As activists stumble over themselves to locate Confederate statues to topple or an American flag and national anthem to disrespect, certain aspects undermining their racial claims, past and present, largely go unaddressed.
One such aspect “topplers” ignore is how they also disrespect those who fought for the North.
Any statue connected to the Confederacy has become fair game for them. It matters not most wearing the gray either owned no slaves or, like Gen. Robert E. Lee, were anti-slavery. Interestingly, the last U.S. president to own slaves fought for the North – Ulysses S. Grant.
Thus, despite issues driving North and South to take up arms against each other, these warriors shared some common beliefs.
Topplers also conveniently choose to ignore that the North did not go to war to end slavery, and, as some historians suggest, had the South won it would have ended it. Americans supporting slavery back then supported a flawed law, in human-rights terms, that, nonetheless, was the law of the land for both sides. Yet today’s topplers fail to hold the blue to the same standard as the gray.
Common beliefs tended to create a bond of mutual respect, eloquently described by a veteran of the North who went on to become a famous jurist.
Almost two decades after the war, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes gave a Memorial Day speech. He observed he and his fellow Union soldiers had been driven during the Civil War by a belief their cause was just and noble. “But,” he explained, “we equally believed that those who stood against us held, just as sacred, convictions that were the opposite of ours – and we respected them as every man with a heart must respect those who give all for their belief. … You could not stand up day after day in those indecisive contests where overwhelming victory was impossible … without getting at last something of the same brotherhood for the enemy that the north pole of a magnet has for the south – each working in an opposite sense to the other, but each unable to get along without the other. As it was then, it is now. The soldiers of the war need no explanations; they can join in commemorating a soldier’s death with feelings not different in kind, whether he fell toward them or by his side.”
As Holmes made clear, the commitment of those on the other side to die for their beliefs demanded respect. Accordingly, the acts of today’s topplers fail to do so.
Another ignored aspect of liberal claims relates to an alleged Donald Trump-Russian conspiracy impacting the presidential election. While evidence is still lacking, and after two key members of former-FBI Director Robert Mueller’s investigative team have departed, ignored is the fact Russia fanned the flames of America’s racial discord with ads planted on social media. It is now established a Russian initiative known as “Blacktivist” used Facebook and Twitter to do so.
This was not something new for Russia. As a former KGB agent, President Vladimir Putin was well aware that agency played a key role during the 1960s in publishing fake news about Martin Luther King. The KGB planted stories such as King being on the U.S. government’s payroll, in hopes of triggering his downfall and replacement by a militant leader.
Russia has a long history of sowing the seeds of racial hatred in the U.S. and, undoubtedly, now takes great joy our professional athletes are disrespecting our flag and anthem.
Yet another aspect ignored by race activists is their hypocrisy concerning appropriation claims of black culture by whites. While copying elements of another’s culture should be viewed more as a compliment than a theft, these activists see it differently.
At Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, a white girl who had braided her hair was attacked by an enraged black girl for doing so. The latter felt offended the former appropriated black culture. Another incident occurred at San Francisco State University when a white male student wearing dreadlocks was attacked by a black female student for the same reason.
Additionally, after performer Miley Cyrus came out with a video in which she demonstrated her “twerking” talents – a form of dancing, rooted in African culture, involving gyrations of one’s backside – she was criticized by black performers Jay-Z and Aealia Banks – for cultural appropriation.
The list of alleged appropriation incidents goes on and on.
But why, then, is the reverse not true – i.e., that blacks coming to America have, over time, appropriated many aspects of white culture?
This is especially so in the form of two major professional sports – American football and basketball – that were invented by white males. The former was the invention of Walter Camp; the latter of James Naismith. The case can be made Bob Douglas, recognized as the father of black basketball, appropriated it from white culture.
Today, watching any professional football or basketball game, a disproportionately larger representation – based on demographics – of black to white players exists. Clearly, these games have allowed more talented black athletes to thrive, reaping in millions of dollars of income in the process.
Arguably, the “appropriation” of these sports by blacks denies incomes to (less talented) white players. Yet at no time, and appropriately so, has the claim of appropriation of a white man’s sport by blacks been raised. The truth of the matter is the combined talents of players – both black and white – have clearly made these sports much more competitive.
The political activists creating the racial turmoil in our country need reflect on whether there are realistic justifications for their actions. In doing so, they should consider whether they are being judgmental in attacking those who simply chose to comply with yesterday’s law of the land and those being unfairly treated today by claims whites are appropriating elements of black culture.
But, more importantly, they need consider whether their acts, in dividing America, are exactly what others, long committed to our demise, seek to do by fanning the flames of activist discontentment.