Really? "Confederate Memorial Day"?

Really? "Confederate Memorial Day"?

Schools across the South are closed today for Confederate Memorial Day. That means that black children have a day off to commemorate people who fought to keep their ancestors in bondage.

This is, well, mad. There is a large section of this Republic which sees nothing wrong with the Confederate cause. They'll say it was a cause of freedom, of self-determination, of resistance to tyranny. It was none of those things. It was, simply, a cause to enslave other people. All the rhetoric boils down to that.

That a black student in the South has to, in any way, pay homage to the Confederacy is as ludicrous as if Germany had a Nazi Memorial Day, and Jewish children were let off of school for it.

And these memorials are not opportunities for debate and honest discussions. No. Like the Orange marches in Northern Ireland, they're a way for the dominant group to exert its cultural power.

The greatest mistake this country made was not seeing Reconstruction through to its conclusion. The reason that North and South were able to reconcile is because the dominant white culture of both regions united in antipathy towards the freed black slaves. The North itself would have had to have gone through its own Reconstruction, and that wasn't going to happen.

The graphic at the head of this piece is how I remember the Confederacy: a failed, rancid cause which was defeated on the battlefield. However, it has yet to be defeated intellectually, as the election of Donald Trump shows. That is the work of the second Reconstruction this country needs, a reconstruction not limited to the Old South.

 



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