June 26, 2020

AN ANTICIVILIZATION:

My Confederate Past: Everyone who grew up in Mississippi was steeped in the Confederacy. Even if they didn't realize it. (STUART STEVENS  JUNE 26, 2020, The Bulwark)

Mississippi has the highest percentage of African Americans of any state in the country. I ask myself now why did it take so long for me to realize what it might be like for nearly 40 percent of my state to go to school and work under a flag that represented a cause dedicated to the right to own their ancestors? Why is it that I had written books about traveling through China, Africa, and Europe, fascinated by every cultural quirk I came across, before I looked up at my own state flag and thought about the dehumanizing brutality it represented?

I don't have any good answers, most likely because there are none. I was given every opportunity in this life, an open door to the world, a chance at the best education in the United States and England, a family that supported my odd passions that I was lucky enough to turn into professions. I had passport stamps from 61 countries with different flags before I began to think about my own state's flag. It wasn't that I was actively for the flag . . . but that indifference was just as toxic as active support.

Today many white Mississippians of my generation--and even more of the younger generation--are eager to change. Faulkner wrote, "The past is never dead. It's not even past." We can't undo what we didn't do.

But my regret is mixed with a hope. Hope that perhaps we can take steps--small and inadequate as they might be--to face the truth of our Confederate past. And in doing so change the future.

It will never be enough. But I hope today we can take one more step out of the shadows of a bloody past into the brighter sun of a better day.

Posted by at June 26, 2020 8:14 AM

  

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