You can’t dress it up and wish racism away

It is amazing that H.K. Edgerton does what he does as an African-American man — pay homage to a regime that stood for and defended the enslavement of my ancestors. What is so disturbing is not the fact that as a black man he chose to spend his day dressed in this manner, but that there were individuals that actually thanked him for doing so.

Who would see a black man donning Confederate garb and waving the "Stars and Bars" and react to him by thanking him, admiring him for remembering their "Southern Heritage"? It would seem utterly ridiculous to admire someone who is choosing to honor those that believed in the oppression, degradation and enslavement of anyone — especially those that share his racial classification. But I know that those people are out there, and that they indeed thanked Mr. Edgerton for what he was doing.

… These people thanked Mr. Edgerton for one reason, and they thanked him for one reason only, and that reason is because racism still exists. [He] made it safe for [them] to be nostalgic for a bygone era that is gone forever, thank God, because he is black, and therefore, if it is a black man wearing a Confederate uniform and waving that orange flag and one thanks him for doing so, then one can not possibly be racist, just as there are many "liberal" and "progressive" people out there who do not think they have any racist tendencies because they voted for a black man for president. See? Problem solved! 

As the commentary in the June 9 issue of Mountain Xpress highlighted so eloquently ["Ending Racism"], racism is still an issue that is yet to be dealt with. So after much cringing and gagging while reading Mr. Edgerton's letter, as a young, black woman I would like to thank him for bringing attention to one of the pressing internal issues we as a community and a nation must address: racism and the ramifications of this ill. And now that Mr. Edgerton has done this good work, it is my sincere hope that he folds up that flag, loosens the jacket on that costume and goes back to the porch where he belongs.

— Natalie Bailey
Asheville

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51 thoughts on “You can’t dress it up and wish racism away

  1. chops

    There are many who feel that the confederate flag symbolizes racism, and everyone knows of these feelings.

    To knowingly display this hurtful symbol, you are saying that you choose to ignore the hurt, and f.y.i. you are not fooling anyone into believing that it is about “heritage”.

    You want people to see that you are ignoring.

  2. LOKEL

    I guess some may find the American flag hurtful … say the Japanese Americans that were interred during WWII …

  3. travelah

    The frequent charges of racism are getting old and tired. Go back to the porch where you belong, as you suggested to Mr. Edgerton. Fortunately you didn’t tell him to shuck some peas otherwise you might have been considered somewhat racist yourself. Of course, if you were one of the 95% of blacks who voted for Oba because he is partially black, then of course you are not at all racist even though all the white liberals you denigrated in your post obviously are.

  4. Mysterylogger

    So by the writers argument I can claim racism by the Current American flag since my people were prosecuted and forced off their lands?

    Sorry thats a pretty lame attack and view point, Id rather not dwell on the past and use that as a crutch.

  5. Barry Summers

    Go to HK’s website:

    http://www.southernheritage411.com/contributions.shtml

    He asks you to send contributions (to support his standing around in Confederate garb), & they go to this address:

    Southern Heritage 411 Inc.
    P.O. Box 220
    Odum GA 31555

    This is the address of the company that makes this racist t-shirt:

    http://barberandcompany.com/barber_store/view_details?department_id=20&item_id=13652

    and this racist bumper sticker:

    http://barberandcompany.com/barber_store/view_details?department_id=21&item_id=17185

    among others.

    The people who cash HK’s checks are spreading race hatred.

  6. dhalgren

    Anyone (and I mean anyone white or black) that stands on a street corner in confederate garb waving a rebel flag is probably a nut case. Even Trav (although I hear he looks hot in his little johnny reb outfit) wouldn’t stand on a street corner making a spectacle of himself!
    By the way trav, 95% of the democrats voted for President Barrack Obama because he was the best candidate. There is now an intelligent, talented, highly educated, and hardworking black man in the white house. Contrast Obama with numb skull bush!

  7. travelah

    Being from Maine and one who has restored two 19th century union cemetaries, I do not look good in grey.
    Obama received 95% of the black vote in this country because he is partially black. That strikes me as particularly racist. Is he intelligent? Yes but not any more so than Bush. Is he talented? Everybody has talents of some sort. Is he highly educated? That depends on how you define highly. Is he hardworking? He has remained in academia and community organizing all his adult life. I suppose hard work must be defined as well. Contrasted with Bush, Obama is something of a cold fish with no intellectual advantage.

  8. Barry Summers

    Obama received 95% of the black vote in this country because he is partially black. That strikes me as particularly racist.

    I had to read that a few times to fully grasp this, Trav. So you’re saying that the 91% of blacks who voted for Bill Clinton did so because he’s white? I don’t get it.

    Never mind – I could make a couple more jokes at your expense, because it’s so easy, but this isn’t funny. Your assertions are racist and hateful.

    And claiming that Bush is just as intelligent as Obama shows you’re not to be taken seriously.

  9. travelah

    Bill Clinton, the country’s first black President, received 83% of the black vote in 1992. For that percentage to jump to over 95% for Obama, something else is going on. Clearly you do not get it.
    I suggest Bush is not only more intelligent than Obama, but also more sensible, more gracious and commands a far more reasonable view of the world. Whether you take me seriously or not, well, who cares?

  10. Barry Summers

    Sorry, it’s been a while. I forgot who I was talking to.

  11. Matt Mercy

    Miss Bailey:

    Thank you for your attempt to keep race consciousness alive in America’s heart. Unfortunately, many of us are continuing our educations beyond the institutional level and are discovering the true history of the Civil War and what it was really about…instead of the over-simplified good vs. evil propaganda we were all fed in middle school…serving to create undue resentment, guilt and division between races.

    The establishment does not want unity. It wants diversity…and it counts on useful fools who don’t know the difference to write letters such as yours to their local newspapers. Thanks for helping to keep our people eying each other in suspicion. I’m sure those looking to divide and conquer our society appreciate it.

  12. Bert

    “Is he hardworking? He has remained in academia and community organizing all his adult life.”

    Ah, the typical conservative sneer against intellectuals and community organizers. I have a couple of suggestions for you:

    1) Go to UNCA, get a stack of research papers and try to grade them by the deadline. Let me know how easy you find that. And by grade I mean actually engage with things like Shakespeare and existentialism; you know, thought, the kind of thing conservatives have a hard time engaging in.

    2) Go out to the Y and tutor some kids for several afternoons, and let me know how easy you find that.

    Seriously, dude, we work just as hard as you conservatives do and we don’t need your condescension. And speaking of hard work, how many years did Palin make it through her Governship before she found the work load too much?

  13. Barry Summers

    Yeah Miss Bailey, as everyone knows, if you assert that there’s racism, then you yourself are responsible for that racism.

    It’s the equivalent of “She Who Smelt It, Dealt It.”

    You should leave discussions of race to those who want to educate us on the real history of America, like GOP Congressman Trent Franks:

    “Far more of the African American community is being devastated by the policies of today than were being devastated by the policies of slavery.”

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_02/022619.php

    D@#& you, Liberal Oppressors!!!

  14. killarue

    I second MM’s position. We, all citizens, need to stop being sheep to the powers i.e. politicians, media, hollywood, religion(yes, religion too). Sometimes, we look so much like little children following the next fad and letting other people think and speak for us. Sadly, as adults, we can’t use the same excuse that we are only children.

  15. Barry Summers

    I’m not sure I get it, killarue. What sheep-like, childish, fad-following behavior are you referring to?

  16. entopticon

    traveliar, Bush was a C student who had his dad pull strings to get him into college. In the real world, most straight A students fail to even get into an ivy league university. For better or worse, Obama graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law, and went on to one of the highest honors in all of academia, President of the Harvard Law Review. He then went on to teach Constitutional law at one of the most prestigious law schools in the country for over a decade. But in traveliar’s parallel universe, that makes him intellectually on par with shrub. I’ll give you this traveliar, you are intellectually on par with shrub.

    traveliar for President. He has the strategery to see through all of those black people, with their Muslim-loving anti-American, pinko Obama support.

    It really is a shame that you missed your true calling as a racial sensitivity trainer traveliar.

  17. JWTJr

    Gee Trav, how could you forget how significant an Ivy League education is? It means everything!

  18. entopticon

    No Jr, it most certainly doesn’t mean everything. But as mentioned, most straight A students still can’t get into ivy league universities, and the vast majority of ivy league undergrads couldn’t get into Harvard Law, and most of the people who go to Harvard Law don’t graduate magna cum laude, and only one of those people gets to be President of the Harvard Law Review. Regardless of whether you think Obama is great or horrible, the argument that he is not of extremely exceptional intelligence is complete nonsense.

  19. Barry Summers

    Hey, Dubya got picked to join the Skull & Bones society at Yale, which couldn’t have been easy since his father and grandfather were both members, and that certainly must have weighed against him, you know – they must have set the bar higher for him, because that kind of achievement, like becoming President, simply can’t be a result of nepotism, you know, handing some high honor and responsibility to whatever chucklehead springs from the loins of one of the Made Guys, that’s not how power is handed down in America, right?

    “I’ll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office.” George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., May 12, 2008

  20. Barry Summers

    Oh, and he made Head Cheerleader at Phillips Academy, Andover. So there, pointy-head, intellectual, snobby, over-achiever Obama!

    “Perhaps there have been other presidential candidates who have dressed in drag, flaunting their legs from beneath a (fairly short) white skirt. But George W. Bush is probably the only one who has done it in front of a camera.”

    http://partners.nytimes.com/library/politics/camp/061000wh-bush.html

  21. JWTJr

    Lots of people who succeed in school don’t succeed in the real world. That is not a lock.

  22. entopticon

    Lots of people who succeed in school don’t succeed in the real world. That is not a lock.

    Um, he’s President of the United States. Love him or hate him, the argument that he only succeeded in school and not in the real world is just plain ridiculous. Of course, he may never reach the pinnacle of success by your standards, which is apparently being a medical assistant in rural Appalachia, but he can always dare to dream.

  23. JWTJr

    There you go again Kanye. Knocking the little people. The BP guy got booted for that.

    Come down off the stage!

    My only point is that academic success that you point so verdantly to is not that big a deal when you try to transfer that to the real world. Some make the transition and some do not.

    Whether or not Obama makes the transition successfully is to be determined.

  24. entopticon

    Kanye? Okay Vanilla Ice Jr. Whether or not he will make that transition is to be determined?!? He President of the United States!!! Put down the crack pipe. Sorry to burst your burst your bubble, but it is hardly controversial to point out that achieving the office of the Presidency is successful by virtually any reasonable metric, so your argument is absurd as it applies to Obama. Like him or hate him, he rose to the highest level of both academia and professional success, except apparently for the right-wing extremist media obsessed crowd like yourself. Maybe someday he will reach to your high standards, and break into the ranks of medical assistants.

  25. Barry Summers

    So W was successful?

    Only somewhat:

    “You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror.” –George W. Bush, interview with CBS News, Sept. 6, 2006

  26. JWTJr

    Ent seems to think that having an ivy league education and becoming president makes you successful in the real world. Even before the term is up. If that’s the case then W and Obama are on equal success footing.

  27. Barry Summers

    Except that Obama actually received a majority of the vote for the Presidency, and W was handed the White House by his daddy’s friends…

  28. entopticon

    Yes Jr, W may have been a prick, and he certainly was the beneficiary of rather extreme nepotism, but when you get to be President of the United States, it is pretty safe to say that you had a relatively successful career. It’s actually kind of funny that you have so much trouble wrapping your mind around that. Being successful does not make a person good or bad, but you have to be a bit of a lunatic if you think that rising to the Presidency doesn’t mean that you had a successful career.

  29. dhalgren

    You silly boys, being the most powerful man in the world (The F#c*ing President of the USA) is as “real world successful” as it gets! Yes, however bushie got the job, he was the man. Was he a good president? Yes, if you count lining his friends pockets with looted taxpayer funds successful! Was he a dirtbag? Most assuredly.

  30. JWTJr

    I see the issue now. I judge them being successful after their term is up. W didn’t get a thumbs up. Obama isn’t even half way done. If he wants to be a successful President, he better step it up. College and the real world are two very, very different places.

  31. Barry Summers

    I would say W was a very successful president, if you look at it from the point of view of the powers that put him in office. He furthered the destruction of the middle class (which many conservatives believe to be an artificial construct, detrimental to survival-of-the-fittest, feudalistic economics). He put us squarely on the path of perpetual war, benefiting certain industrial, quasi-religious and foreign policy interests. He laid the groundwork for a permanent police-surveillance state. And he strengthened the contempt many Americans have for government, which will pay off dividends in divide-and-conquer strategy for generations to come.

    Heckuva job, Brownie!

  32. entopticon

    My goodness Jr, I had almost forgotten just how dim you could be sometimes. We get it already, you like to regurgitate Rush Limbaugh’s asinine rhetoric. Yes, the success of his Presidency will be seen in a historical context after he’s done his Presidency. But as far as your argument that some people succeed in academia, but not in the real world, achieving the office of the Presidency of the United States is in an of itself a level of career success that few people ever reach. Of course, it pales in comparison to your vast accomplishments, but then he’s only human. I’m sure that everyone here would love to hear about all of your “real world” accomplishments that are so much more accomplished than achieving the Presidency of the United States.

  33. JWTJr

    Here we go with the personal attacks Ent. Its been so long, I thought something might be wrong with you.

  34. entopticon

    After that dimwitted attempt at snarky humor with the Kanye West dig, you seriously have the hypocritical audacity to turn around and whine about personal attacks?!? The complete disregard that you right wing extremist trolls have for continuity of reason is nothing if not amusing.

    You are the one saying that Obama succeeded in academia, but not in the real world, which does indeed imply that you believe that he has not achieved the level of success that you have. Most people would say that ascending to the Presidency of the United States is quite an accomplishment, but according to you, it doesn’t compare to the level of success that you have achieved in your industry.

  35. travelah

    Gee Trav, how could you forget how significant an Ivy League education is? It means everything!
    An “Ivy Leaque” education used to mean something many years ago meaning that you came from a monied background. Today, as it has been for the past two or three decades, the quality of their education has been cheapened considerably by heavy liberal and leftist bias. The Harvard Business School USED to be the premier school for MBAs. Today, MIT, Chicago, Stanford, UVA and several others compete and excel over the Ivy League schools.
    I have hired several professionals over the years and in the process have turned down Ivy League grads in favor of those I felt brought a great deal more to the table. There have been no regrets except one. I turned down an LSU grad with much greater practical experience in favor of a Tulane grad who knew how to interview well.

  36. entopticon

    I agree with traveliar. It’s clearly all a communist conspiracy to warp the minds of our youth with devil music and book learnin’.

  37. entopticon

    Ok Jr, looking up the page, I wrote a post that had nothing to do with you, and in no way addressed you, and you made this sarcastic quip about it:

    “Gee Trav, how could you forget how significant an Ivy League education is? It means everything!”

    And you have the hypocritical audacity to make your impishly ridiculous claim that I “always start it”? How completely hilarious. Your endless inability to grasp the concept that all we need to do to impeach your claims is to simply scroll up the page certainly is amusing.

  38. JWTJr

    I make a comment about a comment you made and you come back insulting my job, where I live and my culture.

    You are the master of escalation. There is no rival.

  39. Barry Summers

    Sadly, Ent, and at the risk of getting into it with you again, I have to agree with Jr. here. His comment above was a sarcastic reference to the substance of your argument, which like it or not is fair game, but it was not a personal attack on you. You did indeed seem to escalate it into the personal realm with the disparaging comment about his job.

    I tend to agree more with the substance of your arguments, and Jr. there bugs the hell out of me sometimes, but fair is fair.

  40. entopticon

    Oh please. What a ridiculous double-standard. How is his snarky comment about my ivy league education any more personal than his snipe? At least my comment was completely in context of the point at hand; his was just a jerkish jab at me with no provocation whatsoever. And I am supposed to spare his feelings? Jr was ragging on the President for being successful in academia, but not in life. In that context, it was perfectly fair to point out that by any reasonable metric, he has been more successful than Jr. ZYou really are quite sanctimonious mr Summers.

  41. entopticon

    And by the way Barry Summers, the hypocritical irony of your sanctimonious blather is particularly funny in light of the fact that in the past, when I disagreed with you on an issue, you made a personal attack on my intelligence, going so far as calling me “stupid.” My pointing out to Jr that he is not as professionally accomplished as the President, after he took a personal swipe at my education and his, is humorously self evident and pretty darned harmless by comparison to your nasty personal attack. But I have come to understand that continuity of reason is a bit too much to ask of you.

  42. entopticon

    Jr, you took an unprovoked swipe at my personal education, as you have countless times before, and I took a swipe right back at you. Get over it. Call a waaaaaambulance.

  43. dhalgren

    Well, getting back to the black man in the redneck rube suit…

  44. Entopticon…maybe we should form a club of people who Barry Summers points his bony, sanctimonious finger at.

  45. Barry Summers

    Wrong again Ms. Dial. My fingers are quite chubby, thank you. And I don’t point them so much as waggle. You guys are too easy…

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