And you wonder why people think you’re racist

Nicole Stockdale/ Editor

Fri., Oct. 28, 2011

I can’t get over this quote I read this morning in an Austin American-Statesman editorial about the Confederate license plate brouhaha.

"The only reason that it could possibly open up wounds is because the wounds have never been healed because they’ve been festering by others continuing to scrape them. The NAACP is doing the scraping. It’s not us."

That’s from Granvel Block, the Texas Division commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, in a quote he gave to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The tone-deafness he displays is alarming. And telling. I know that most members of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans are simply proud of their heritage and interested in the history of the state. Genealogy is a hobby of mine; I get this passion.

But I don’t get the lack of empathy or understanding for other people’s heritage — namely, here, the ancestors of slaves — and the feelings they have about the history of the state. Put yourself in their shoes and tell me how you could not be offended by that quote.

Now consider his statement, as the Statesman editorial did, alongside this Q&A (from a 1929 booklet) posted on the website of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans, about the cause of the Civil War:

"Was slavery the cause of secession or the war?

"No … it was not slavery but the vindictive, intemperate anti-slavery movement that was at the bottom of all the troubles."

The Statesman concluded: "So by blaming ‘the scraping’ of old wounds on the NAACP, Block shows he’s learned at least one of his group’s lessons well: Blame those who oppose you, not the indefensible institution that, for most Americans, your symbols represent."

Hear, hear.

©2011, The Dallas Morning News, Inc

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