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by Storm Bear Williams
Monday, Sep. 03, 2001 at 1:43 AM
The myth of taxation causing the Civil War, American Racism and a National Slave Memorial.
Race Relations: The American Possibilities
No matter what happens at the World Council Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, America will remain the template for how the rest of the world will look, color-wise, in the next few generations.
In America, culture mixes on an accelerated curve. Members of very race, every religion, every political creed, and every nationality live in America. To take the cultural mixing farther, every language on the planet is spoken somewhere in America and every food prepared in the kitchens of every nation are cooked in America. And in the true international language of humanity, every genre of music is played here, with all the various ethnic nuances and flavors.
However, the conservatives continue to wail away on the "evils" of multiculturalism, even though the logic of that argument is against the fabric of freedom itself. Preaching the "evils of multiculturalism" in itself is a racist argument. That ideal that the conservatives preach is cooked in the bowels of ignorance that is left over from the time before the Civil Rights Act was passed. The rationale seems to be that America is better off as a SINGULAR culture. That has never been true since Columbus landed on what is he called San Salvador.
However, for years I have been trying to physicalize "multiculturalism." What is a representation of multiculturalism? It hit me hard one day and crystalized the issue for me when I was strolling along the packed noon-time streets of a large American city in the South. I met a street vendor who was selling foods based on his heritage. I was astonished at the menu and my mouth was watering heavy due to the lovely smells coming from his small kitchen on wheels. I took the plunge and ordered an item off the menu, took a bite and was in heaven. And in my hand was the perfect by-product of our multicultural society; a kung-pow chicken burrito.
The gentleman was an American of Mexican/Chinese decent. But he was American and stood as an example of what America is, no matter how hard the racists yell about his inherently "evil" kung-pow chicken burrito.
The food example is on the simple side but does illustrate that ideas are created faster and are of a higher quality when developed in more diverse environments.
But sadly, these benefits are often swept aside or destroyed by the racism in America. I have heard the racist White Americans exclaim that racism does not exist and heard the Black apologists expound that racism is no longer a part of the American landscape. Here is my testimony on the issue. I am a Southern White Boy. I'm so Irish I bleed green. However, I am married to a Strong Black Woman and because of that I have an adopted brother who has not spoken to me since we got married eight and half years ago. Other family members were also aghast at the union. One blamed all of America's ills on "the niggers, the Jews and everyone in the Kennedy family." I would submit to you that this is a typical White American family.
I still cringe every time I hear someone proclaim that this country was founded on "European Christian" values and is the reason for its growth while ignoring the contributions of other races, cultures and nationalities.
Every major river system in America has a Native American name; Ohio, Mississippi, Monongahela, Youghiogheny, Shenango, Allegheny, Missouri, Ichetucknee, Catawba, and Yadkin. And how many States have names taken from Native American languages?
And look how Native American culture has influenced American recreation. They have given us the canoe, kayak and surfboard. Kayaking is THE fastest growing water sport in America and made its Olympic debut during the 1996 Summer Olympics. Oh, and the actual whitewater contests were held in Tennessee, a state with a Native American name.
And how many Chinese immigrants died in the American West, buried in unmarked graves next to the very railroad track that they worked to build?
And how many millions of Africans were sold into slavery and shipped to North America? For almost three-hundred and fifty years, the Africans existed in America as slaves and much of America was built on their blood, pain, anguish and suffering and yet no national memorial exists for them.
The greatest racial problem that exists in contemporary America is denial. American children are taught in school that the Civil War was fought over "States Rights" and "taxation", yet all we see from the documents that started the war is racism. In all the succession documents, "taxation" is never mentioned and the only time "States Rights" comes up is in reference to the right to own Africans. In fact, the issue is frequently referred to as the "Slave Holding States vs. Non-slave Holding States."
American children are never exposed to the Confederate Constitution which guarantees the right of all "white men" to own people of African decent.
The only time these things are taught are in Black History classes and as viewed by the White mainstream, those classes are not American history.
But Americans will never grow up and realize their full potential until they come to grips as a society with the evils of racism and stop lying to themselves concerning the true origins of the US Civil War.
There are long stretches of road in North Carolina where one can see a Confederate flag flying less than every two miles. And these areas are populated mostly by African-Americans. It is beyond my comprehension as to why Whites would display a symbol rich with such hate towards Blacks. Every time a Confederate flag is displayed it cuts the racial wound deeper in America.
By claiming that the Civil War was about taxation belittles everyone and diminishes the struggle for freedom that the Blacks in America suffered to obtain.
This nation has never had the catharsis that post Nazi Germany had when the Allies forced German citizens to tour the concentration camps. German denial ended there.
America's denial will continue until we HONOR those of African descent by at least acknowledging the pain and suffering that the slaves went through. Is it so unreasonable to build a National Slave Memorial for those who built America under the heavy hand of slavery? America is building a memorial to those who overcame the Nazi's, I think that a memorial to the American Slave is just as honorable of a goal.
Maybe if we designed the memorial to be built out of White marble, the racists wouldn't bitch as much?
[Read the Civil War documents that declared secession to keep slavery alive.]
[Da NU Republik: A Campaign For Promoting A National Slave Memorial]
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