This article was originally published on The Abbeville Institute on October 5, 2017.
A few years ago Stephen Fry, English actor, writer and comic, hosted a televised tour of America, traveling from location to location in a London cab. His junket into the “Deep South” was introduced this way: “For years, I’ve been intrigued and bewitched by what seems to be America’s most charactable region. A place of cotton, courtesy, Gospel music, mint juleps, divine accents, and sultry Southern belles. I’m heading South to find out what makes old Dixie so distinctive.” This genial caricature of the South was largely held throughout America until the late 1950s when electronic media basically replaced print media.
At that time, the public began getting its news from a select few television networks located in New York. Without any serious competition, Manhattan networks controlled news coverage to the extent that they alone could decide what was reported and how it was interpreted. Their dominance was such that they were not overly concerned with accuracy. This marked the emergence of “fake news.” The South was the first victim of the power of these immense news networks.
The negative portrayal of the South offered by these Manhattan networks has influenced the public for several decades. But their unsavory portrayal of Dixie has finally begun to wane. The American public is rediscovering Dixie and realizing that it is not the “racist” backwater portrayed by network news, television programs and movies. The American South has been, and still is, a pleasant place to live and still maintains its distinctiveness. As you travel throughout the region you might not experience Hollywood’s Gone With The Wind scenario, but neither will you experience a Mississippi Burning scenario. Contrary to Hollywood and New York, it would be as hard to find a bigoted, drawling, pot bellied local sheriff as it would be to find a Scarlett O’Hara or a Blanche Dubois.
Like other American regions, the South has chosen to be part of the current century without discrediting its traditions or its heroes. Its esteem for its ancestors and its refusal to denounce them and become a clone of the Northeast is infuriating to the Left. History by Southern scholars that conflicts with sanctioned establishment versions is dismissed as a “lost cause” mentality. But the tiresome “lost cause” reproach is losing clout as more folks realize that there is indeed another side to the story. Heartland America is now being denigrated with a version of “lost cause” disparagement because of its refusal to accept the Left’s accusation that it is a hotbed of “white supremacy.”
While touring the South in the 1960s, John F. Kennedy delivered an address that contained this comment: “…the South is still the land of Washington, who made our Nation — of Jefferson, who shaped its direction — and of Robert E. Lee who, after gallant failure, urged those who had followed him in bravery to reunite America in purpose and courage.” It is disillusioning that the three southerners that President Kennedy praised in the 1960s — Presidents Washington and Jefferson, and General Robert E. Lee — are being maliciously portrayed as immoral racists — vile men whose memorials should be demolished.
With the removal of Confederate memorials, “social justice warriors” (SJWs) are testing the waters to see what the public will let them get away with. SJWs are probably surprised that, with the exception of resentful Southerners, the American public remains docile as memorials for Robert E. Lee and other historical Southern figures are destroyed. General Lee is the linchpin in this epic struggle to determine the kind of country we will have. As SJWs met no resistance to the ravaging of Lee memorials, they are now demanding the desecration of Washington and Jefferson memorials in our nation’s capital.
The anarchic cleansing of American history is being rationalized with the spurious accusation of “white supremacy/white nationalism,” which the Left interprets as it sees fit. The radical Left thinks its exploitation of exaggerated accusations of white nationalism will be as successful as its exaggerated accusations of racism. So, in addition to the elimination of the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial, it is using the slavery/racism ploy to demand the destruction of Mount Rushmore and insist that “The Star-Spangled Banner” be replaced as our national anthem.
Even some Southern cities are trashing their own Confederate memorials; primarily New Orleans and Birmingham. These two formerly thriving cities share another common characteristic: Both are included in a ranking of the 12 worst American cities. Their leaders cover up their inability to resolve real problems — crime, poverty, decaying infrastructure — by focusing on trashing Southern history, knowing they will be praised by the national media. New Orleans and Birmingham are becoming less livable and less safe but they are not representative of all southern cities. Fourteen of the 20 fastest growing metro areas in the nation are located in the South.
In recent decades there has been a massive migration of both blacks and whites from other regions into the southern states. Interestingly, the majority of blacks migrating into the South did not choose cities with large black populations, settling instead in towns with a white majority. This is yet another indication that the MSM’s propagandized portrayal of the South is losing its power to manipulate. Northern liberals seem to find hidden “racism” in every facial expression and every utterance by a white southerner. But this conflicts with the fact that the races are mostly comfortable with each other in the South, primarily because of its relaxed, laissez-faire style of living.
Recently, two law professors, Amy Wax and Lawrence Alexander, co-authored an article for The Philadelphia Inquirer, titled: “Paying the price for breakdown of the country’s bourgeois culture.” In their article,they had the audacity to say positive things about the 1950s, — a radical deviation from collegiate indoctrination. That was unforgivable to despotic professors and their brainwashed students who are separated from the real world by the walls of academia. They insist that nothing favorable can ever be said about the American society that existed prior to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.
Unfortunately, the majority of our population was born after 1970, so what they know about the 1950s comes from interpretations offered by media; versions influenced by political correctness. Also, polls indicate that the current generation knows very little about America’s history. It is a sad fact that the ones who know the least about our history are the ones who want to erase it.
— Gail Jarvis