Arguments (books)

February 7, 2019



Stamped from the beginning: The definitive history of racist ideas in America

  • Antiracists should stop connecting selfishness to racism, and unselfishness to antiracism. Altruism is wanted, but not required. Antiracists do not have to altruistic. Antiracists do not have to be selfless. Antiracists merely have to have intelligent self-interest, and to stop consuming those racist ideas that have engendered so much unintelligent self-interest over the years. It is in the intelligent self interest of middle- and upper-income Blacks to challenge the racism affecting the Black poor, knowing they will not be free of the racism that is slowing their socioeconomic rise until poor Blacks are free of racism. It is in the intelligent self-interest of Asians, Native Americans, and Latina/os to challenge anti-Black racism, knowing they will not be free of racism until Black people are free of racism. It is in the intelligent self-interest of White Americans to challenge racism, knowing they will not be free of sexism, class bias, homophobia, and ethnocentrism until Black people are free of racism. The histories of anti-Asian, anti-Native, and anti-Latina/o racist ideas; the histories of sexist, elitist, homophobic, and ethnocentric ideas: all sound eerily similar to this history of racist ideas, and feature some of the same defenders of bigotry in America. Supporting these prevailing bigotries is only in the intelligent self-interest of a tiny group of super rich, Protestant, heterosexual, non-immigrant, White, Anglo-Saxon males. Those are the only people who need to be altruistic in order to be antiracist. The rest of us merely need to do the intelligent thing for ourselves. (pg. 503)​


Confederates in the Attic


In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History


The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture

  • The Civil War stands at the center of Southern history, and the mythology of it became part of the origin myth of a distinctive people. Southern whites were divided by the war, but afterwards politicians, ministers, writers, and other cultural leaders used the memory of the Lost Cause to construct an elaborate cult of the dead, dedicated to romantic nationalism, or in this case the regional remnants of a failed nationalism. White supremacy became another mythic foundation for the regional identity that had dominated the South’s public culture until recently. (pg. 3)

  • Ben Robertson told a stunned audience at the College of Charleston in 1935 that they should go and plant a tree every time they thought about the Civil War since then at least some good would come from the southern obsession with memory.  (pg. 106)

  • The South represents what could be called a culture of remembrance, meaning not only that the public face of southern life borrows heavily from themes from the past (historical monuments, public symbols, historical tourism) but also that the values of southern life are deeply influenced by the values of commemorations and ancestral meaning. Those values themselves are constantly undergoing reinterpretation, as they are “re-remembered” by contemporary Southerners. (pg. 104)

  • The belief that southerners have always embraced a natural conception of time, one dependent more on the putatively gentle rhythms of sun and season than on the clipped, relentless, and precise ticking of clock or watch, is among the most tenacious myths surrounding southern culture… clock time and natural time are not mutually exclusive. Times rooted in and guided by nature can be rigorous, pushing work to be done within a naturally defined timeframe… If there was a peculiarly southern dimension to time consciousness, it is found in the antebellum period because slavery shaped the ways that bond people and slave owners understood and applied time. (pg. 36) ​



Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American History


The Southern Past


Reconstructing Dixie: Race, Gender, and Nostalgia in the Imagined South


Cracker Culture: Celtic Ways in the Old South


Monuments to the lost cause: women, art, and the landscapes of Southern memory


The History of White People


A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived




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