It’s a shame that so many people, especially newspaper columnists, are willing to expose their ignorance when their published work contains opinions that are contrary to the truth.
Political correctness is not always correct nor is it always the truth. Rather it’s what the speaker (or writer) wants the truth to be.
Columnists, of all people, should know that. They should be certain of the accuracy of every statement they write and they should make no statement of which they are not sure of its accuracy. A column by D.G. Martin, published in The Daily Advance on July 8, is a prime example of a writer’s failure to do that. Possibly — or probably — Mr. Martin was influenced by the current fad for political correctness — he filled his column with examples of it.
It seems rather odd to me that some people are not offended by the name “Redskins,” and don’t know they’re supposed to be, until people who having nothing to gain or lose interfere. After all, how much does any nickname matter to a people who have been treated as the Native Americans have been treated by their government? They’ve been squeezed onto the smallest area of the poorest land in the whole country and treated like vermin living under almost unbearable conditions. Being offended by a nickname doesn’t make up for the massacre at Wounded Knee nor for Colonel John Chivington’s massacre of a whole village of unarmed people, men, women and children who had already surrendered to the authorities.
I think it’s much more important to work on the living conditions of Indians than it is to commiserate about whether or not a nickname is offensive to them. When their living conditions have been alleviated and they have a decent standard of living, then we can start to worry about what we call them.
Mr. Martin also mentioned the “Silent Sam” statute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, saying, “...it glorifies the institution of slavery that the soldiers fought to preserve.” I find it difficult to believe that in this “age of enlightenment” Mr. Martin, or any rational person, still believes that lie, much less attempt to propagate it. Only about 20 percent of the people in the South ever owned slaves. Three of my ancestors fought in the Confederacy and none of them, nor about 99.9 percent of the other soldiers, would have risked their lives nor the welfare of their families, so that someone else could continue to own slaves.
As for the students at Washington and Lee University, if any of them had bothered to check they would have learned that General Robert E. Lee had freed all his slaves prior to the Civil War, and that he was firmly opposed to the institution of slavery. If those students are so greatly offended perhaps they would be happier if they chose to attend some other school — maybe one where the descendants of Northern slavers who got rich in the slave trade attend.
Mr. Martin wrote: “Most prominent white North Carolinians a hundred years ago would, by today’s standards, be judged racist.” I’m afraid Mr. Martin’s right about that. But what Mr. Martin didn’t say is that racism still exists, not just in North Carolina, but in every part of this country. It exists in the north, south, east and west, and among all people, black or white.
What I want to know is what Mr. Martin has against North Carolinians? And what does the removal of Charles B. Aycock’s name from a building at Duke University have to do with anything?
It seems that the people who know the least are the ones most likely to be biased and to pontificate about things of which they are ignorant. They would never bother or think it was necessary to check the accuracy of their beliefs. If we strip away the lies of political correctness and the biases and wilful ignorance, what we’ll have left is truth. The truths of the past cannot be changed or hidden by wishes, lies or bias.