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One Bad Apple Spoils the Bunch - Southern Moderate

Essay by   •  April 7, 2012  •  Essay  •  1,624 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,986 Views

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As the saying goes "One bad apple spoils the bunch" and for this reason I have deemed that it was impossible to be a southern moderate during the 1960s and 70s. A southern moderate was one whose ideals and principles were not tarnished with suppositions of prejudice, discrimination and complete disgust against the opposing race(s), especially persons of African-American origin. Prejudice, in this context, is forming opinions about others without knowing all the facts. It often leads to discrimination which is the act of treating people differently and unfairly. Individuals living during this time period would have found it impossible to become a true southern moderate merely because of influences that drove their every decision in life, consciously and subconsciously. Unknowingly the development of one's character is deeply influenced by elements of life that are inevitable to escape. The elements that surely influenced the anti- southern moderate behaviors and beliefs of the individuals during the 1960s and 70s include religion, family life, and society.

Living amidst individuals of post-slavery and relentless prejudice behaviors, a southern moderate state- of -mind would have been difficult to maintain during the 1960s and 70s. Although modern religion beliefs and interpretations appear to condemn the prejudice and discrimination that went on during that era, people, especially those with deep religious backgrounds, often had the strongest disgust against African- Americans. In Blood Done Sign My Name, the author Timothy B. Tyson recalls moments in church when they sang hymns that promised "the blood of Jesus would wash our sins "as white as snow", cleanse our souls of "one dark blot," or help our "dark passions to subdue" (Tyson, 2004, p. 36). A spot-on southern moderate would not justify discrimination and segregation through the works of their divinity, for the reason that the God and Jesus they worshipped knew no color when it came to those he [Jesus] sacrificed his life for. On the grounds that religion has a great influence on one's morals and beliefs, interpretations in church that vindicated unjust principles, only verifies that any one, especially those active in the church, could not be a true southern moderate. Although religions teach acceptance and tolerance of all people, usually those that perceive their similar views, people of the church are not obligated to adhere to the unofficial, official morals that are taught in church. Justifications for their discriminatory behaviors wasn't a new concept, it's something that had been around since the beginning of the slavery trade. Tyson mentions that the individuals that partook in the slave trade concocted insulting explanation(s) claiming that:

"Africans were not Christians....And so the slave traders and the larger society that depended on them conjured up the poisonous lie of white supremacy; that is, the notion that God conferred moral, intellectual, and cultural worth upon humanity on the basis of pigmentation, with lighter-skinned people inherently more worthy and darker-skinned people intrinsically less worthy...." (Tyson, 2004, p. 266).

Since the religious-based explanations of the slave traders made complete logical and rational sense to them, they found no wrong doing in their actions in fact they believed their actions were part of God's work. With their instilled values, morals and beliefs in "good intentions" they passed them on to younger generations believing that this was the proper way of life.

Efforts of parents and other family members to brainwash upcoming generations of any humane equality towards African-Americans happened to be highly effective. In Blood Done Sign My Name, Tyson stated "Children may not fully understand the social order, but they learn it easily enough when it gets acted out in front of them. (Tyson, 2004, p. 138)", this provided evidence that family structure, values, principles and actions caused great deterrence from one becoming a southern moderate, especially if ,as a child, one was exposed to KKK (Ku Klux Klan) like behaviors. Based on the instances Tyson provided in Blood Done Sign My Name, Caucasians families perceived blacks as second class citizens and by any means necessary refused to interact with them intimately, only intermingling when business was on the agenda. When recollecting past time stories of slavery, blacks' memories frequently differed from accounts white people would tell each other. Discrepancies were, but not limited to, the false happiness that blacks possessed when they were under the tyranny of their owners and the presumed family connectedness between the slaves and their owners. Black storytellers frequently told stories about families being broken up and sold, black women being the white man's concubine, and slaves being whipped severely. Whereas, white storytellers usually passed down gentle fictions, maybe because they believed that all truths are not to be told. No matter the story relayed to an individual, a probable southern moderate would have had to detach themselves, slowly but surely, away from almost every belief, practice, moral(s), etc. they associated with in order to fully claim the title. Although

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