For those who grew up in the South, the opening lines of “Dixie” ring loud and clear:
“Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton,
Old times there are not forgotten…”
But, as political correctness continues to rear its ugly head, much Southern history may soon be forgotten.
Written in 1859, Dixie became an instant hit and, during the Civil War, a great inspirational song for the Confederate army.
But PC now filters American history—evidenced most recently at Vanderbilt University. PCers will surely become Dixie-bound upon learning about the songwriter’s transgression.
Before sharing it, let us examine Vanderbilt University’s experience.
A campus dormitory was built 83 years ago, courtesy of United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) donations. But PCers today say that a great sin committed in naming the building then must be redressed now.
The Confederate flag is seen next to the monument of the victims of the Civil War in Columbia, South Carolina last June. (Getty Images/MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP)
In 1933, the words “Confederate Memorial Hall” had been inscribed upon the building. Alas, earlier this month, Vanderbilt announced it was paying UDC $1.2 million to remove “Confederate” from that inscription. We can all breath easier now.
While in vogue over the past few years to remove the Confederate flag from various state buildings and campuses, now even the word “Confederate” falls prey to PC activists seeking not to offend those apparently unwilling to learn history.
In 2014, Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, decided to remove Confederate flags from its campus. Last year, the University of Mississippi permanently removed the state flag for containing the Confederate battle flag. In July 2015, after flying over the South Carolina State Capitol building for 54 years, the Confederate flag was forever removed, leading colleges in the state to do likewise. And, earlier this year, state flags featuring the rebel battle emblem displayed in the U.S. Capitol tunnel were removed.
But PCers now focus on removing all vestiges of the Old South—in any form—from history.
The student government at the University of Texas-Austin passed a resolution to remove from campus a statue of the Confederacy’s President Jefferson Davis. It viewed it as a “racist symbol of slavery” that was offensive to many students and contrary to the school’s “core values.”
At Clemson University a building named after a politician and founder, now cast as a white supremacist, is re-named.
At other universities, demands are made for name changes involving people far removed from racism claims but, apparently, still guilty.
At UC Berkeley, the push is to change a building name where the namesake’s business supplied the South with weapons during the Civil War. In a bit of a stretch, the university’s Black Student Union (BSU) claimed the existing name served as “a daily reminder that black students are not respected on campus.” BSU wants the building re-named after a former member of the Black Panther Party.
Just wait until PCers learn Dixie songwriter Daniel Emmett was also a member of a very popular U.S. blackface troupe!
One only wonders how far PCers will go with their outrageous logic. However, if truly concerned about PC, they naively neglect targeting the real vestiges of slavery’s historic roots.
The slave trade existed long before America did. Its originators were Muslims whose Islamic religion granted them the right, as believers, to enslave non-believers.
Historians agree as bad as the trans-Atlantic slave trade was, it was much worse for slaves owned by Muslims. Most never got the chance to suffer Muslim brutality, dying in route to their destination.
Male slaves were castrated; females taken as sex slaves. Muslims were, and remain, the world’s biggest enslavers in history. When Europeans entered the slave market, they looked to Muslims as suppliers.
Yet, no similar effort to hold Muslims responsible for their transgressions—even though such practices continue today—is undertaken. Why, for example, don’t PCers seek to eliminate Islamic studies from college curriculum or to ban Muslim clothing in public? Why target the Southern slave trader facilitator but not the Muslim originator?
In going after vestiges of the Old South, PCers impose today’s standards on yesterday’s laws. For example, because women were once denied the vote, do we remove all vestiges of male history?
PCers tragically miss another crucial point.
Few Confederates were actual slave-owners. The debate continues as to how many were. For Texans, the numbers vary from a low of 2 percent to a high of 36 percent. Furthermore, other motivations existed for fighting, including states rights and territorial expansion.
Unfortunately, today’s PCers choose to label all who fought for the South as racist. Such efforts erase from history other reasons for which Southerners courageously fought for what they believed in.
In an 1884 Memorial Day speech this point was eloquently made by former Union soldier (later to become a U.S. Supreme Court judge) Oliver Wendell Holmes.
Noting he and his fellow Union comrades had been driven during that war by their belief in a just and noble cause, Holmes said:
“But, 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.”
Early 20th century philosopher George Santayana noted, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”
These lessons will be lost if a 21st century PC America remains hell-bent on hiding our history—pretending it never happened—for fear of offending the foolish sensitivities of PCers.
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