A reader of VFR writes to Mr. Auster, giving suggestions on how to discuss Martin Luther King, Jr.:
I'm pretty firm in the above opinion but there is another reason that I find I dislike the debunking that I'm not as sure about. This is that I've always thought a certain amount of respect is to be accorded to any people's cultural myths. Every race and ethnic group has its heroes and villains, its triumphs and tragedies, real and legendary that I think are owed a certain amount of polite circumspection when approached by the history-minded. The authors of deconstructions of King and Rosa Parks seem almost the equivalent of a man who goes to a Scottish patriotic celebration and announces that the movie Braveheart was completely inaccurate and, oh, by the way, Rabbie Burns was a cad and a rake who wrote indifferent poetry at best. I would consider this to be impolite even if the truth is on one's side. There isn't anything wrong with racial self-boosterism and its inevitable myth-making. I've never minded Frederick Douglas and Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad being taught in elementary school (provided they come after Lincoln, Grant and Lee) so that little black children can see their own heroic ancestors in the history books.I think it is correct that we should not needlessly offend others by pointing out the flaws of their heroes, especially when there is a possibility of the races working together to conserve tradition.
And even if we've gone too far down the road of tribalism, we should avoid being antagonistic and be provocative without a purpose. "Live and let live." I do think that race relations is something that must be handled by members of the races, whether in the South or in the major urban areas of the North, instead of being managed by the Federal Government. "Well-meaning" legislation only produces white flight.
SWPLs rail against racism from the comfort of their suburban fortresses. How many of them would be willing to walk the talk, with respect to their own lives and the lives of their children? One does not have to hold to strictly defined "race realism" to acknowledge the unpleasant parts of reality. There are stories of a few SWPLs who stupidly endanger themselves by going to areas people with sense avoid.
If self-government is still possible, then only we can take responsibility for our communities and seek the amelioration of culture, the promotion fo responsibility, relocalization and local management of affairs. If the opportunity for self-government is past, and we reject any outside intervention or imposition of authority, then we must live with the consequences.
From the Western Confucian:
Carolina Chocolate Drops' "Genuine Negro Jig" Preview
Carolina Chocolate Drops at the Sugar Grove Music Fest