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« Say what | Main | Shocked, shocked »

Sep 25, 2011


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Bill Yaner  N

I like that idea a lot!

Jim Langer

Not to mention the many, many who did not fight for the Confederacy from these parts, but for the Union or remained neutral.

Jim Langer

Actually, I am not sure about the neutral part. I do know there were numerous "defectors".

Preston Earle

I agree that the memorial to former slaves would be a good idea, particularly if it could help end the feelings of victim-hood many of the descendants of former slaves still feel 150 years after the end of slavery, 50 years after the end of Jim Crow, and even 20 years after the election of "our first black president".


funny how people feel offended that "victim-hood" doesn't go away on their timetable.

Ed Cone

Yeah, things were instantly great after slavery.

No, wait, even the comment acknowledges Jim Crow.

But things were copacetic after that, amiright?

Also, victimhood is the lifeblood of American politics, practiced in full cry across the spectrum.

And the column is about things that happened to long-dead people even before the end of slavery; why not urge that writer to shut up, too, Preston?


Black people were enslaved in the US from the 1500s-1800s. And it was another hundred years before the Civil Rights Act outlawed many forms of discrimination. Housing and employment discrimination and inequalities persist nearly 50 years later (and despite having a black president, which isn't a magic cure for racism anyway). And black Americans have a shorter life expectancy than white Americans. Being affected by all of that is not "victim-hood," it's reality. Four hundred years of unequal treatment is not remedied in a few decades. Our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will hopefully see more and more equality across racial lines in America.

I'm proud to be a Southern American from way back. (My family has been here since the 1600s). But I am ever mindful of the darker parts of Southern American history -- and more specifically, of my own family's history. (My ancestors in eastern North Carolina were landowners and farmers and some of them owned slaves.) I wish that I could change the past, but obviously, I can't. The best that I can do is to teach my children (and theirs, and so on) to love, not hate; to seek unity, not division; and to respect and value others of all colors and cultures.

Preston Earle

Ed wrote "And the column is about things that happened to long-dead people even before the end of slavery; why not urge that writer to shut up, too, Preston?"
I'm having writing comprehension problems to go with my reading comprehension issues. What did I write that sounded like I was urging someone to "shut up"?

Ed Cone

Preston, I apologize for putting words in your mouth.

I read your comment about black people ending their feelings of victimhood as you not wanting to hear about them any more.

In any case, the comment still seems overly glib to me in addressing the history involved.

Preston Earle

After 150 years, or 50 years, or even those facetious 20 years, I am discouraged that black people have not made more progress in our society. I know there is no inherent reason black citizens shouldn't be more nearly equal to everyone else. I am tired of hearing it blamed on things that are so far in the past that no one alive today experienced them. I'd rather hear about current issues and not be distracted by a sesqui-century-old issue. Like Michele, I suspect my great-great-grandfather had slaves, but what does that have to do with anything today? I detest the phrase "shut up!" and hope what I write isn't that strident, but I also hate ineffective political leadership, and that's where I think espousing century-old victim-hood leads.


Just like wealth, poverty is passed from generation to generation. It is not easy to break out of it and many have died trying. When you multiply by millions and millions of people you have a problem that doesn't just disappear with time.

For each success story there are 10,000 failures. It's part of our cultural history.

Ed Cone

Preston, to whatever extent you believe that "black people have not made more progress in our society," do you really think there are no external or structural factors involved, and that the legacy of historical wrongs can be erased as simply as changing laws?

And we're all influenced by things that happened long ago, in which nobody alive played a role, so I find that logic confusing.

I'm not getting sure I understand the relationship you see between understanding and acknowledging history, on the one hand, and "victimhood," on the other.

Billy Jones

"...but it would be even better to include in any such park a memorial to those who spent their lives as slaves in this region."

Sounds familiar... Oh yeah, I suggested that very same thing a few days ago.


I think it would do everyone good to read and re-read michele's comment. The problem exists and will not go away until all people get the dignity they deserve.

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