Maybe I Am Enabling Some Odious Folks, After All. . . .
Simpson unloads on the self-appointed defenders of Southern heritage — and the bloggers like me who’ve inadvertently given them more credibility than they warrant:
Those findings [that expose shoddy research on black Confederates] displease a small but sometimes visible minority of people who claim that they are defenders of southern [sic.] heritage, although their defense of southern heritage amounts to a defense of the Confederacy, whitewashing the story of slavery, and the usual array of “you, too” attacks upon their critics. Over time these attacks have grown more juvenile and pathetic.
It’s natural at first to want to highlight these responses, because, like cockroaches, these folks can’t stand the light of day as they scurry off to feed on more garbage. Nor do I see anything wrong in challenging specific claims of research, and calling it research is being very kind. But I question the wisdom of going beyond that, because I don’t see what good is to be achieved by exchanging potshots with these people. Not everyone agrees with me: they may have their own reasons for responding, and it’s understandable given some of the abuse they have withstood. But I wonder about giving these fringe elements too much attention, and, after having reviewed some of their blogs and a Facebook page over the past few weeks (and I’ve been astonished at what I’ve come across), I have come to the conclusion that to feature these groups and blogs is in fact to grant them a sort of recognition and legitimacy that they do not deserve. They simply aren’t responsible participants: indeed, they are rather childish. . . .
As someone who lived for some ten years in the South and who counts southerners, white and black, as good friends, I think that to give these fringe ranters undue attention is a disservice to the South and all southerners. Other bloggers may continue to draw attention to these folks, but, aside from highlighting specific examples of research claims, I will let them languish and stew in their own scalding juices of hate and resentment.
I need to cogitate on this a while. Food for thought, as it were.