Empathy Fail

I know this topic has been beaten to death, but Barbour’s comment still stuns me:

In interviews Barbour doesn’t have much to say about growing up in the midst of the civil rights revolution. “I just don’t remember it as being that bad,” he said.

Everyone seems to be focusing on the Citizen Council and the other race hate groups of the day, but for me, but when I hear him say it wasn’t that bad, I just can’t get past wanting to scream “BECAUSE YOU’RE FUCKING WHITE, ASSHOLE.”

Sweet jeebus. The Holocaust wasn’t that bad for Hitler, either. Until the very end.


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74 replies
  1. 1
    LarsThorwald says:

    I mean it when I say that entire generation needs to go. I’m including my parents.

  2. 2
    DougJ says:

    The Holocaust wasn’t that bad for Hitler, either.

    Au contraire, he died of a broken heart, just like Ken Lay.

  3. 3

    Not only white, but a male, politically-connected white in the deep south. Anyone want to refute the charges of “privilege” this time?

  4. 4
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: He is fat just like Al Gore, so there.

  5. 5
    handy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Don’t forget Robert Byrd was in the Klan! Of course he’s dead, so that card doesn’t play to the same effect these days.

  6. 6
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Fatter actually.

  7. 7
    GregB says:

    All that stuff about the three little girls killed in the church bombing Alabama, the beatings on the Pettus Bridge, Emmett Till, Chaney, Goodman, Schwerner, Medger Evers, Martin Luther King was all just a bit of a nit.

  8. 8
    Poopyman says:

    A question: Can you really have empathy fail if there is no attempt at empathy? And if in fact your intent is antipathy?

  9. 9
    TheOtherWA says:

    Your last line actually made me snort coffee. Damn you! /shakes fist

    Barbour and his ego need to go away. Forever. FSM grant him the first glimmer of self awareness, so he’ll have the decency to be ashamed of himself and drop out of public life.

  10. 10
    dmsilev says:

    Begun, the walkback has:

    “When asked why my hometown in Mississippi did not suffer the same racial violence when I was a young man that accompanied other towns’ integration efforts, I accurately said the community leadership wouldn’t tolerate it and helped prevent violence there. My point was my town rejected the Ku Klux Klan, but nobody should construe that to mean I think the town leadership were saints, either. Their vehicle, called the ‘Citizens Council,’ is totally indefensible, as is segregation. It was a difficult and painful era for Mississippi, the rest of the country, and especially African Americans who were persecuted in that time.”

    In other words, he’s lying about what he said yesterday and day before.


  11. 11
    Silver says:

    Heterosexual white male says homophobia, racism, and sexism not an issue.

    Plus ca change…

  12. 12
    Loneoak says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    And really jowly. I wonder if the jowls is where they store their white privilege.

  13. 13
    agrippa says:

    Those remarks are not atypical; a great many white people can and do think and say things very similar to those remarks. A northern white man could say them as well.

    Race remains front and center in the USA.

  14. 14


    In other words, he’s lying about what he said yesterday and day before.

    I thought crawfishing was a Louisiana pastime. How delicious.

  15. 15
    Maude says:

    I’d add that the Tea Party whackos are in the same frame of mind. It was all so wonderful before Civil Rights came along and ruined everything.

    Doesn’t Haley have the decency to hide this under a white sheet?

  16. 16
    James Joyner says:

    While not defending Barbour here, I think it’s fair to say that his role in Jim Crow was smaller than Hitler’s in the Holocaust. But, yes.

  17. 17
    Tim says:

    How many posts does this make that you have posted since yesterday when you said you weren’t going to post much?

  18. 18
    TooManyJens says:

    The thing is, who cares how he remembers it? He’s probably telling the truth, and he doesn’t remember it as being bad because he was a naive, privileged white kid. I don’t hold that, in and of itself, against him. But he’s had decades since in which he should have figured out that his memories don’t tell the story. Why does he keep focusing on his own benign memories, if not to try to minimize racism?

  19. 19
    Paul in KY says:

    Someone should ask Gov. Barbour (got the effete ‘u’ in there, like them damned tea drinkers. How can he run fur preznit if he has a furrin name) if (insert name of prominent black businessman/pastor from Yazoo City back in the day) could join this ‘Citizen’s Council’ he mentions.

    If not, then why.

  20. 20
    Carnacki says:

    @LarsThorwald: I respectfully disagree.

    When the Nazis got a booth at my county fair one year to pass out their racist literature in the mid 1970s, my mother stopped by the horse barn, loaded my brother’s wheelbarrow with manure, and dumped it at their booth.

    My mother, 77, passed earlier this year so she is gone. But not all of that generation should go.

    West Virginia’s Ken Hechler, who I supported in the Democratic primary for Senate, was the only representative in Congress at the time who marched with MLK and others at Selma. Long may Hechler live.

  21. 21
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Carnacki: If you can tell me where to send some money, I would like for you to put flowers on your mother’s grave for me. That was awesome.

  22. 22
    Carnacki says:


    “I just don’t remember it as being that bad,” [Barbour] said.

    Maybe Barbour isn’t expressing a lack of empathy or understanding of what occurred, but rather of support for the lynchings and other evils that did occur in his day.

  23. 23
    NonyNony says:


    Feh. Change wouldn’t have happened without folks from that generation. Some of them are assholes, some of them are not. No need to throw out the good folks with the assholes.

    I’ll also point out that the assholes had children and raised them to be assholes. So my generation (X) isn’t much better than my parents’ generation when it comes to asshole content. Might even be worse to some degree – the assholes of the previous generation seemed to have more kids than that not-assholes did. And shit like the racism among assholes of my generation is more subtle, but that just makes it harder to call out and deal with.

  24. 24
    crack says:

    Cue Louis CK’s ‘Being White’ bit.

  25. 25
    cckids says:


    The thing is, who cares how he remembers it? He’s probably telling the truth, and he doesn’t remember it as being bad because he was a naive, privileged white kid.

    Agreed. The only acceptable place for that sentence is if it is followed by an acknowledgement that, of course, he wasn’t seeing the whole story at the time/age, and that he now knows better.

    Or something to that effect. What an insular, lying bastard.

  26. 26
    John Arbuthnot Fisher says:

    I always wanted to see what 2% looked like on an exit poll.

  27. 27
    Mumphrey says:

    What I find hard to believe is that the Washington press listens to Barbour. I don’t know if he’s a racist; I don’t much care. He’s like Strom Thurmond in my mind. Apologists like to point out how Thurmond wasn’t “really” a racist, and they may well be right. I mean, I don’t know what was going on in his head 50 or 60 years ago. But even if he wasn’t a racist, he fucked over black Americans–Americans–to win office. I don’t see how that’s all that much better than being a true believer.

    I don’t know if Barbour is a bigot. But if he isn’t, he built his career on other people’s racism, voters’ racism, even if it isn’t as blatant as it would have been 50 or 60 years ago. So I don’t see how it’s any defense. He’s a scumball. Would he have to shoot a black guy at a press conference before Broder and Douthat and all those weasels would say a bad word about him?

  28. 28
    Crusty Dem says:

    @James Joyner:

    Humor, it’s not just for breakfast anymore..

  29. 29
    PS says:

    @Mumphrey: I don’t know if Barbour thinks he’s a racist, and I don’t much care. “Ye shall know them by their fruits.”

  30. 30
    Phyllis says:

    @Mumphrey: And literally fucked them, as well.

  31. 31
    PS says:

    @Phyllis: Not in order to win office, just for fun …

  32. 32
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    Old white dude who grew up in Mississippi  during the peak of the civil rights struggle thinks that things weren’t “that bad” there.

    Dog bites man doesn’t even begin to describe this adequately.

  33. 33
    aimai says:


    I like that “especially African Americans.” Its interesting to imagine various other ways of handling the cognitive dissonance and the actual dissonance between what he believes and what he’s saying. The use of the word “especially” indicates that, in general, African Americans and their problems aren’t what come to mind when he thinks of this period at all–the sufferings of white people being forced to integrate are uppermost in his mind. There’s really no other way to understand the “especially” given that we aren’t talking about, say, the depression but about a theoretically golden time to be free, white, and twenty one.


  34. 34
    Uloborus says:

    @John Arbuthnot Fisher: Take a look at Dick ‘Toads Wouldn’t Vote For This Man’ Cheney. He’s scored 2%. He got two votes on a poll of likely candidates at a convention once. Not 2%. Two votes.

    Of course, Village Pundits weren’t part of that vote…

  35. 35
    El Cid says:

    I agree with Barbour. I don’t remember the civil rights struggle as being that bad, either. Perhaps because I wasn’t around then. But, still, we’re in agreement.

  36. 36
    freelancer says:

    TNC’s bringing the hurt:

    In 1954, the NAACP determined to bring five test cases to force integration in the Mississippi public schools. Yazoo County exhibited some of the worst disparities in the state, spending $245.55 on every white child, but only $2.92 per black pupil. So the NAACP gathered fifty-three signatures of leading black citizens of Yazoo City, the county seat, on a petition calling for integration.
    Their courage was met with outrage. Sixteen of the town’s most prominent men called for a public meeting, to form a White Citizens’ Council and respond to the petition. Several hundred turned out on a hot June night, including journalist Willie Morris, who watched in mute disbelief as the best men of the town outlined their response:

    Those petitioners who rented houses would immediately be evicted by their landlords. White grocers would refuse to sell food to any of them. Negro grocers who had signed would no longer get any groceries from the wholesale stores. “Let’s just stomp ’em!” someone shouted from the back, but the chairman said, no, violence would be deplored; this was much the more effective method. Public opinion needed to be mobilized behind the plan right away.

    An advertisement in the Yazoo Herald soon followed. It offered “an authentic list of the purported signers,” along with their addresses and telephone numbers. “Published as a public service by the Citizens’ Council of Yazoo City,” it read across the bottom.
    If Barbour wants to praise the good people of Yazoo City for their extraordinary restraint in not employing violence as they hounded from their community those black parents brave enough to demand a decent education for their children; to laud their public disavowal of the local Klan even as they turned a blind eye to its activities; or to extol their grudging cession of the inevitability of court-ordered integration after fifteen years of stalling, for its absence of lynchings or riots, that’s his prerogative. For the rest of us, though, Yazoo City should serve as a poignant reminder that the civil rights struggle really was “that bad.”

  37. 37
    lol says:

    “I’m not much in the mood to blog”

  38. 38
    j low says:

    @James Joyner: Ummm… I missed the part where Jon called Haley Barbour the Hitler of Mississippi. (BTW- Hung like a horse doesn’t really mean having a schlong as big as Trigger.)

  39. 39
    patrick II says:

    Racism in the south amazes me sometimes too. About ten years ago I went to my nephew’s wedding — he is half chinese. He was marrying a lovely, blonde southern belle from just south of Atlanta, Ga. She is a lovely girl from a good southern family. My nephew is a doctor, so it was not as bad as it might have been for the bride’s family. However, my nephew had left one of his service buddies out of the wedding party because the buddy was black and the wedding party pictures would have offended his future father-in-law. Something I found offensive, but he wanted peace with his future in-laws at the wedding.
    Anyhow, at the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding, one of the brothers of the bride got up to make a short speech. He congratulated the bride, and added that at least she wasn’t marrying one of the mud people. The crowd was amused. I think back on it and I still can’t believe he said something like that at his sister’s wedding. I can hardly believe the people there were amused either.

  40. 40
    Nutella says:

    No one was coming for him with an axe handle, so it wasn’t that bad. For him.

    Whenever you ask people how bad things are, you will find that whites insist there is much less racial prejudice than blacks do, that men insist there is much less sexism than women do, etc. Some of the difference is due to deliberate falsehood and some of it to solipsism.

    I don’t think Barbour can reasonably claim to have been unaware or sheltered from what was going on in Yazoo City when he was young. His brother was mayor so he must have heard about the biggest political issue of the day.

  41. 41
    Carnacki says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    That is a very kind thought. She had requested that in lieu of flowers that a contribution be made to a charity of a person’s choice.

    Here’s the kind of woman she was.

    She had retired to Florida and a few years ago after there were several burglaries committed in her retirement community and a bullet flew threw her wall from most likely a gang-related shooting, she took matters into her own hands.

    But instead of joining those hating on the undocumented Latinos for the community’s rise in crime, she went to the local elementary school where their children attend and organized a Halloween party hosted by her and her elderly neighbors. It was such a success she decided to do it again that Christmas.

    And she and these other middle-class, mostly white retirees invited the children and their parents to a covered-dish dinner and party at their retirement community’s center and found a bilingual Santa and made sure every child got at least one present. She organized it for five years and one of her friends said the community would continue the tradition in her honor. That reminds me I’ve got phonecalls to make.

    She was no saint. She had many of the prejudices of many her age, but her innate decency always made her respond to others with love not hate.

    She was a hell of a woman.

    I miss her.

  42. 42
    j low says:

    I know a man who grew up with Haley Barbour. His mother was one of the sweetest ladies I have ever met. She also told me how her father would sometimes walk her the long way home from school so she would not see the results of a lynching. She also had a cast iron and wood park bench from Hattiesburg MS that she arranged to take with her when she moved to the Pacific Northwest. She showed me the discoloration on one of the wooden slats and said “that’s where the little sign that said No Negroes was”. She like Mr. Barbour had a generally pleasant time as an upper class white person in southern Mississippi.

  43. 43
    cmorenc says:

    I agree that Haley Barbour’s an asshole.

    HOWEVER, I grew up in a small town in southeastern North Carolina that was similar in many respects to many areas of Mississippi (predominately agricultural mixed with low-wage industrial such as textiles, highly stratified socioeconomic structure, white minority)….and actually, Barbour’s comment about “growing up in the midst of the civil rights revolution. “I just don’t remember it as being that bad” is actually highly accurate to the experience of many areas in the deep south that managed to successfully, mostly peacefully even if very grudgingly, transition from segregation to integration, including where I was from (Lumberton, NC). These communities, however, are not the ones you read or hear about from the history of that era, primarily because change came in quiet, if not necessarily comfortable, fashion to these areas, rather than only after dramatic, ugly, violent, and notorious incidents. Also, it’s doubtful change would have happened so relatively peacefully and undramatically in many small towns such as mine (or perhaps the ones in Mississippi that Barbour has in mind), had it not been for the overwhelmingly predominate portion of these communities seeing the examples of ugly, violent resistance where the more notorious civil rights struggles took place, and deciding that degree of ugliness was best avoided where they lived.

    This isn’t at all to say that deep racism or numerous de facto forms of discrimination went away very quickly in these more peacefully transitioning communities; rather it was that they reluctantly yielded to the extent forced to by federal law, and were often allowed to proceed at a more leisurely (“deliberate” is the apt word here) pace than more virulently resistant areas which only yielded to litigation pressure from the Feds, but yield peacefully and intentionally they did.

    FOR EXAMPLE, in my hometown (Lumberton, NC), around 1963 or 1964, a school bond was passed to build both a new white high school (in the all-white north portion of town) and a new black high school (in an all-black south portion of town), just about the time the Feds’ patience was running out with foot-dragging on school desegregation and lawsuits to force school desegregation were beginning to successfully bite in many areas of the south. So, in fall 1966 when both new schools opened, a select few blacks who were talented athletically (and willing to go) were assigned to the new “white” high school, where they quickly gained popular acceptance because the football and basketball teams quickly got noticeably better, rah-rah-rah Pirates! (White school team nickname). The next year, a few more black males and females who were stronger academically were voluntarily assigned to the predominately white high school. The white community (particularly the high school students) quickly saw that nothing cataclysmic or even notably negative happened from this, even though after-school the races remained pretty much socially segregated, except at athletic events. A year or two after that, the School Board completely integrated the system by designating the relatively new “white” high school as the “senior” high school for the entire city (grades 10,11, 12), and the relatively new “black high school as the “junior” high school for the entire city (grades 7, 8, 9), and voila! school desegregation was successfully, peacefully accomplished. Definitely NOT exactly done along a path that would at all seem politically correct today (bringing in young bucks for football does seem more than a tad racist)…but the fact is, it worked, the community got away with it, and there’s precious little read or heard about how Lumberton integrated its schools in the annals of southern civil rights history. It’s all water under the bridge.

    Again, IMHO Haley Barbour is an asshole, and he’s probably indulging a bit of doublespeak for the benefit of areas where things didn’t proceed so peacfully or prettily during the civil rights era, but OTOH his quote is entirely appropriate and accurate to the experience of a great many deep-south communities during the civil rights era, though obviously far from all.

  44. 44
    Elizabelle says:


    Your mom was wonderful. My condolences; see this will be your first holiday season without her.

    Can you hear the little contributions flowing to our favorite charities because hearing about your mom reminded us to do so?

    Great idea about the bilingual Santa and luncheon. Honestly, that might be a stealth method to bring the Tea Party demographic in touch with the “undeserving.”

  45. 45
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    @cmorenc: Barbour gets no pass from me. Both my parents grew up in Virginia. My mother’s home county, rather than de-segregate, closed the schools and set up a “private” academy, for, guess what, whites only. My parents always knew what was going on, especially when they were taken aside and told they couldn’t play anymore with their African-American friends.

    Carnacki, deepest sympathy for your loss.

  46. 46
    DougJ says:

    @James Joyner:

    While not defending Barbour here, I think it’s fair to say that his role in Jim Crow was smaller than Hitler’s in the Holocaust.

    Thanks for this. Many of us didn’t know this, but after reading a bit on Wikipedia about World War II and the Civil Rights movement, I am convinced that you are correct.

  47. 47
    Bnut says:

    @DougJ: I laughed because it sounds like you two are discussing actors and movies.

  48. 48

    I blame “Leave It To Beaver.”

  49. 49
    Cat Lady says:


    Oh snap.

  50. 50
    cmorenc says:

    @Cheryl from Maryland:

    Barbour gets no pass from me, either. In making my extended comment, I’m also aware of the sort of dog-whistle doublespeak he’s engaging in to the substantial still-deeply-resentful portion among the deep-south white population who still angrily view themselves as somehow being the real victims of the civil rights era rather than the blacks. Having grown up in the south during that era (and retaining enough memory of what my own not-yet-transformed racist mindset was growing up before integration happened), I understand all too well the double-edged nuances Haley is deliberately communicating with his statement.

    But I also understand from personal experience in the town I grew up in that his statement happens to be dead-on true and accurate to the situation of a great many southern communities during the civil rights era, at least from the white citizens’ perspective. The transition through the civil right era truly wasn’t all that bad in my hometown, especially for the white community.

    I agree that Barbour’s a malevolent jackass intent on transforming this country back to a more regressive state in just about every conceivable way short of actually reviving legal segregation.

  51. 51
    Alwhite says:

    As a white guy I often have to wonder if there is some way I can wash the shame off of my race.

    I guess that pig fucking is a big pass time in Mississippi but I do wish they would keep their pig fuckers quiet, out of public office and away from decent people. The smell of pig fuckers is overpowering.

  52. 52
    someguy says:

    What he meant to say is that it was safe because the town fathers had planted a lot of trees over the years – a big oak on the road coming in from the west, one on the road coming in from the east, and one each on the north and south sides, and one right in the middle of town, by the jail.

    Because, y’know, planting big that’s a sign of commmitment to a peaceful community. That’s the town he remembers growing up in, anyhooo…

  53. 53
    Nutella says:

    @Cheryl from Maryland:

    Since we’re reminiscing about those days, here’s a story about the Lost Class of ’59 in Little Rock. In Virginia, Emporia and Norfolk also closed the public schools rather than integrate them.

    Some students in the Lost Class, especially the ones from more prosperous families, moved in with relatives elsewhere to finish school but many of the blacks and poorer whites were never able to get a high school diploma.

  54. 54
    someguy says:


    As a white guy I often have to wonder if there is some way I can wash the shame off of my race.

    No, there isn’t. If you feel guilt for what whites have done… congratulations. You have the rudiments of a conscience. So do many dogs and certain apes so don’t get all excited about yourself, but hey, it’s a start.

  55. 55
    Tim says:


    We are often told that the concept of race is a “false construct.” So why and how would you go about feeling shame for your race?

    How about just recognizing that minorities in this country have often suffered the ravages of bigotry and discrimination to this day, and that these issues must continue to be addressed aggressively.

    Shame, schmame.

  56. 56
    catclub says:

    “The transition through the civil right era truly wasn’t all that bad in my hometown, especially for the white community.”

    Plus, coverage of many events was really bad.
    Google ‘klan shooting, greensboro’
    It took place in 1979.

    I have a good memory, but I think the coverage of the trial
    of this event was MUCH more complete than coverage of the event itself. I was in the next town over and barely noticed when it happened.
    The trial many years later was when it came out that the police ‘informant’ was in the thick of it all.

  57. 57
    Martin says:

    I just don’t remember it as being that bad.

    Yeah, it doesn’t seem like many white guys got lynched in that part of Mississippi. The community leaders clearly did their job well.

  58. 58
    numbskull says:


    If you feel guilt for what whites have done… congratulations. You have the rudiments of a conscience. So do many dogs and certain apes so don’t get all excited about yourself, but hey, it’s a start.

    I don’t think racial guilt is useful in the least bit. It’s much more important to recognize and document institutionalized discrimination from the past that results in unfair disadvantages in the present, and to enact policies that attempt to address these now and into the future.

    You know, actually do something that fixes the problem(s).

  59. 59
    Cain says:

    @patrick II:

    Anyhow, at the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding, one of the brothers of the bride got up to make a short speech. He congratulated the bride, and added that at least she wasn’t marrying one of the mud people. The crowd was amused. I think back on it and I still can’t believe he said something like that at his sister’s wedding. I can hardly believe the people there were amused either.

    “at least”?? So clearly, he thinks the chinese is beneath him too, right?

    If I was your friend, I would have been somewhat offended as well. I mean, wtf? Damn South..


  60. 60
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    @Carnacki: True. But we will either manage to keep this country afloat while that cohort has the wealth and the voting concentration to keep on doing what they are doing or they’ll get the nihilism they want. This is no different than saying the demographics have to change. Did you think he was talking about throwing people up against the wall?

  61. 61
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    @Tim: It is a false construct in biology. It is a very real construct in the world of human interactions. Or can you not tell the difference?

    If you haven’t notice – pride and it’s counter shame – are central to social racial issues. Black pride, gay pride. And whites that whine that they can’t have white pride, since the Klan ruined that. I’m damned sure I’m supposed to feel shame as a gay person.

    ETA: I’m not advocating white shame by the way. Just objecting to the snark directed at the fact of race being a false construct or in denial that it exists in how society functions.

  62. 62
    Nutella says:


    I’d say racial guilt can be used for good in one way:

    If you’re a member of the privileged white race and you hear a black person calling out discrimination, remember that saying ‘I don’t remember it as being that bad’ is a really offensive and privileged reaction. If you stop to see the situation from the black person’s point of view, or stop to listen to the reasons why the black person sees discrimination where you don’t then you’re using that creepy feeling of guilt constructively.

    (Tried to write that to cover all privilege groups but it sounded off. This is worth thinking about whether the discrimination is due to racism, sexism, classism, or any other privilege system.)

    To sum up: Don’t be Haley Barbour!

  63. 63
    You Don't Say says:

    Good post on this subject. (Haven’t read the entire thread so sorry if already linked.)

  64. 64
    Midnight Marauder says:


    The transition through the civil right era truly wasn’t all that bad in my hometown, especially for the white community.

    This is just a really weird sentence for me to process. In all honesty, what does it even mean for the Civil Rights Era “not to be that bad” for white people? They didn’t experience too much discomfort integrating the people they considered subhuman into their everyday life? Awesome, so happy for them. They weren’t excessively violent and brutal in denying basic rights and freedoms to black Americans? Cool cool.

    Seriously, I am at a loss here. Is there really a legitimate concern about how bad the Civil Rights Era was for white Southerners? I am pretty sure they were the ones largely responsible for maintaining Jim Crow and vicious institutional racism and all that. Are we seriously entertaining a discussion of how difficult the Civil Rights Era was for a group of people who still celebrate the antitthesis of civil rights to this very day?

  65. 65
    Barry says:

    @Carnacki: “She was a hell of a woman.

    I miss her. ”

    Sounds like the world was the better for her having lived.

  66. 66


    As a white guy I often have to wonder if there is some way I can wash the shame off of my race.

    Hmmm. Since it has never occurred to me to congratulate myself on being born white – a choice I took no part in – it doesn’t seem particularly sensible to be ashamed of it either. This would seem to be a form of bigotry, a debasing/elevating of an entire group based on a characteristic rather than a character issue. I can’t stand liars, cheats, and thieves; but that has nothing to do with an unrelated characteristic such as race or religion or…

    That has nothing to do with the fact that I had the benefit of a shitload of advantages that others didn’t have, it would pay to recognize such a thing.

  67. 67
    pking says:

    @DougJ: Joyner’s comment surely is the mostest funniest (unintentionally) of the year. I laughed out loud when I read it.

  68. 68
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Midnight Marauder: Ditto what you said. Honestly, I am not too concerned how bad integration was for white Southerners. It’s besides the whole point. Find me some black people from that community who remember it the same way, and then, maybe I’ll listen.

    @freelancer: TNC is excellent on this topic (and on many others, of course). He doesn’t resort to name-calling or being huffy (as I would), but he definitely is unflinching in his criticism.

    @patrick II: Um. That is wrong on so many levels. If my intended’s brother made a comment like that, I would walk out on the wedding. Then again, I wouldn’t have not included a black friend in my wedding party for fear of offending the in-laws. Then again, I wouldn’t marry someone whose family had such racist views. Then again, I don’t ever plan on getting married, anyway, so this is all mute.

    I agree with TooManyJens in that Barbour’s probably telling the truth as much as he can, but who gives a flying fuck what he thinks about it? He’s had time to reflect and to see the ramifications of segregation. If he still believes things weren’t so bad or whatever, then fuck him.

  69. 69
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Carnacki: Your mom sounds like a marvelous person. My condolences to you on your loss.

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    Tim says:

    @Barb (formerly Gex):

    Barb, I’m gay too. We’re everywhere.

    And why are you so snotty?

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    asiangrrlMN says:

    @freelancer: Just a minor note, that post was by Cynic, not TNC. However, it’s still stellar and a must-read.

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    cmorenc says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    This is just a really weird sentence for me to process. In all honesty, what does it even mean for the Civil Rights Era “not to be that bad” for white people?

    What I mean is this: Very little actually changed in either the deep-seated segregated structure or racial attitudes across most small towns in the south following Brown v Board of Education, until the Civil Right Act of 1964 was passed, which is what *really* drove it home to the dominant white segments that forceful change in *their* community was really coming within the foreseeable near future, rather than abstractly somewhere else making news for some civil right march or sit-in.


    Well, what actually happened in the majority of communities was that change came with a surprisingly soft, low-impact whisper, rather than a racial hurricane, and nothing bad really happened to their kids when black kids started showing up at school, and…hey, the football team got a lot better too! They still didn’t really like it, resented it still really, but OTOH they realized the change was light-years short of the end of civilization. And, they got on with business and life, accepted blacks as normal customers allowed to go anywhere in stores and restaurants, but still didn’t mix socially with them outside of commercial relationships.

    In short, as Haley Barbour said, it really wasn’t all that bad in many communities, in the sense that the Civil Rights era didn’t produce anywhere near the social cataclysm whites had feared, or for that matter many blacks. I vividly remember living through that era in the south, and I understand exactly the perspective Barbour is speaking from, the context he has in mind.

    That of course DOES NOT say at all that the majority among the black segments of these same communities had quite the same view of how well this transition actually went from their perspective (de facto change continued for decades to significantly lag de jure change). Nor does it say that conditions pre-integration were at all just, or even that the pace or mode of change was proper in these communities. I described in an earlier post how it unfolded in my hometown; a path that would be considered unacceptably incremental and cynical today, but back then, it worked to bring about peacefully an extent of change that would have seemed only five years earlier to be so shockingly radical as to seem unthinkable.

    But the communities northerners hear about, read about, are the ones where violent, stubborn resistance occurred, and great civil rights battles by MLK, the SCLC, NAACP, etc. were fought. Yes, without them and the brave, successful confrontations with the forces of segregation they made and won, peaceful change in the majority of southern communities like mine would not have occurred like it did. But because (and not in spite of them), the change to integration in the majority of small southern towns “wasn’t that bad”. As compared to, how ugly and cataclysmic people on both sides of the racial divide feared it would be.

    I lived through this era in the south, I understand both the true part of what Barbour is saying, and the cynical, regressive-intended part, all too well.

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    […] Juice’s John Cole is “stunned” by the following Barbour commnent: In interviews Barbour doesn’t have much to say about […]

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    MarkJ says:

    The holocost was never bad for Hitler. It was the invasion of France, Poland, and Russia that went bad in the end.

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