South Carolina White Conservatives Show Their Racist Asses…Again (This is a Historical Constant, Actually…)

But remember everyone…just because we dress up in Civil War period uniforms and pose for pictures with black people in antebellum period clothing (which is to say, black people representing slaves) doesn’t mean we’re a bunch of racist jackasses…

OMFG

Read more about the “party” that brought forth this racist crap here. And know that this is what the white right is all about.

This, and absolutely nothing more.


26 Responses to “South Carolina White Conservatives Show Their Racist Asses…Again (This is a Historical Constant, Actually…)”

  1. Are those black folks racist jackasses also?

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    Tim Reply:

    I would say they are pretty good examples of internalized oppression, most certainly…

    Are you suggesting this event wasn’t racist? Are you so bought into your idea that racism doesn’t exist separate from capitalism, that even blatant examples of racist denigration don’t qualify?

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    Tim Reply:

    Clarifying a bit: no one ever said (well, at least I know I never did), that people of color couldn’t internalize racism against their own group(s), or act in ways that denigrated their own group. There is a long history of all marginalized people doing that, including poor folks of all colors ripping on poor folks at their own expense, etc. No shock here in terms of whether that can happen. But of course, in situations such as that, we still have to determine who carries the primary blame for the denigration: the folks who benefit from it, and initiate it, or the folks who are harmed by it, and often play along. I think you would agree Will, that if some poor white guy were going around denigrating his own kind, the primary blame for such self-abuse would be a class system that has inculcated that kind of self-hatred. Well, the same is true here. Targets of oppression can cop to the same views as the oppressor.

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    Will Shetterly Reply:

    We agree on the principle. Sometimes members of oppressed groups will be harshest on their own kind. That’s just as true for working class whites as anyone else.

    Will Shetterly Reply:

    For some reason, I can’t reply to comments that are threaded three-deep, so this is actually a response to your next comment, ” to say they were neither slave nor free person as they suggest, is absurd: all blacks were one or the other.”

    Yes. And poor free blacks and poor slaves shared Gullah culture. I think the performers were trying to say their performance applied to both.

    Now, black slaveowners like William Ellison would’ve been in whole ‘nother category, of course.

    Will Shetterly Reply:

    I don’t think I’ve ever said that racism doesn’t exist separate from capitalism. Like Malcolm X, I think racism is a symptom of capitalism, so you shouldn’t exclude it, but in rare cases involving individuals, it’s appropriate to talk about racism exclusively. But anyone who is concerned with institutional racism should be concerned with the greater institution, capitalism.

    I went looking for some context for those pics and found it here:

    http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2010/sep/15/mcconnell-discusses-controversial-civil-war-re-ena/

    The black performers in the picture are historical re-enactors who preserve Gullah culture.

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    Tim Reply:

    I understand that the two black performers may be Gullah preservationists, but to say they were neither slave nor free person as they suggest, is absurd: all blacks were one or the other. Not to mention, this doesn’t change the fact that the confederate period in SC, which is what was being commemorated was a period where pretty much all black folks were enslaved, so the excuse they are making doesn’t change that

    Frederic Christie Reply:

    But it’s not just capitalism. The racist contempt that has guided much of Israeli and US foreign policy has been decidedly problematic for their objectives. Racism costs them money in terms of production. It gives other countries more ammo to fight PR wars with and undermines their cred in the Third World. Institutional racism operates against middle-class blacks, who you’d think would under a pure class model would be immune. Etc.

    preston penn Reply:

    no..but this is the republican idea of putting black folks back to work…only in america…and they even had their house negro in attendance as well

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  2. TIm, I just read “Between Barack…” thank you so much for the explanation of Racism 1.0 & 2.0. Ever since I saw you at Netroots I’d was in awe and thank you for doing what you do!

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  3. How again did the Party of Lincoln become the Party of Neo-Confederates?

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    Gregory Reply:

    White southerners were solidly Democratic up until the 60’s when the Democrats in Congress and the White House pushed through civil rights legislation. At that point the Republicans saw an opportunity to get the support of these disenchanted southerners by appealing to their racial resentments (Nixon’s Southern Strategy). This is (in an oversimplified nutshell) the origin of the modern “white right” to which Tim refers. Hope this helps.

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    Will Shetterly Reply:

    An important note: Poor whites in the South continue to vote for Democrats. The “white right” is middle and upper class.

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    Tim Reply:

    You’re pretty much right about that Will: truly poor whites do exactly that. Although the working class more broadly is a bit more inclined to vote for republicans. But overall yes, the truly poor tend to see their class interests, with the upper-working and lower -middle class being the ones who tend to fall more readily to right wing propaganda…good point.

  4. Um, with all due respect, that isn’t a confederate uniform, it’s a union uniform. I have no idea if it’s offensive to wear a union uniform in the company of black people, but if it is I trust you will tell us.

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    Tim Reply:

    It’s a union uniform, but if you read the story you’ll note it was an Old South, celebration of the confederacy, party. The fact that this guy doesn’t know his uniform colors doesn’t change that…

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    Will Shetterly Reply:

    Where’s the evidence he didn’t know which uniform he was donning? Were there any Republican Confederates in the 19th century? I just reread McPherson’s Battlecry of Freedom, and I sure have trouble imagining there would’ve been any.

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    Will Shetterly Reply:

    Uh, I’m not doubting he’s an idiot, by the way. I’d just love to have it confirmed that he’s that much of an idiot.

    [Reply]

    Will Shetterly Reply:

    There is a possibility it’s a Confederate uniform and the color balance is misleading. It sure looks like he’s wearing this uniform:

    http://fitsnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/mcconnell.jpg

    [Reply]

    Terry Reply:

    Tim said “The fact that this guy doesn’t know his uniform colors doesn’t change that…”

    According to this link he was well aware of which side’s uniform he was wearing:

    http://forum.goupstate.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2010&p=30430

    Which is not surprising, of course, since military re-enactment buffs are notoriously geeky when it comes to getting the historical details of uniforms, weapons and so on right.

    So, now that we know he wasn’t wearing a confederate uniform, and that he was well aware of which side wore which color during the war, with all due respect Mr. Wise, what’s the problem with the photo again? I’m genuinely curious.

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    Tim Reply:

    Fascinating…problem is, he is a well known supporter of the neo-confederate cause in SC, and an avid believer in the legitimacy of the confederate cause in the 1860s. That he is wearing a union uniform is interesting to be sure — and something he did not point out in previous stories about this controversy — but frankly, it doesn’t change the offensiveness of “period piece” celebrations like this. Frankly, having black people dress up like 1860s black folks, while white people put on a party, regardless of costume, is offensive. And the party, which was indeed to honor old southern traditions, inherently conjures, to this southern mind, reminiscences of the antebellum slave period. It is offensive for that reason

  5. Hi Tim,

    I am getting to a bigger admirer of you and your activism work.

    I only recently discovered this blog.

    As a Afro-Canadian male, I find this photo so disturbing on another level…the complicity of Black in performing – representing slaves with this group…Why are they participating in this mockery…for what purpose does it serve?

    Are they being paid handsomely to play out racist stereotypes / engaging in White supremacy ideology in the 21st century…

    I hate to be openly cussing my community here…But I find this disheartening…

    If these White supremacist needed someone to “represent” slaves and the antebellum South…why the Black participants not compel the Confederate folks to play Black slaves in Blackface minstrelsy ..? It would be tantamount to the same thing…But no, Black people have to lend their bodies to this racist crap.

    This is in part what Spike Lee railed against in his satire
    Bamboozled (2001)….the complicity of critically unconscious Blacks who re-inscribe White supremacy and re-enforce the bars of their own oppression.

    Find something better to do with your idle time and the vacuum of your minds…Like start reading some Tim Wise…

    J.W
    Canada

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    Frederic Christie Reply:

    Bamboozled was brilliant. (And it wasn’t just critically unconscious blacks, either. Rather, I thought it was a great commentary on how people can enter the system with conscious ideas to change things, in this case through satire, and lose it completely when money and success hit. Just like Zimbardo ceased being a psychologist and became a warden almost instantly).

    But I’m not sure about this, for two reasons.

    First of all: Civil War reenactments are a key part of preserving local history. Even when taking into account some racist and classist mythology, what good does ignorance serve anyone? If we can’t talk about the CIVIL WAR honestly, then we can’t talk about modern race honestly. So we need to deal with that head on, not just prevent us from reenacting. The amount of historical ignorance that most of us have is really astounding, and anything to stem that seems to be good.

    Second: If no one is willing to play slaves, or freedmen led by whites (or rather, often “passing” blacks), then we can’t honestly portray the Civil War. The narratives of black folks are TOTALLY lost then. Sadly enough, to talk about the history of non-whites (and even most whites) in this country is to talk about oppression and genocide. But it’s important that that be on hand, and get people uncomfortable and talking. I’d actually rather have MORE slaves and freed blacks and so on at reenactments so we could look at it and say, “Wow, how messed up is this”. And again, I submit if whites AREN’T saying that, then we have a basic problem that precedes the issue of anyone bein’ in a slave outfit…

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  6. I was originally incensed when I saw this news item, but the following gave me some pause and I reconsidered a bit:

    http://www.nfrw.org/documents/forms/board_fall_2010.pdf
    (see pg. 13)

    http://boonehallplantation.com/tours.php

    African-Americans from the Gullah/Geechee culture in South Carolina are fiercely proud of their heritage and culture(which is more heavily influenced by West-African traditions than most since they live(d) out on the Sea Isles where they outnumbered Whites and had more opportunity to preserve their families and customs). They perform regularly at festivals and events in South Carolina and are eager to share their history.

    Assuming, as it appears from the NFRW agenda, that the Black folks here weren’t serving drinks but were invited to share their contributions to South Carolina culture with the assembled crowd then I think it is perhaps not as much of an affront is it seems at first. Especially considering the timing and political expediency of releasing this *shocking* photograph, I think it may be worth taking with a grain of salt.

    Of course, there is still a valid discussion to be had about the fact that public policy in South Carolina has for decades been anathema to the preservation of Gullah culture and how inviting the darkies to dance a jig at your country club party is hardly a substitute, but…

    The fact remains that for better or worse African-Americans did play a vital role (possibly THE most vital role) in shaping the history and culture of the Southern States and it’s also fair to argue that no event celebrating that history should fail to include them.

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    Henry Emrich Reply:

    1. “Assuming, as it appears from the NFRW agenda, that the Black folks here weren’t serving drinks but were invited to share their contributions to South Carolina culture with the assembled crowd then I think it is perhaps not as much of an affront is it seems at first. Especially considering the timing and political expediency of releasing this *shocking* photograph, I think it may be worth taking with a grain of salt.”

    I dunno. How big of a “grain of salt” are we talking about here?
    Think about this:

    What if a political party in Germany hosted a “German Heritage” event of some kind, where a guy decided to dress up in something that looked extremely close to a Nazi uniform, and pose with two paid performers doing something that *looked* at first blush, like some sort of Anti-jewish stereotype?
    I mean, the thing about stereotypes is, there’s probably somebody somewhere who actually embodies them, at least partially. (I’m pretty sure, to pick a deliberately inoffensive and facetious example, that some “White men can’t jump”.)
    So it would be easy to try to smooth over any controversy or qualms by saying that the whole Nazi/Jewish thing “was part of German culture”. The thing is, does it *really* need to be CELEBRATED?

    This really looks like an “Antebellum” theme-party, to me, so whether the Black people in question *thought* they were “doing historical reconstruction of Gullah Culture” STILL begs the question of why the guy is wearing a Civil War-era military uniform (Confederate OR Union), if it’s not a theme-party?

    2. Let’s also not forget that this was an explicitly POLITICAL event, put on by an explicitly REPUBLICAN organization — a “national” one, at that.

    “NATIONAL federation of Republican Women”.

    Not all aspects of Southern (or any other) “Heritage” are equally worthy of “celebration”.

    It’s not even a matter of “nobody wanting to play slaves” in a genuinely-accurate reenactment here: of COURSE, if you’re doing actual historical reconstruction, you need to honestly and accurately portray the racial/economic/gender roles of the time and place in question.

    That’s not what this was, however. This was a bunch of Southern Right-wingers who decided to put on an antebellum costume-party. Again: does ANYBODY — including the “Gullah Reconstructionists” — REALLY believe anyone present learned a damn thing about “Gullah Culture”, by wearing a Civil War uniform, and posing with Blacks?

    Extremely doubtful.

    [Reply]

    Frederic Christie Reply:

    Excellent point.

    [Reply]

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