06 January 2008

SINGLE-STRING THEORY OF SOUTHERN CULTURE

In the 1990s I used to hear about a Southern secessionist group called the Southern League, named after the secessionist Northern League, of Italy. It was forced to change its name to the League of the South after it was threatened by lawsuit from the AAA minor league baseball association with the same, and prior, name.

The League of the South was based more or less at the University of Alabama and published an "academic" journal (I had some copies) and held conventions, one of which took place here on the Gulf Coast a few years ago.

What distinguishes them is their patina of academic, intellectual, and nonracist rhetoric. They are mostly university professors who espouse States' rights, "Southern culture and heritage" (their version), and a traditionalist, conservative, regionalist return to supposed historic values.

There was an interesting academic battle going on a few years ago between them and a female historian at the University of Alabama, who published some articles about them. Seems I recall that one of her main points was that, in spite of claims of being nonracist, in truth they are that.

I say she is correct. Yesteryear's Southern (white, Christian, traditionalist) values WERE racist. It would be, I believe, an obfuscation to espouse those values and somehow pretend to excise the racialist subtext of those traditions. This would be a falsification of history, revisionism at its worst. Its historiography is not up to acceptable standards.

Southern culture came about as interaction, a close intertwining, of white and black subcultures. One canNOT be understood without looking at the other. As a methododology of historiography, the League of the South is trying to unravel one thread of a string that has two threads. Both threads make the string what it is.

So, for the League of the South and others of the same ilk to claim that there was some pure white, Southern culture is a historical impossibility. Only in their imagination could one exist. In the real world, it did not.

1 comment:

MSPolitics said...

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Keep on blogging!