Silver Rights

News, thoughts and comments on civil rights and related issues.

Saturday, June 26, 2004  

Opinion: Jesse Jackson deserves r-e-s-p-e-c-t

The Buzzflash has asked a question I have wondered about, as well. Why do some people hate Jesse Jackson so much?

Oh, my, my, my, how some white folk love to hate Jesse Jackson.

He's the black Hillary Clinton to them. A non-white male who happens to be smarter than most of them and isn't intimidated. Not to mention that he knows how to handle the media.

All in all, that makes him a dangerous man to white males. Because if the Bush administration has taught us anything, it has taught us that modern-day Neo-Confederacy Republicanism is all about white male entitlement. The real reason that the majority of white males support Bush is that they figure that if you can be as dimwitted, feeble, ineffective, bumbling, and inarticulate as Bush and still be president, then there's hope for any white male.

My former longterm significant other, a white man from Virginia, refers to the mentality of Jesse Jackson haters as 'whitey's last stand.' I think he, and the Buzz, are on to something. Compared to the outrages perpetrated by powerful white men in politics and industry, Rev. Jackson has done our society virtually no harm. Quite the opposite. His brave advocacy during the civil rights movement helped achieve the access to public places for people of color most Americans take for granted. His so-called 'shakedowns' of corporations have focused attention on their policies of ignoring nonwhite job applicants and joint venturers unless the bright light of publicity shines on them. If it wasn't known that civil rights leaders will raise hell when state college admissions return to their damn near lily white past as they did in Texas, they would have returned to the status quo. The backlash against affirmative action notwithstanding, Rev. Jackson has been a tireless advocate of fairness in college admissions.

Is Rev. Jesse Jackson perfect? Has he said some things he might regret? No and Yes. But, so what. Put in any human being's name and the answer to the two questions is still no and yes.

Let's face it, Rev. Jackson has too often literally been the "whipping boy" of the displaced white male (who ironically, whines about being a victim of equality) trying to restore the glory days of a society where the white male was king of his castle or master of his plantation. If Rev. Jackson were a Republican (let's just dismiss the impossibility here on philosophical reasons alone), he'd probably be using Dick Cheney for a hand puppet.

Wait a minute, Jackson haters will say. Jesse Jackson has exaggerated his closeness to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. True. But, the relationship is embroidered, not fabricated. And, the detractors will say, he has an out-of-wedlock daughter. True, again. She is a beautiful child. I respect Rev. Jackson's decision to risk having her instead of opting for abortion, as most men in high profile positions would. I don't respect his infidelity. Therein lies the rub. Critics of the man ignore or devalue his contributions to society while overstating their criticisms of him. I do not.

I would be remiss if I did not anticipate the next attack on the best known civil rights advocate in the world. Right Wingers will suggest substituting Jesse Lee Peterson, Larry Elder, Clarence Thomas or some other contemporary handkerchief head for Rev. Jackson. Then, it is time for me to say, 'Gotcha!' Right Wing African-American 'leaders' owe whatever status they have to the white Right. (There really isn't a colored one.) They are groomed by it, popularized by it and paid by it. Their only connection to other blacks is the one they are being used for -- appearance. The reason Rev. Jackson is a legitimate civil rights leader and Peterson is not is that he is opposed to the interests of the very people he claims to represent. Peterson represents the interests of the folks making whitey's last stand, while claiming otherwise. It is apparent in the positions these people take and in the money trail back to their white Right Wing handlers. Rev. Jackson, on the other hand, has not allowed himself to be co-opted -- though there have doubtlessly been many attempts to achieve that goal. He opinions belong to him, not some Right Wing foundation footing his bills.

Rev. Jackson does not really need me to speak for him. He can speak for himself very effectively. And, he has. Read the Jesse Jackson interview at The Buzzflash.

posted by J. | 11:45 PM

Tuesday, June 22, 2004  

'Christian' secession has neo-Confederate roots

Blogger and activist Natalie Davis has also given some thought to Christian Exodus. It is the secessionist movement rooted in white supremacy that La Shawn Barber promotes on her weblog. Davis' is not a supporter.

Over the past week, more than 600 gay and lesbian couples have wed legally, thanks to the establishment of marriage equality in Massachusetts -- and certain conservative Christians can't stand it. What they call "sodomite marriage" is the last straw propelling them to work toward establishing their own Christian nation.

Run for your lives: The new Confederacy is coming! has been established to coordinate the move of 50,000 or more Christians to a single conservative state in the U.S. for the express purpose of reestablishing constitutional governance. It is evident that our Constitution has been abandoned under our current federal system. The efforts of Christian activism have proven futile over the past five decades and, whereas desperate times require desperate measures, we are now in the most desperate of times. The federal government is considering whether marriage, the foundation of civilization since Creation, should be reserved solely to a man and a woman. Christians must now draw a line in the sand and unite in a sovereign state to dissolve our bond with the current union comprised as the United States of America.

Grab the Stars and Bars and call Roy Moore: Looks like 1860 is here again.

If the people involved in Exodus and other secessionist efforts get their way, it will indeed be back to the past, circa 1860. The organization embodies the 'Christian' aspect of the neo-Confederate movement. Michael Hill, the president of the secessionist League of the South, decided on the Christian approach as a way to make inroads and gain control of already established conservative groups and institutions. Smart. Churches are often the most entrenched part of a town, city or state. Furthermore, new 'customers' become available yearly. So far, the neo-Confederate goal of appealing to far Right Christians has been moderately successful. Efforts to literally take over conservative Southern churches resulted in dissension and lawsuits. But, the more subtle approach of influencing them is bearing fruit.

The theological basis for the movement can be traced to apologia for slavery written before and after the Civil War. The Southern theologians included Robert Lewis Dabney, James Henley Thornwell and Benjamin Morgan Palmer. They believed the antebellum South to be an ideal Christian nation. Therefore, if Southerners are to regain God's favor, which they lost when they were defeated in the war, the old status quo must be reestablished. According to them, dominance of society by Christian white men, property ownership as a perequisite to the electoral franchise, exclusion of women from all roles other than wife and mother, and, of course, chattel slavery of human beings, are Biblically mandated. The United States has been living in sin since the Civil War, they say. The only way to reverse that headlong plunge to Hell is for Christians to secede from the benighted nation. Ergo, Exodus and other parts of the 'Christian' secessionist movement.

Hill made his views in regard to slavery clear in a letter to the League of the Souths's members in 1998.

The day of Southern guilt is over -- THE SOUTH WAS RIGHT -- and let us not forget that salient fact. NO APOLOGIES FOR SLAVERY should be made. In both the Old and New Testaments slavery is sanctioned and regulated according to God's word. Thus, when practiced in accord with Holy Scripture, it is NOT A SIN. Our ancestors were not evil men because they held slaves. This issue is our Achilles Heel, and the only way to deal with it is to confront our accusers boldly and without guilt. After all, what we are really upholding is GOD'S WORD. Let us fear Him, and we'll fear no man."

Nor is there any room for doubt that Hill condemns homosexuality. His remarks in an essay attacking virtually all progressive political change as 'cultural Marxism' are typical.

You believe that homosexuality is a ‘lifestyle choice’ and that homosexual unions are the equivalent of marriage between a man and woman. . . . Sodomy is an abomination to God!

South Carolina, one of the few states to ever have a black majority, has a history of extreme efforts to keep control of its affairs in the hands of a conservative white elite. So, it is not surprising that Exodus selected it as the state its members should infiltrate, in preparation for secession.

Our independence will be achieved by legislative vote rescinding our state's ratification of the U.S. Constitution. In order to achieve this vote, we must possess a representative majority in both houses of our state's legislature. This may not be achieved immediately. However, has chosen the 50,000-member figure because, when targeted at the right districts, we should control at least 25% of the legislature. Such a strong position will bring the Independence debate to the public. ... Our board of directors believes that the current populace of [South Carolina] will lean toward Independence in the face of gay marriage. The influence of our membership in the legislature will tip the scales in favor of Independence.

The leaders of Exodus believe they will have sufficient strength to win a secession vote within eight years.

Read the rest of Natalie Davis' entry at All Facts and Opinions.

Reasonably related

•Blogger Ed Sebesta of Neo, and Euan Hague, have written an academic paper important to understanding the role of Christianity in neo-Confederate dogma. Read "The U.S. Civil War as a Theological War: Confederate Christian Nationalism and the League of the South" here.

•Also be sure to read Diane Roberts' excellent article "A League of Their Own," an honest look at Michael Hill's organization and its objectives.

posted by J. | 4:03 PM

Monday, June 21, 2004  

Black blogger loves white Right

I haven't reviewed Edward Jones' novel The Known World, though I read it months ago. So, I must not like the book, right? Wrong. Why would I, the consummate bookworm, someone who would rather read than eat, keep silent? When I like a book as much as do that one, I sometimes read it two or three times before talking about it. I dissect the characters and ideas embodied in the work. Savor them. However, I am going to talk about a character in Jones' book in regard to a blogger whose weblog I've been observing for about a month. Stennis is the human chattel of a thief who absconds with slaves and free blacks in the mid-South and resells them in the Lower South in the 1840s or so. Not only is Stennis his master's slave, he is his best friend. His personality has become merged with the slave stealer's to the extent that he echoes his words, thoughts and behaviors.

La Shawn Barber is an African-American blogger who has become an adjunct of the far Right to the extent that it is eerie to read her blog. Much of its content consists of what I will call black pathology stories. She offers a steady diet of wrongdoing by African-Americans ranging from plaigarism of a speech to the usual Right Wing obsession with blacks' sexuality and supposed penchant for crime. Attacks on the civil rights movement and its contemporary representatives are a staple. Reading this material, one feels as if one is at well-known white supremacist sites such as Stormfront or American Renaiisance. The contempt for African-Americans, other than a few like herself, is that palpable. Meanwhile, whites on the Right, no matter how far Right, are placed on a pedestal and praised. Indeed, if one relied on Barber for information, one would believe white people are incapable of wrongdoing -- unless they are liberals.

Barber's latest love affair is with Michael Savage.

I Was On The Savage Nation

What do you know? My post about President Bush's praise and building up of the impeached Bill Clinton, a man who left the White House in disgrace, whether he thinks so or not, attracted the attention of Michael Savage's producers (see this site, too).

Savage discussed the Bush/Clinton "lovefest" last night and wondered why no conservatives were speaking out about it. This morning I decided to blog about it and find out what you thought. One of his producers contacted me and said I was one of the few conservative writers or bloggers who even mentioned it.

Some of my sharp-eared readers heard Savage interviewing me about 30 minutes ago. Fun stuff! I was on the air around 7:30 p.m. EST. I listen to Savage's show as much as I can because he's so different from Rush Limbaugh, who I also like. Savage is a lot more edgy, and sometimes I need to hear that.

I had so much more to say, but Savage had other guests and topics to get to. I'll tell you this: I can run my mouth!

Savage's racist, misogynist and generally misanthropic beliefs are not exactly a secret.

. . .Michael Savage has equated gays with pedophiles and suggested that homosexuality is a conspiracy to reduce the population of white Americans while Asians and Hispanics (who "breed like rabbits") take over the country. According to news reports, Savage (who is Jewish) once played tapes of Adolph Hitler's speeches over German military music the day after Yom Kippur. On the afternoon of Herb Caen's funeral, he played sound effects of him pissing on the columnist's grave. He even once suggested that some Marin schoolgirls who passed out sandwiches to the homeless in San Francisco were in danger of getting raped but might enjoy it (see Savage Family Values).

There is a commonality. Savage (actually Wiener) seems just as ashamed of his Jewish roots as Barber does of her African ancestry. However, at least he is not exploiting his Jewishness to curry favor with his conservative white audience, as she does. The comments section on her blog is a collection of Right Wing white folks congratulating her on selling her own people out.

Barber's sycophancy does not stop with admiring the likes of Michael Savage and Rush Limbaugh. In a recent entry, she expressed support for a community for far Right Christians to be formed by the white supremacist secessionist movement. Perhaps, the woman believes Exodus will grant her a special dispensation despite the abundance of melanin in her skin.

But, what happens to Stennis in The Known World, you are wondering. A free black man he and his master have kidnapped to resell into slavery tries to persuade him to join him in escaping. Stennis refuses, saying that he prefers his relationship to his master to freedom. Eventually, the duo is caught and put on trial. Not because of the free blacks they have kidnapped and allowed to die or sold into slavery, but because they deprived whites of their slaves. Stennis' sentence is merely to be sold to another master.

Ed Jones says he had some difficulty getting the literary establishment to take his historical novel seriously during the ten years it was a work in progress. One reason for that may be that he makes no excuses for some blacks' role in supporting slavery. Common sense says that no one would fight for the continued dehumanization of himself and his kin, but some people did and will. Stennis and some other black characters in the book do everything they can to help maintain the peculiar institution. They believe as strongly in white supremacy as any white person has. When I look at the work product of La Shawn Barber, I think: Stennis lives.

posted by J. | 11:15 PM