The Indy's race discussion | Letters to the Editor | Indy Week
Pin It

The Indy's race discussion 

The Independent has been published several stories about race lately. Hal Crowther's fine "White denial" (July 30) asked us to acknowledge history but move beyond guilt. That provoked Ned Kennington to insist that white guilt is appropriate; Alex Jones, on the other hand, rebuked Crowther for remembering Robert F. Williams, North Carolina's black apostle of "armed self-reliance," but for rejecting the National Rifle Association (Back Talk, Aug. 13). My book, Radio Free Dixie, Jones claims, proves that Robert Williams was an NRA member.

First, though Williams kept guns to protect his family from Ku Klux Klan terrorists, so did Martin Luther King, Fannie Lou Hamer, Medgar Evers, Daisy Bates and most other politically active black Southerners of the civil rights era, at one time or another. Welcome to the real world, where we dream of redemption and also keep our powder dry. But Radio Free Dixie does not prove that Williams was a member of the NRA: There is no evidence that the NRA accepted his application for membership.

I have to side with Crowther on white guilt. It is not helpful or healthy to embrace collective guilt for 400 years of history. It is, however, our responsibility to change that history, and our shame only if we fail. Better, I think, to ponder what kind of communities we want our children to enjoy, and to think about how to get there from here. When my kids don't get a solid education and a decent job, your children will inevitably pay for their incarceration, drug rehab and so on, and also endure whatever idiots they might elect to public office.

Some readers say we should forget our painful racial history. I am glad the Independent knows better. This conversation is long overdue and just getting started. It need not wallow in a fruitless nostalgia of pain, but instead can redeem the multi-racial democratic vision that generations of Southerners have fought to make real.

Tim Tyson
Durham

The writer is a senior scholar at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and holds other professorships at Duke's history department and Divinity School, in addition to UNC's American Studies department.

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Letters to the Editor



Twitter Activity

Comments

"While citing the fact that he's a professor and other so-called credentials"

The original article never mentioned his academic …

by Jonathan Gilman on One More Round of Jordan Peterson Comments, Plus Some People Defend Chris Brown (Letters to the Editor)

The articles about Peterson have been extremely intellectually dishonest and factually inaccurate. Filled with unsubstantiated claims of racism, mysoginy, transphobia …

by Timothy Oswald on One More Round of Jordan Peterson Comments, Plus Some People Defend Chris Brown (Letters to the Editor)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

"While citing the fact that he's a professor and other so-called credentials"

The original article never mentioned his academic …

by Jonathan Gilman on One More Round of Jordan Peterson Comments, Plus Some People Defend Chris Brown (Letters to the Editor)

The articles about Peterson have been extremely intellectually dishonest and factually inaccurate. Filled with unsubstantiated claims of racism, mysoginy, transphobia …

by Timothy Oswald on One More Round of Jordan Peterson Comments, Plus Some People Defend Chris Brown (Letters to the Editor)

So rather than admit your Journalist was factually wrong - a claim the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) also point …

by Niall O' Sullivan on One More Round of Jordan Peterson Comments, Plus Some People Defend Chris Brown (Letters to the Editor)

Outright referring to Peterson's defenders with epithets (one of them rather sexist) is a great way to bolster his message …

by linville_2112 on Jordan Peterson’s Bro Minions Would Like a Word With Us (Letters to the Editor)

Ellen and Jessica are spot on, and the problem is the industry does a great job of hiding all of …

by Denette on What About the Pigs? (Letters to the Editor)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation