Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Hiding from the past

Can anyone tell me why, though we have a national Holocaust Museum (which is, incidentally, a place every American should visit), a museum devoted to slavery does not even exist?

Oh. Wait. I know why:
Deep South slave shrine stirs old hatreds: Plans for a unique museum are placed on hold in the face of death threats from white supremacists, reports David Rennie in Gulfport, Mississippi

... Dr Jones would like to see the museum set up in the South. "That's going to take someone mighty brave, even prepared to cost themselves a political career."

Rip Daniels, a businessman and broadcaster and the Pettys' most prominent black backer, fears the costs for the couple could be still higher. "What Jim has here is heresy," he said. "These objects show that African Americans did not acquiesce, that they did not submit graciously."

Mr Daniels, who owns a local radio station and is one of its presenters, believes that defiant white Southerners are increasingly denying the reality of slavery.

"When you talk to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, they don't talk about actual historical events, they talk of the 'southern gentleman', of how he must have been."

To Mr Daniels, whites have two choices. "They can justify their ancestors, or they can accept that they participated in a horrible episode of American history" he said. "As an African-American, I have to accept that some of my ancestors were in chains."

Rip Daniels has received death threats himself, including a postcard of a lynching, with the message, "You're next".

[Incidentally, the Pettys ought to be aware that there is in fact a plan in place to build a National Slavery Museum in Virginia.]

It's unsurprising that neo-Confederates would want to suppress this kind of exhibit (note, for instance, this attack on the notion, authored by white supremacist Jared Taylor). After all, they've been telling us for years that whites' treatment of their black slaves was mostly benevolent and loving.

It's a myth that in fact enjoys a life well outside the South, and is enjoying a certain resurgence in "mainstream" conservative circles:

Pair to give their ‘biblical’ defense of practice at U of I conference

... "Slavery as it existed in the South was not an adversarial relationship with pervasive racial animosity," the booklet reads. "Because of its dominantly patriarchal character, it was a relationship based upon mutual affection and confidence. There has never been a multi-racial society which has existed with such mutual intimacy and harmony in the history of the world."

As a pastor, Wilson said he'd seen too many Christians take bits and pieces from the Bible to suit their needs. He said good Christians apply all the Bible's teachings in their daily lives.

"I was watching a television program where Jerry Falwell was making an argument against abortion, 'The Bible tells us not to do this thing,' " Wilson said. "A critic comes back with, 'Well, the Bible says this too,' and Falwell says, 'Yes but that doesn't really apply anymore.' I have long believed that we should not be embarrassed by anything in the Bible. You find many Christians who use the 'that was then, this is now' argument. When Falwell used that argument, he lost the point he was trying to make about abortion."

Wilson used the Bible's view on homosexuals as another example.

The Bible indicates the punishment for homosexuality is death. The Bible also indicates the punishment for homosexuality is exile.

"So death is not the minimal punishment for a homosexual," Wilson said. "There are other alternatives."
Such as concentration camps, no doubt.

One wonders what would happen were Doug Wilson to wander into the museum planned by the Pettys. No doubt he could conjure up a biblical explanation for it all.

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