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Racism: Totally Dead

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Confederate_Reunion_Parade_Richmond

The post-racial society once again rears its glorious head, this time in beautiful Orange, Texas:

A Confederate monument featuring 32 flags representing Civil War regiments is nearing completion in an east Texas town, alongside Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans, which is building the $50,000 memorial on private property, has ordered flagpoles to stand alongside 13 columns representing the states that seceded from the United States and fought to preserve slavery.

Granvel Block, an Orange resident who leads the statewide Sons of Confederate Veterans group, said southern states did not fight the Civil War to defend slavery – but instead were simply defending their sovereignty after “our states were invaded by northern troops.”

He said the memorial is intended to correct the “poor skew” of historical teachings about the Civil War and the Confederacy.

Block is a plaintiff in a recent case before the U.S. Supreme Court, which will decide whether Texas was wrong to reject a specialty license plate displaying the Confederate flag.

He insists the location of the memorial along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive was not chosen to “stir the pot,” but was simply the cheapest land the group could find in Orange.

Oh yeah, I’m sure that was the reason. Total coincidence. Admitting that racism is dead and that’s why white cops should be able to shoot black men without consequence, I wonder if we look at the bad old days, if there was any racism in the Orange, Texas vicinity? You know, just for random comparison.

Orange, Texas had so many lynchings in the late 19th century that it had a specifically designated hanging tree. Blacks in east Texas counties are between 4 and 34 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana than whites while a local assistant U.S. Attorney wrote this in response to criticism of Stand Your Ground laws:

How are you fixed for Skittles and Arizona watermelon fruitcocktail (and maybe a bottle of Robitussin, too) in your neighborhood? I am fresh out of “purple drank.” So, I may come by for a visit. In a rainstorm. In the middle of the night. In a hoodie. Don’t get upset or anything if you see me looking in your window…kay?”

In 1989, cops shot and killed a suspected drug dealer after he supposedly reached for their guns, leading to NAACP-led protests about police brutality in Orange. An Army reservist in Orange dragged a black woman named Therea Ardoin to death after tying her to his pickup after beating her in the head with a hammer.

Less than 20 miles away, you have Vidor, Texas, which has one of the strongest racist legacies of any town in the United States, including a long history as a sundown town and a 1993 KKK rally after the federal government finally forced local public housing to accept black residents.

All of this is what I found looking for all of 5 minutes.

In other words, racism is dead.

….In comments, Hogan uncovers how Orange talks about the Civil War. On the city’s official website. In 2015.

The War Between the States, which lasted from 1861-1865, had disastrous effects on Orange by taking its toll on lives and property. When hostilities ceased, tragedy continued. A reign of terror marked by extreme lawlessness followed the end of the war, lasting for a decade. Additional hardships ensued in 1865, when one of the worst wind and rainstorms in Orange’s history brought about even more death and destruction

Did I mention that racism was dead?

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  • Gwen

    For what it’s worth, most of the rest of Texas does at least grasp that the people in Orange and Vidor are racist hicks.

    • Don’t leave out Jasper!

    • In all seriousness, when I taught my Civil War course, which is basically a Treason in Defense of Slavery course, at a liberal arts college in Texas, I expected a lot of pushback from students who would defend the Confederacy. Didn’t really get that at all. Surprised me. Some of these students told me they had family members who believed in all that and who looked forward to confronting their family members with what they had learned. And I had one student evaluation grumble about me not allowing other perspectives, but it was from a kid who never talked anyway. And that was it.

      Had I taught it at a school in east Texas as opposed to central Texas, the response might have been quite different.

    • Karen24

      My East Texas racist cousins think the Orange – Jasper – Vidor area is dangerous and contemptible. (Google The Austin Lounge Lizards “Anahuac” for a musically summary of our opinion of the place.)

    • DrDick

      Truth is that racism never died in East Texas, indeed, it never even faltered for a second (the same is true for many parts of the US).

    • Origami Isopod

      It’s very easy to point at those “hicks” over there and their blatant racism. It’s not quite as easy to look at one’s own community and see the more subtle… “classier,” we might say… racism that goes on therein.

      (Note: I am not throwing stones. The Northeast is hardly a postracial utopia.)

  • rea

    that’s why white cops should be able to shoot black men without consequence

    Although the cop in the linked article is, encouragingly, being charged with murder

    • Yes, although there are bills out there to ban the filming of cops.

      • West of the Cascades

        Just to be accurate, the proposed bill would prohibit filming a cop within 25 feet (or within 100 feet if you are armed). Members of the TV and radio media could film/record within 25 feet. Text of the bill at http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/84R/billtext/pdf/HB02918I.pdf#navpanes=0

        I don’t know how I feel about this. 25 feet is about the width of a very narrow street (two and a half lanes). It smacks of a slippery slope towards banning all filming (which would probably be unconstitutional), but it’s not as unreasonable as the headlines make it sound. I don’t think I would try to get within 25 feet of a cop to film him arresting someone (or worse) — the only time I ever have, I stood about 40 feet away. It’s also clear that the videographer in Walter Scott’s murder was at least 50 feet away at all times (it looked like they may have been in a car using zoom).

    • SgtGymBunny

      I refuse to be encouraged until there is a guilty verdict… But it is a nice start.

    • wengler

      It’s really hard to not charge him when the crime is so evident on film. It’s like the BART slaying. The DA shrugs their shoulders, the cop gets a bench trial and something like 18 months in detention.

      I guess it beats the alternative though. The cop dropped the taser on the guy he shot in the back. Without the video, he’d probably have gotten suspended with pay and then nothing.

  • Pat

    What’s the economic engine for Orange? How do these “racist hicks” make their money? What holds young people there?

    • SgtGymBunny

      I’m gonna put a vote in for auto body shops and/or towing.

    • Hogan

      The city is located in one of the most promising industrial areas on the fast-growing Gulf Coast. Area industries include: petrochemical products, steel fabrication, shipbuilding, rubber products, paper products, and plastics.

      And then there’s this:

      The War Between the States, which lasted from 1861-1865, had disastrous effects on Orange by taking its toll on lives and property. When hostilities ceased, tragedy continued. A reign of terror marked by extreme lawlessness followed the end of the war, lasting for a decade. Additional hardships ensued in 1865, when one of the worst wind and rainstorms in Orange’s history brought about even more death and destruction.

      Yes, the Civil War, the KKK, and other natural disasters. (“We pray that a merciful Providence will deliver us from the acts of God under which we have suffered.”)

      • On the city’s official website. In 2015. Amazing.

      • Sara A

        I teach African American literature at a state U in Beaumont, dead in the middle of these towns. And to this list of industries, I would add the prison industrial complex.

      • rea

        Orange had a bit of a rough time of it during the war (its rail connection to New Orleans severed, its port blockaded, and a yellow fever epidemic), although not as bad as a lot of places and no more than those slavers deserved. As for the decade of post-war lawlessness, in addition to the usual atrocities against blacks, the area essentially had no functioning government or law enforcement for about a decade (the sheriff, for example, was caught counterfeiting, and lynched)

  • Is it too much to hope there’s a small fertilizer plant right next to that confederate monument?

  • Shakezula

    Thanks to the many wise people on Twitter I now know that racism only exists because people keep talking about it.

    It is blog posts like this that keep us from entering the post-racial Nirvana envisioned by Teddy Bear Pro-War Capitalist Martin Luther King, Jr. Thanks a lot!

  • Hogan

    13 columns representing the states that seceded from the United States and fought to preserve slavery.

    So they’re counting Kentucky and Missouri? Assholes. I mean, yeah, assholes, but in many dimensions.

  • Yankee

    A reign of terror marked by extreme lawlessness followed the end of the war, lasting for a decade.

    Sorta like Iraq. Who could have guessed? Glad human rights were advanced, money well spent.

  • Rob in CT

    The War Between the States, which lasted from 1861-1865, had disastrous effects on Orange by taking its toll on lives and property

    I don’t know the area, but was much property destroyed in this area by Union forces? Might it be more accurate to say that mostly this is about “property” that was set free?

    • Hogan

      Well, there was this.

      The haste to disband the army, combined with the pressing need to protect Confederate property from Union confiscation, created general mayhem. Soldiers began openly pillaging the Galveston quartermasters stores on May 21. Over the next few days, a mob demanded that a government warehouse be opened to them, and soldiers detained and plundered a train. Several hundred civilians sacked the blockade runner Lark when it docked on May 24, and troops sent to pacify the crowd soon joined in the plunder. On May 23, residents in Houston sacked the ordnance building and the clothing bureau. Riots continued in the city until May 26. Both government and private stores were raided extensively in Tyler, Marshall, Huntsville, Gonzales, Hempstead, La Grange, and Brownsville. In Navasota, a powder explosion cost eight lives and flattened twenty buildings. In Austin, the State Treasury was raided and $17,000 in gold was stolen. By May 27, half of the original confederate forces in Texas had deserted or been disbanded, and formal order had disappeared into lawlessness in many areas of Texas.


      And this
      :

      In 1867 Galveston suffered a yellow fever epidemic; 1800 people died in the city.[18] These occurred in waterfront and river cities throughout the 19th century, as did cholera epidemics

      • efgoldman

        In Austin, the State Treasury was raided

        Among other things that haven’t changed…

      • Rob in CT

        Damn Yankees!

  • c u n d gulag

    “Granvel Block, an Orange resident who leads the statewide Sons of Confederate Veterans group, said southern states did not fight the Civil War to defend slavery – but instead were simply defending their sovereignty after “our states were invaded by northern troops.”

    Yes, the ‘sovereign’ right to own people of color!

    Ya gotta love the ways these bigoted, stupid, ignorant, douche-canoe’s find ways of saying that they hate “N*ggers,” and want to keep them enslaved (NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

    • Shakezula

      Gosh, if only Texas had written down why it was seceding from the U.S., we might know for certain whether slavery was an issue.

      AN ORDINANCE to dissolve the Union between the State of Texas and the other States united under the Compact styled “the Constitution of the United States of America.”

      WHEREAS, The Federal Government has failed to accomplish the purposes of the compact of union between these States, in giving protection either to the persons of our people upon an exposed frontier, or to the property of our citizens, and

      WHEREAS, the action of the Northern States of the Union is violative of the compact between the States and the guarantees of the Constitution; and,

      WHEREAS, The recent developments in Federal affairs make it evident that the power of the Federal Government is sought to be made a weapon with which to strike down the interests and property of the people of Texas, and her sister slave-holding States, instead of permitting it to be, as was intended, our shield against outrage and aggression; THEREFORE,

      SECTION 1. We, the people of the State of Texas, by delegates in convention assembled, do declare and ordain that the ordinance adopted by our convention of delegates on the 4th day of July, A.D. 1845, and afterwards ratified by us, under which the Republic of Texas was admitted into the Union with other States, and became a party to the compact styled “The Constitution of the United States of America,” be, and is hereby, repealed and annulled; that all the powers which, by the said compact, were delegated by Texas to the Federal Government are revoked and resumed; that Texas is of right absolved from all restraints and obligations incurred by said compact, and is a separate sovereign State, and that her citizens and people are absolved from all allegiance to the United States or the government thereof.

  • efgoldman

    Wait.
    This is in the United States?
    In 2015?
    If you’d told me in 1970….

  • KmCO

    Additional hardships ensued in 1865, when one of the worst wind and rainstorms in Orange’s history brought about even more death and destruction

    I’m sure that that too was Obama’s fault.

  • timb

    Not a bad time to mention that East Texan are a group of people unique in the Western Hemisphere for their devotion to slavery. After all, they were the main instigators behind Texas seceding from Mexico as well.

    Hats off to the sort of people who quit multiple countries in order to protect slavery

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