We might eventually be sorry about the whole slavery thing

I’m a little embarrassed.  There’s a political to-do here in my home state of Tennessee involving historical memory, and I didn’t even know about it until Dimitri Rotov pointed it out via this post

We’re trying to decide whether or not we’re sorry about that whole slavery and Jim Crow business.  Evidently we’re not sorry yet, but there’s a good possibility that we might be in the near future. 

Mr. Rotov raises some interesting objections.  For one thing, this measure “puts the government in the position of making a claim against the lives of Tennessee residents, the majority of whom are transients or descendants of non-Tennessee ancestors.” 

See, the problem is, my family has been in Tennessee for a long time.  On the other hand, my great-grandfather was named for Gen. George H. Thomas, so I’m guessing they were Unionists.  Then again, they could’ve been anti-secession slaveholders.  And I’m not sure about my mom’s side of the family. 

What if I’m not sorry right now, but I find out that my great-great-grandpa rode with Forrest, or something?  Can I defer my apology until later, pending a genealogical investigation?

Anyway, we’re still thinking about it, so we’ll have to get back to you.

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2 Comments

Filed under Civil War, History and Memory, Tennessee History

2 responses to “We might eventually be sorry about the whole slavery thing

  1. d_ustin

    What if our forefathers were from Canada or something but remarkably racist and actually encouraged this slavery thing from afar? Or on the other hand what if the old folks were very confused about their own heritage and believed themselves to be slaves? Should I be demanding apologies or giving them? I need to know what level of guilt I should be carrying around with me.

  2. mlynchhistory

    I think you should do both. Demand an apology on behalf of the confused old folk ancestors, and then apologize to yourself on behalf of the racist Canadian ancestors.

    Then, on behalf of the confused old folk ancestors, refuse to accept the apology and demand reparations.

    Having made this demand, forcefully argue that this is outrageous, and that you’ll have nothing to do with it, on behalf of the racist Canadians.

    At that point, your only recourse on behalf of the confused old folks would be to remind yourself that in disbursing said reparations, you are giving yourself your own money.

    The logical thing to do at that time, on behalf of the racist Canadians, would be to go ahead and fork over the cash, which will instantly be put back in your hands by virtue of the fact that you just gave it yourself.

    Invest that money in a trip to some historic site, which will generate blog fodder for the diversion of loyal readers everywhere.

    –ML

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