June 26, 2015
Today’s link comes from John E. Price, a doctoral student in American Studies. Price is concerned about how historical “traditions” can be reinvented, warped, and packaged for consumption.
In this controversial article, Price educates readers about the revisionist “Lost Cause” narrative of the Civil War. This narrative re-frames the bloody conflict as “a romantic struggle for freedom against an oppressive government,” instead of a treasonous rebellion intent on maintaining the horrific practice of slavery.
Parts of our culture perpetuate the “Lost Cause” myth. It is embodied in some of our most iconic movies. It is paired with our various gun fixations, and new generations are literally carrying forth the banner.
“[The recent Charleston murderer’s] actions were heinous, but he is the product of a media and culture that protects the ignorant and glorifies division. This is the ‘heritage’ celebrated by those who fly the Confederate flag.
“And every day that we don’t react to [racism], every day we don’t internalize this conflict, every day we tell ourselves nothing is wrong, every day we claim we can’t be racist because we have black friends, every day we share some viral cat video instead of watch the news… is another day nothing will change.”
Be warned, there is nothing gentle about Price’s language, prose, or his argument.