When my in-laws moved to North Carolina about ten years ago, we went on a tour of the local state park, Fort Macon. Fort Macon was a Civil War fort. I was dragging around a small kid, so I wasn’t paying great attention to the tour guide, until he started talking about the War of Northern Aggression.
I said to Steve, “The War of Northern Aggression?”
He replied, “The War of Northern Aggression.”
A state employed tour guide could not even call the Civil War, the Civil War. That’s a problem.
Now, we have the confederacy flag debate. Some people say that the confederacy flag signifies the unique Southern culture, and no longer has any meaning related to slavery. I don’t think there are many black folks in Mississippi with the confederate flag hanging over their homes. TNC deals with this debate more here.
I’m all in favor of taking the confederate flag down over the state capital in South Carolina, but I think that doesn’t scratch the surface of the problem. What is the problem? Are all Southerners racist killers? No. But there is still a problem there. A grayer problem. It’s the mythology of a time of wealth and dignity in a modern world filled with poverty and bad schools and prescription drug habits.