Monday, August 10, 2015

Historical Perspective 

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”
 Maya Angelou

History is a cruel mistress. It often discloses truths we do not want to acknowledge. This is the truth of history. We would rather forget the past that is uncomfortable. We see this in ancient cultures that have attempted to erase all traces of past kings and queens. We see it in the modern day Jihadists as they destroy the monuments of past cultures. It even shows up in social media when groups remove all traces of members they no longer like. It is human nature to destroy those things that oppose our view. Unfortunately, history can not be unlived. As Maya Angelou points out if you face it with courage you can avoid living it again.

Today we see the past of celebrities used to destroy them and their careers. At the same time we see the past of a chosen few ignored. We also see current use of words and symbols excused for some, and condemned of others. The world is showing the real ugly side of humanity in the blink of a Tweet, or Facebook post . Our side can say it because its our side, your side can't say it because its your side. IF you are striving for truth and equality the rules must be the same for both sides.

Some will blame the Great White Satan for slavery, yet ignore the thousands of Blacks who ripped slaves from their homeland and families. Of course they will point to the fact that had it not been for the thirst for slaves this would not have been possible. Slavery is horrible, and whether you are using them or selling them there is no difference. Your hands are not clean.

We hear a lot about the White Plantations made possible by their slaves. But, we hear very little about plantation owners like William Ellison Jr. Ellison was a Black Plantation owner who at his death had over 60 slaves. He also provided food and money to the Confederate cause. Ellison was only one of hundreds of Blacks that owned slaves in South Carolina. Of course this is uncomfortable to the narrative.

When I look at a Confederate Battle Flag I see the heritage of my family. I also realize that to others it is a symbol of hate. The latter is only reason I do not publicly fly the flag. If you want to judge me based on my families history that is certainly your right, and your failure.

If we continue to erase the parts of history we do not like, we will revisit them. Do you have the courage to face the truth?

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