I follow a Youtube cinema critic, a foul-mouthed Scotsman with a huge following, who goes by the name The Critical Drinker. I find his commentary concise, witty, and thoughtful. Along with Rotten Tomatoes and other sources, he has saved me a lot of time and brain damage by helping me sift the muck of Hollywood for that occasional gem, and on his recommendation I recently gave Amazon’s Reacher a try but gave up after a few episodes. I understand why he liked it and dont begrudge the Scotsman a bit.
The problem is that it was set in the South, and Hollywood rarely presents Dixie unless our racism is at least in the background. It’s unfair, and tiresome.
What has always stuck in my craw is the traditional hypocrisy of non-Southern white people on the issue of racism. When the negro began leaving the South in large numbers between The War and WWII he was not welcomed by white people anywhere he went. Quite the opposite. If he had a unique problem with Southern whites it was because of our unique history together. That is, we were in fact for about 240 years of slavery literally together and thus had to deal with each other. That the black man got the short end of the stick during this time is as obvious as it is beside the point.
But in spite of the best efforts of a minority of bitter, vengeance-craving blacks and their white liberal allies to fan the old flames, race relations between indigenous white and black Southerners have done a full 180 in my lifetime, and anyone that says otherwise doesn’t remember 1970 or is intellectually dishonest or uninformed.
Why then do liberals within all forms of media as well as the education establishment work so hard to perpetuate the old paradigm of the racist white South? Why cant we all agree that things had been improving radically between 1960 and 2020, pat ourselves on the back, and keep up the good work?
There are two broad reasons I think, the first being that the Left wants the old cudgel to work like it did in the bad old days. Much like European cavalry commanders in 1914 wanted the charge to work just like it always had, machines guns be danged.
Progressives hate the South not because they really believe that white Southerners secretly want to bring back slavery or even to have separate drinking fountains. No, Progressives hate white Southerners because of their innate conservatism that is forever delaying or foiling all their new projects from Big Government to abortion to so-called gay marriage to transgenderism, and the list could go on.
By resisting the Civil Rights movement back in the day, many Southern whites foolishly gave Progressivism the moral high ground. My grandfathers were among them. Though in fairness it needs to be pointed out that even back then the attitudes of many white Southerners had long been changing.
But the goal of the modernisers of the 50’s and 60’s wasn’t limited to equal rights for the black man any more than the modernisers of the 1860’s were only about abolishing slavery. Or for that matter any more than the modernisers of 2020 were about stamping out racism.
Progressivism is a whole package, and fighting racism against the black man has in the past been far and away the most effective crowbar to pry open the door to let the whole package in. Thus the Left tried using it again in 2020.
White Southerners must continually be branded as fundamentally racist so that the race card can keep being played so that Southern conservatism can keep being ground down.
The second reason is that the stereotype of the racist South is central to the cultural elite’s self-image. It just feels good to be better than thou, and nothing unites like a common enemy.
So white Southerners must remain the people that everyone can agree to hate, or at least despise.
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