When they say it's not about race .... | Arkansas Blog

When they say it's not about race ....

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RETURN FIRE: An essay on the defeat of a bill to strip Robert E. Lee from state holiday recognition brings out many defenders of the Lost Cause.
  • RETURN FIRE: An essay on the defeat of a bill to strip Robert E. Lee from state holiday recognition brings out many defenders of the Lost Cause.

Many of you have read and commented on the essay that Philander Smith College student Kaya Herron wrote for the blog last night about the hearing on the unsuccessful effort by Rep. Nate Bell to end a state tribute to Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general, on the national holiday for civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Herron's essay speaks for itself. Speaking loudly, too, are the dozens of comments on the Arkansas Times Facebook page about her essay.

Many praise Herron. But the thread is also heavily populated, as the legislature's deliberations have been, by those who deny that the tribute to Lee is about race or the Civil War. It includes, too,  the slavery deniers who insist, despite ample black-and-white record, including Arkansas's own secession resolution, that preservation of slavery was at the core of the war. It is no matter that a relatively small number of the gentry in the South, including Robert E. Lee's family, were slave owners.

Many of the comments are as dismissive as Rep. Richard Womack, who in chairing the meeting, abruptly cut off remarks by people such as NAACP president Dale Charles and Phil Kaplan, chairman of the Martin Luther King Jr. commission. They include overtly racist — or at least remarks as monumentally insensitive — as Mountain Home lawyer John Crain's reference to "colored brothers."

Racial animosity in some cases isn't veiled, it is open for all to see. Example:

You as a black woman, I don't give a rat's ass how you see anything in your eyes. As one of the 12.8%, know your role.

Another:

And YOU as a black woman can go back to Africa then tell me how bad things are. I don't give a crap what you think.

Also:

Robert E. Lee, one of the greatest men this nation produced. Even his enemies could find no fault in him. That some propagandized ignorant black wants to believe otherwise still does not take away from this fact.

And, this, unclear if meant sincerely or ironically:

 I thought it was James Earl Ray day

No irony here:

Get the fuck off your high horse. Civil War wasn't about "slavery". Stop trying to fake history lessons about another baboon agenda.

Nate Bell had it right. The opponents of his bill can wrap the opposition up in all kinds of fancy paper, but the contents of the box inside tell a story.

RELATED: When some of the same representatives tell you that removal of local control on civil rights laws and "religious conscience" bills are not about discrimination against gay people .... it's about discrimination against gay people.


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