Zeitgeist

The Spooks of Hazzard

July 29, 2013

Multiple Pages
The Spooks of Hazzard

Only in America can white people organize an event intended to mock poor Southern whites, have black people crying that it’s racist against blacks, and then have white people apologizing to blacks about it.

That’s what happened in the small Arizona town of Queen Creek, whose black population is a hearty and robust one third of one percent. Back in May, as part of Queen Creek High School’s “Spirit Week,” the school sponsored “Redneck Day,” which principal Tom Lindsey claims was intended not to honor, but to satirize, po’-white Southern culture as exemplified in the frighteningly popular A&E reality show Duck Dynasty.

Duck Dynasty is part of a recent wave of TV shows that depict what used to be known as normal Americans as exotic and endangered creatures on a wild-game preserve, almost always for comic effect to amuse presumably sophisticated and non-prejudiced urbanites and coastal dwellers. Other shows in this genre include Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Swamp People, Buckwild, and Redneck Island.

Seriously, someone should write a book about how poor white trash are the only group it isn’t considered culturally insensitive to mock. Not only aren’t such stereotypes discouraged—Hollywood’s masters of reality eagerly applaud and lavishly finance sweepingly negative cultural oversimplifications that in any other ethnic context would be labeled as hate speech.

On “Redneck Day” in Queen Creek, one student—apparently a Southern transplant—draped himself in a rebel flag, which nitpickers will remind you is often incorrectly referred to as a “Confederate flag.” He was asked to remove it, which he promptly did.

“Only in America can white people organize an event intended to mock poor Southern whites, have black people crying that it’s racist against blacks, and then have white people apologizing to blacks about it.”

And then came the backlash. Local black race hustlers were the first to pile on. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which should at least be honest and change its name to The Anti-Southern Rich People’s Law Center, stuck its hate-sniffing beak into the situation. And now the Department of Justice is investigating the school for possible civil-rights violations.

“We apologize to any people who, because of the word (redneck), were offended,” groveled the school principal. Mind you, he wasn’t apologizing to American whites of meager means—the untold millions whose forefathers came as indentured servants, whose ancestors died in the hundreds of thousands in the Civil War, and who have historically been pitted in economic and cultural competition against blacks ever since the original indentured servants were driven off the plantations and into the backwoods and hills—he was apologizing to black people.

Didn’t matter. The perpetually offended were out for a lynching, and they smelled blood.

Perhaps smelling money as well, civil-rights attorney Steve Montoya of Phoenix said, “The Confederacy represents the horrible institution of slavery, and that is a direct attack on African-Americans.”

“I’m sitting here crying and praying,” wailed Ozetta Kirby, vice president of a local NAACP chapter, whose grandson Marcus is a student at Queen Creek. “This thing really got to Marcus,” Kirby said. “No kid should have to go through that. We all know the connotation of ‘redneck.’”

Do you?

Do you know that the overwhelming majority of white Southerners—well over 90% of them—never owned slaves even at the peak of slavery? Do you know that the term “redneck” dates all the way back to Scotland in the 1640s, when it was used to describe peasants who rebelled against the ruling class? Do you know that its most plausible American derivation is from the 1800s when it was used to describe those impoverished whites who didn’t own slaves nor hire black sharecroppers and instead toiled in the fields and burned their pale necks red under the hot sun?

SPLC spokesmouth Maureen Costello, who heads a program called Teaching Tolerance, chided school officials: “Do no harm to a student’s sense of identity. Everyone should feel welcome.”

Everyone, that is, except poor white Southern rednecks. There’s obviously no room at the lunch counter for them.

Black activist Jarrett Maupin II, a protégé of Al Sharpton who until recently sported one of those Sharptonesque Darth Vader hair helmets, filed a complaint about “Redneck Day” in late May to a Denver office of the US Department of Education. In 2009 Maupin pleaded guilty to a felony count of making a false statement to the FBI. Maupin has also on at least one occasion spoken before an assembly of the Spiritual Israel Church and Its Army, a “largely African American” (read: “pretty much entirely African American”) congregation that says prominent biblical figures from Adam all the way through Jesus were black.

In his letter to the Department of Education, Maupin claimed that Arizona’s blacks—all ten or so of them—were “outraged over the controversial celebration” and that all students of all hues were “negatively impacted by the racially-insensitive theme.”

On July 18, the DoE responded to Maupin with a letter:

We have determined that we have the authority to investigate this allegation…the scope of OCR’s investigation will be limited to whether a racially hostile environment was created due to language and actions that were not protected by the First Amendment.

Mind you, last year a federal judge said it would be constitutional for Arizona’s Hispanic students to sue the state for discontinuing “La Raza” studies that would by any objective measure be deemed intensely hostile and demeaning toward gringos.

But logical consistency has never intruded upon the increasingly insane Passion Play known as modern American race relations.

To me, the solution is simple. American blacks took the word “nigger” away from whites by “reclaiming” it, although technically it was never theirs in the first place. I suggest they do the same thing with the word “redneck” and the rebel flag.

And we, as Americans, should achieve this cultural breakthrough the best way we know how: through a television show. I believe Hollywood should resurrect the classic TV program The Dukes of Hazzard with an all-black cast. Rather than running moonshine, the boys should evade the local authorities by peddling, oh, I don’t know—crack cocaine? And they can “reclaim” the word “redneck” for themselves. They can even keep the rebel flag on their pimped-out ride. And to make everyone happy and ensure that not a soul gets offended, they can call the show The Spooks of Hazzard.

 

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