Saturday, August 28, 2010

Glenn beck attaches the dogwhistle to a megaphone.

Bertram Wyatt-Brown: Southern Honor: Ethics and Behavior in the Old South

I am a native of the border South. My entire family is from Arkansas, most of whom descended from poor subsistence farmers from Tennessee who fought for the Confederate Army, and the rest descended from Cherokee refugees. Because of classism, Southerners from the deeper South distrust the "Southernness" of white Arkansas, but trust me--the South still lives in rural Arkansas.

Glenn Beck is throwing around a phrase: "Restoring Honor." This sounds like a good thing, but in the context of this anniversary of a certain speech, it is, in fact, a horrible thing.

In his awesome book referenced above, Bertram Wyatt-Brown teaches us that "honor" is actually a form of tight social control. And now when Southerners speak of honor, they refer to the memory of something lost: white privilege to dominate slaves and even freed blacks, clearly defined subservient roles for women, and a strict system of economic stratification, all of it enforced by a firm belief in the concept of "honor". The oral history of my family agrees with this notion 100%. Honor was so powerful that it caused my ancestors to fight for the South pretty much against their own interests. The notion that the Civil War was fought merely over slavery is too simplistic. The way Wyatt-Brown put it was that slavery loaded the gun, but "honor" pulled the trigger.

Thus, "honor" is what we now call a dogwhistle--it's a way for racists, sexists, and people who believe the wealthy have the right to dominate us all to quickly identify each other.

Thirty-seven years ago today, a preacher from Montgomery, Alabama stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and gave us a passionate vision of a world without this destructive concept. It was his dream. It is the dream of all oppressed people who were oppressed in the South, all people similarly oppressed worldwide, and all people who hate this kind of oppression.


When the raving lunatic Glenn Beck holds his stupid rally today, remember what he is restoring. "Honor." Not the honor that you and I think is good, but the honor that ruled the South. This is what Beck stands for, and it's what the Tea Party stands for.

THEY ARE KILLING MLK'S DREAM. And they must be stopped. Before they succeed.

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