posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 12:04 AM
Well, lets work through an example where neither one of us is likely to be a member of the insulted group.
Say, the name and logo of the Washington Redskins.
Do most redskins fans mean for their team's logo and name to be taken as an insult by anyone? No. almost certainly not.
But many Native Americans are insulted by a term that is racist on its face, and is a charicature of a whole slew of different Amerindian
Why have the Redskins, as well as the Atlanta Braves, been so slow to remove THOSE symbols of racism, which various native groups have definitely said
Is it O.K. if the symbol users don't intend to insult anyone, if they are not thinking about the oppression of others, but are instead
inspired by bravery, courage in the face of battle, and a dogged insistence upon their own cause, even in the face of superior firepower?
In all honesty, the civil war enactors I know crave that experience, and not the ownership of other human beings. They will be quick to tell
you that only a tiny minority of the richest whites in the Antebellum South actually owned other human beings.
I actually heard an incredible speech at an enactment dinner. I wish I owned a transcript. The speaker (anglo) was explaining that most southerners
in 1861 supported the Civil War in terms of their belief that they had the right to withdraw from the Union; for the majority, it wasn't about
slavery, but freedom.
The speaker went on to talk about Bull Run and Fredricksburg, about how the South was beating the North in spite of the Union's industrial might.
That the Southern tradition of military service and independence kept the Confederacy alive.
He went on to argue that while the war was about States' Rights, the South was winning, because both sides felt the South had the "moral high
ground." That as long as Meade and Burnside and Lincoln saw the war as the imosition of the Union upon unwilling citizens, they were losing the war.
It was only when Lincoln, as a man, came to see the conflict as a War Against Slavery, that the North began to win battles on the ground.
This speaker said that all the leaders of the South realized that they had lost. Not lost on the battlefield yet, but lost in the struggle for the
hearts of their own people; that when southerners came to see the inherent injustice of slavery, THAT was the beginning of the end for the South. He
said that Gettysburg was a turning point, not just in terms of strategy, but because the North began trusting black soldiers to fight for their own
freedom. He read letters from white southerners to their wives, telling of the bravery and desperation with which black soldiers fought---how they
never surrendered, because they would rather die that lose the newfound liberty they gained . . . .
Now, I believe that is a moment in history worth celebrating. It is important because it IS painful, and remains a festering wound in the American
psyche. to 'edit out' the unseemly parts would be to sanitize and "whitewash" the mistakes our ancestors made.
One of the most disgusting examles of propaganda I ever saw was at Epcot Center in Disneyworld. They had this display on scandanavia, that talked
about what brave explorers the vikings were. What hearty seamen they were. Anybody who reads knows that they were the most bloodthirsty pirates and
rapists that Western Europe ever faced. In many ways, their savagery escalated the building of castles, the use of armor and mounted knights, etc.
But Walt Disney had "edited" the bloody truth out, and pretended that thousands never died at the hands of the Vikings. What's next, a
I say, better to let Redskins fans and Civil War Enactors keep their emblems. Let the Atlanta braves do the tomahawk chop. If it fosters some debate
among and between groups, great. But to say "you cannot do that because it offends me" is sets up a culture of outrage, where people can only get
their way by being offended all the time.
I don't own a confederate flag. It's uncouth, and I don't want to be mis-identified with a bunch of illiterate toothless trash that can't even
spell a monosyllabic word such as "clan."
I don't go civil war enactments. Once you've been in an actual firefight, it sort of takes the thrill out of such things.
I don't root for the Redskins, either. But I don't want to see them outlawed.