In the highly hostile, accusatory political environment of the present, the media is spreading the idea that racism in our country originated in the Southern States and that it has been a problem in the South since the Civil War. On the other hand, the Northern States are never implicated in the charge of racism, and the liberal left feels totally vindicated in destroying any remnant of Southern heritage connected with the Civil War.
This picture of history is nothing less than a fabrication. Let’s consider the actual facts around the middle of the 19th century. Were there slave holders in the South? Yes, there were. By 1860, there were about 4 million slaves on the plantations in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. Were the Northern States troubled by this situation? Not very much! In fact, the Congress of the United States assisted the Southern slave owners in 1850 by passing the Fugitive Slave Act, thus requiring the return of all fugitive slaves to the plantations. President Fillmore signed the bill with the strong support of the Senator from Massachusetts Daniel Webster. Then, there was the Supreme Court case in 1857 where SCOTUS ruled that “the slave Dred Scott could not sue for his freedom because he was not a person, but property”. (Howard Zinn) Furthermore, when John Brown tried to rebel against slavery in 1859, he was hanged with the sanction of the Federal Government. To be sure, slavery was a regrettable, deplorable social condition of the South, but racism itself was just as strong in North as it ever was in the South. Even the famous “Emancipation Proclamation” of Lincoln did not free all of the slaves, but rather only those slaves who lived in the Confederate States fighting against the Union. As one author put it: “The principle (of the Emancipation Proclamation) is not that a human being cannot justly own another, but that he cannot own him unless he is loyal to the United States” (London Spectator).
There was a time in our country when the liberals had the reputation of being the intellectuals, the elites. Today, they have morphed into ideologues. Either they no longer read history and are thus ignorant, or they know the truth of the situation and are dishonest in their comments. Either way, they should be ashamed of themselves. And the notion that destroying Confederate Monuments will erase racism in this country is nothing short of ludicrous. Just three days ago, Reuters reported: “A black banker in Goldman Sachs Group Inc's personal wealth management unit filed a lawsuit on Wednesday accusing the firm of steering top clients to her white colleagues and denying her promotions because of her race.” Does anyone seriously think that Goldman Sachs is going to promote an African-American into Lloyd Blankfein’s job because the statue of Robert E. Lee was destroyed? If the liberals are really concerned about racism, they should sit down at the table with those of differing opinions and engage in rational, respectful dialogue.