Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Quiz #6

I chose to look on the website http://www.hpa.org, the Heritage Preservation Association website. The general purpose of this website is “a national nonprofit organization utilizing educational resources along with legal and political action to protect and preserve the symbols, culture and heritage of the American South” (HPA). This whole site is dedicated to preserving the “history” of the American South.

This websites gives a rather thorough description of the American South, from a Caucasian point of view. Also, there is hardly any mention, if any, of the existence of African Americans in the south, where clearly they did exist during that point in history, as slaves. The website describes in detail that those in the South should be proud of their heritage, and gives many examples from a historic point of view. For example in the introductory paragraphs in the section “Ashamed to be Southern”, the website asks the reader to make believe he or she traveled back in time, to roughly around 10 BC in Israel. Someone who’s native to that area would come up to the reader and say that he is a proud Jew, and lists off the many reasons why his county is so great and cares about the people. The same event occurs when the reader is act to make believe he or she is in London, talking to a native born citizen. Now, when “fast forwarding” to the Virginian times here, the author of this website believe that the common response to someone who lived in the South would be as such: “I am a proud Southerner. My people have lived here for centuries, but the Union victory over the South has brought wonderful things to my people. They have brought equality among the men of the community. They have brought all of the modern conveniences of their industrial prowess. But, most importantly, they have brought the peace and security that their massive military power provides” (HPA).

This website continues to describe how honorable the American South was in the past. It even goes as far as to state that “In short, the Union showed respect and honor for those who so tenaciously fought for independence and magnanimously accepted the arbiter of war. Nowhere was there any protesting of Southern symbols nor was there any attempt to censor Southern culture” (HPA). This is a blatant contradiction to history, because clearly the censorship throughout this website is the existence of African Americans within the American South. This site focuses strictly on the White Americans and what they went through during history with various events and how their own culture was like. If one was to read the website to learn about history, they would walk away believing that the American South was populated with only White American, with various descents coming from various parts of Europe.

Overall, I found this website to be very interesting. It demonstrates that it does want to preserve the history of the American South in a good point of view, but in order to achieve this viewpoint, they had to basically eliminate the fact that African Americans existed in the south as slaves and after the emancipation of the slaves, they still were not mentioned in the website. This reason was probably because African Americans were still not viewed as equal during that time in history, and those lifestyles of the White Americans would better produce a more “glorious” image in contributing to the history of the American South. In conclusion, I believe this site shows just how elitist some people in the world could truly be; willing to erase the existence of a race in order to “preserve” the historical image and pride of the American South.

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