And now a few words from a fan of the Old South
A reader writes:
I like Yankees. I really do. In fact, I consider myself a Yankee, having lived in Michigan virtually all my life (I was born in Canada). Nevertheless, I find Yankee sanctimony not merely annoying but historically unfounded, at least as it relates to the purportedly enlightened racial mores of the North. You might want to pick up Alex de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America sometime and read what he has to way about race relations in the Old South. Contrast his account with Abraham Lincoln’s racist views and his desire to relocate black people to South America or Africa. Much of what you know to be true is false.
It’s sort of weird to have a Canadian arguing with a Washingtonian over the virtues of the Old South. Especially since my mother is Canadian and, as a Washingtonian, I consider myself about as much a Yankee as King Kamehameha. My people didn’t have much to do with the Civil War. They were too busy getting beaten up for being Irish. As a Washingtonian, my closest connection to the Civil War is the Pig War, a brief war fought on San Juan Island in Puget Sound. The commander of the American Camp was one George Pickett, later to gain a bit of notoriety at a little dustup in a place called Gettysburg, PA.
I hold no brief for Abraham Lincoln’s sinless perfection. And I certainly don’t think racism the exclusive property of the Old South. But one does get the impression from some southern afficianados that racism existed everywhere *but* the Old South. I did not mean to pick on the South in particular and I hope my southern readers will excuse me if they feel I singled them out in my post on Evangelicalism’s easy prejudices. I’m well aware of the newer and more devious forms of racism the allegedly liberal Northern states have brought to a fine art.