Got into a interesting discussion online with a person who made the claim that the Civil War was not about slavery. What caught me as funny was this person’s complaint that revisionists are the ones that make the claim slavery was the cause of the Civil War. See, to me that is ironic as isn’t that what he was doing? As I was attempting to move on from the conversation I noticed on a different social media site a post for a DVD that specifically refutes slavery as a cause to the Civil War. After looking at who produced this DVD I noticed it was supported by the Daughters of the Confederacy and several other pro southern groups. So I looked even closer at this DVD for sale and in the jacket it makes the statement that it bears the truth the revisionists don’t want you to know. I was awe struck by the pot calling the kettle black.
What bothers me more than the attempts by some to portray slavery as dying institution that would have had little effect on the causes of the Civil War is, why they are going to this much trouble to revise history? As much as I would love to label most of them racists and move on I can’t due to the fact that I grew up with people like them and I know they weren’t racists. At least at the time. So why? Then it dawned on my that their attempt to revise their heritage, so to speak is cause of guilt. They don’t want to feel guilty that their ancestors promoted slavery. These people don’t want to own slaves now but they have been taught over and over again how bad slavery is and yes it is true but they don’t want to feel guilt for something that happened before them. To be honest, from that aspect I can’t say I blame them.
As I white person I have been asked before, “Do I feel guilty that white people owned slaves?” When I give the resounding no, I get all sorts of reactions from disgust to admonishment. Guess what? I didn’t own slaves. I don’t know a single living person who did. Come to think of it, I can say I don’t know any of my family who did, although I am sure someone probably did. Yet, even if my ancestors owned slaves, I am not going to feel guilty about it. Not because I am a racist but because I didn’t commit the crime so to speak. I can’t feel guilty for something I did not do. I have the same issue with it comes to the Native Americans. At no time in my personal life have I ever gone out an killed, rounded up, or forced onto a reservation, a Native American. Should I feel guilty that I didn’t so I could feel guilty I shouldn’t have?
Here is what I believe, and it is actually very simple so it confuses me when people don’t understand it. It doesn’t matter to me what color you are. White, Black, Brown, Yellow etc. I don’t care… at all. I also don’t care what sex you are, who you had sex with, if you had sex and I don’t care the color of the sex either. I don’t care if you married, single, cohabitating or living in your mothers basement. As long as you can do the job your hired for, and do it to the best of your ability what difference does your sex, color, or if you are a dog or cat lover make? None! I also don’t care if your ancestors owned slaves, were a slave, came across on the Mayflower or were dropped off by aliens. (Ok I might care about the aliens part.)
What I do care about is when you try to revise history to cover your own guilt or the so called collective guilt of that time period. Slavery happened, it was a cause of the Civil War and that won’t change just cause you make a DVD or get on facebook and argue the myths of the Civil War. You can change the name of slavery to States Rights all you want but it won’t change facts. Running from those facts cause you are afraid of them for what ever reason won’t make you a better person, it will only reenforce the negative stereotypes that you are protecting.