Thursday, December 09, 2004

Rewriting History

Atrios caught this story ;you know what it is --


Students at one of the area's largest Christian schools are reading a controversial booklet that critics say whitewashes Southern slavery with its view that slaves lived "a life of plenty, of simple pleasures."

Leaders at Cary Christian School say they are not condoning slavery by using "Southern Slavery, As It Was," a booklet that attempts to provide a biblical justification for slavery and asserts that slaves weren't treated as badly as people think.

Principal Larry Stephenson said the school is only exposing students to different ideas, such as how the South justified slavery. He said the booklet is used because it is hard to find writings that are both sympathetic to the South and explore what the Bible says about slavery.

"You can have two different sides, a Northern perspective and a Southern perspective," he said.

Angela Kennedy, whose daughters have attended Cary Christian since 1996, said all the booklet does is help students learn about both sides so that they have a basis to form their own opinions. She pointed out that the students also read Abraham Lincoln's speeches.

"They really do get both sides of the story," Kennedy said. "In public schools, all they get is one side of the story. That's not education. That's indoctrination."

Stephenson said the booklet is discussed for two days. Even as they read the booklet, he said, students are told slavery was wrong.

"Slavery is wrong," Stephenson said. "That's not debatable about slavery. The South was wrong about the slave trade."

Marcus Ranch, who has three daughters at Cary Christian, said he has no problem with the school using the booklet. He said it offers an accurate portrayal that is overlooked of how many slaves were treated kindly by their owners.

"That book is fine," Ranch said. "It does a good job with that particular perspective."

Highlights from this treasured tome include:

* "As we have already mentioned, the 'peculiar institution' of slavery was not perfect or sinless, but the reality was a far cry from the horrific descriptions given to us in modern histories." (page 22)

* "Slavery as it existed in the South was not an adversarial relationship with pervasive racial animosity. Because of its dominantly patriarchal character, it was a relationship based upon mutual affection and confidence." (page 24)

* "There has never been a multi-racial society which has existed with such mutual intimacy and harmony in the history of the world." (page 24)

* "Slave life was to them a life of plenty, of simple pleasures, of food, clothes, and good medical care." (page 25)

* "But many Southern blacks supported the South because of long established bonds of affection and trust that had been forged over generations with their white masters and friends." (page 27)

* "Nearly every slave in the South enjoyed a higher standard of living than the poor whites of the South -- and had a much easier existence." (page 30)

When are you necks going to get it straight? You lost, we won. Deal with it.

"I say, my dear
Ulysses, I do believe the only
way these rednecks will learn civility is at the barrel
of our muskets."

General Sherman, I hasten to say you are correct.
More port wine?"