong—Southerners aren’t that stupid. It was the fact that he WASN’T from the South, that he was a Connecticut Yankee who wanted to live in King Cotton’s court, that he so desperately tried to become a Southerner, that endeared him to the white South. He was the foil to Clinton, who was a real, honest to God Southerner who wanted (so it seemed) to be MORE, to be a global figure, that pissed off so many conservative white Southerners.

Oh, and if you do check out Ta-Nehisi’s post, beware of his really strange mashing on Nathan Bedford Forrest, whom he describes as “beautiful. Again, dig those steely eyes, that dead serious countenance, the warrior’s beard.”

BY THE WAY: Our entry on the Lost Cause is in progress.

IMAGE: The Conquered Banner; a Confederate veteran, 1913 (Library of Congress)