Sunday, March 06, 2005

Screw you, Jack Kent Cooke.

Digby recently wrote a post in which he claimed that southern voters are incapable of voting for anyone who doesn't embrace the southern lifestyle, which may or may not be true. Don't know, haven't really thought about it, but the anecdotal evidence seems to bear it out.

Where things get funny is in a response posted on QandO Blog stating that this is waaaaay off base. The whole post reads like a car wreck, but things go horribly awry when the Confederate flag is mentioned:
"You see, while [Confederate flag = racism] is common knowledge among many Democrats and non-Southerners, it comes as a surprise to many Southerners, who grew up around the flag, and yet somehow missed out on the whole "it means you hate black people" angle.

I'm one of those people. I grew up in Georgia, where the Confederate Flag adorned trucks, bumpers, shirts, and--yes, on rare occassions--even flagpoles. In the South, it's simply a regional symbol. Owning a Confederate flag in the South is no more intrinsically racist than following a sports team -- the Washington Redskins -- whose name has racial connotations. And yet, Democrats manage to do that without ritualistic self-flagellation."
There is so much wrong with that, but I really wanted to focus on the Redskins thing. What the author is essentially saying is that racism which has become institutionalized to the point it is viewed as normal is somehow either not racism, or is a totally acceptable form of racism. Whatever you may think about the mascot issue, let's be clear that the word redskin is a racial slur, akin to the word nigger. If the team were called the Washington Niggers, and all the white fans put on their blackface before going to the stadium and rooting for their team by mimicking African chants and making spear throwing motions, there would probably be a protest or two. I'm just guessing.

The problem lies in the fact that Indians are a very small minority, and historically have exercised little or no control over the way in which we are represented in American pop culture. Items like the mascot issue have become so deeply ingrained in American culture, and have been presented without question for so long, people accept that they are both normal and non-discriminatory without question. I agree with the author that the Confederate flag fracas and the mascot issue are similar, but the claim that race is not involved in either is fundamentally unsound.