Friday, August 28, 2009

Looking Down on Dixie

Interesting piece defending Southerners against Northern snobbery and ignorance. Suzie explains why Northern pride over the Civil War is misplaced.

Some people don’t understand the extent of slavery in the North, or how white Northerners benefited from Southern slavery, even after it had been abolished in their own region. Some think opposing slavery was the same as supporting equal rights and opportunities for African Americans. Perhaps they think that economics played no part in abolition in the North. If so, they should read this.

Righteous Northerners could have invaded, liberated all enslaved people, invited them north and then let the South secede. Or, they could have refused to buy anything from the South, or transport its goods, until slavery ended. But that would have hurt their industries, which needed the South’s resources, made cheaper by the forced labor of slaves. To some degree, it parallels the situation today in which a lot of people hate to hear about bad labor conditions, including human trafficking (i.e., slavery), but not all of them are willing to part with cheap goods.

As a white Northerner, if you want to feel superior because of slavery, check the complicity of your family. (If you want to know about my family: My parents were Yankees who moved to Texas for my father’s job a year before I was born.

Slavery was a national disgrace, not a regional one. Black people in the North were hardly treated as equals. They were frequently little more than slaves. To look down on Southerners as racists and idiots is both foolish and unproductive.