On race, history and the South

Letters to the Editor
Published: February 17, 2009

A Feb. 5 “Letter to the Editor” cited a Jan.16 editorial in defense of Ed Vaughn of Alabama’s NAACP. I had not read the editorial, but did so by way of your internet site. An interesting view, the editorial nonetheless links arms with a racist organization’s attempt to side-swipe history.

Mr. Vaughn made headlines by remarks on how Alabama was represented in the Inaugural Parade: young maidens in antebellum gowns. Alabama, along with other Confederate states, has a notable and honorable antebellum past. The antebellum gowns of the Trail Maids should have been viewed no more representative of slavery than an outhouse.

Belligerence among racists is finding traction on the bedrock of history. We must hold on to the facts lest Southerners and non-blacks be ever held accountable for past wrongs as assigned in a distortion of history. Should a black or white maiden in a parade wearing a period gown be declared representative of slavery? Nope; by the numbers, less than 2 percent of all Southerners by 1860 ever owned a slave.

Should we be ashamed of our young ladies, black and white, in period clothing representing Alabama? Nope; Alabama has a statistically anemic record of slavery as compared to northern states. Connecticut and Rhode Island are a toss-up as to which state made the most cross-Atlantic trips to acquire African slaves. Maryland had the most slaves per capita. And New York City holds the world record for the most vigorous slave trade, ever.

The editorial mentioned “… the nation’s first black president …,” therefore I feel at ease in further correcting the facts. Mr. Obama is not black; he is mulatto. The assignment of the “one-drop rule” for assigning black racial status is a product of segregation and Jim Crow. How ironic.

Documentation of Mr. Obama’s actual ethnic background demonstrates that he is not an “African-American” as defined in United States law. In documenting his father’sgenealogy, we conclude that Mr. Obama is actually Arab-American. And we wonder why his first official telephone call to a head of state as our head of state was to Mahmoud Abbas, an Arab and President of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), the avowed enemy of God’s chosen people.

Lastly, Mr. Obama chose to take his oath of office on the same Bible used by Abraham Lincoln. I wonder how many readers ever researched Mr. Lincoln’s written characterizations of Negroes, or the fact that his Proclamation freed slaves in rebel states but did nothing for northern slaves for five years.

The editorial further endorsed Mr. Vaughn’s actions as: “Often the courageous people among us take the heat for saying what others are thinking.”; and, “Ed Vaughn makes a valid point; he doesn’t deserve the heat.”

I beg to differ.

Bryant Fontenot
Ozark