Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell just opened up another wound in our country's abysmal racist history with his decision to name April Confederate History Month in Virginia -- and to do so without mentioning slavery as the cause of the Civil War -- or even at all. And only acknowledging the role of slavery two days later after intense uproar from Virginians and people alike across the country.
It is the height of white male privilege for politicians like McDonnell or Georgia's Governor Sonny Purdue to use symbols of the Civil War, slavery, the Confederacy, and racism without regard to how painful that is for so many of our people -- not just African-Americans.
I am grateful every day that when I was grown my mother told me about my family's racial heritage. We were and are Scots-Irish, American Indian, and African-American as so many white southerners are -- especially those of us from frontier areas like my native northwest Tennessee and southeast Missouri.
I was raised white in the South with all the privilege that entails. I am not trying to make a claim. But it is a little understood truth that so many of us have a multi-race heritage.
So every spring when folks ask me where i went to get that tan I struggle about whether to just say I brown up easy or to say if I lived mostly outdoors like most of my ancestors i would be this color all the time because Big Mama (my mother's grandmother} was the first in my family to pass for white and my mother said we were Black Indians and both my grandfather's looked America Indian.
I love the South and I miss it all the time but I am not confused about its history or why big Mama wouldn't allow her own brother to dismount his horse in her yard and come into the house in rural northwest Tennessee hard by the Mississippi River because he was too dark. Bob McDonnell is a racist and a fool just like Sonny Purdue and Jim DeMint and so many others.
Our nation's racial destiny is to collect on Thomas Jefferson's words that "All men are created equal" or as President Obama would say move "toward a more perfect union." The Civil War was our nation's greatest freedom struggle. African-American's elusive freedom in that ward cost 600,000 lives. It is the worst kind of fool and racist to pretend the Confederacy fought for noble reasons.
We shouldn't honor the traitors to the union who fought for the Confederacy even if some of them were our Scot's-Irish ancestors.