I understand that notions of identity are fluid and changing and that others shouldn’t define people’s identity (e.g., Christian conservatives bandying about notions of who is a ‘good’ Jew). But this, from Charlottesville, is odd (boldface mine):
Ultimately, no one was surprised that a House of Delegates subcommittee, made up of eight white men, killed a bill that would let Virginia localities decide what to do with Confederate monuments–not even the bill’s sponsor, Delegate David Toscano…
Among the bill’s opponents was Chesterfield resident Ed Willis, who said the bill was unconstitutional. “It’s painfully clear that discrimination based on national origin—on Confederate national origin—is the purpose of this bill.” He also said the legislature couldn’t do anything that would affect the ongoing lawsuit against the city and City Council for its vote to remove both the Lee and General Stonewall Jackson monuments.
“Confederate national origin” isn’t like having Mexican ancestry. The notion that this is even remotely a protected class is absurd. This is just a synonym for ‘white Southerner who, 154 years later, wants to sugarcoat a failed rebellion that was in the service of slavery.’ The Confederacy existed from 1861-1865. That’s it; it’s not a separate country. Confederate national origin isn’t a thing. If this NY Times letter about “Confederate ancestry” is any indication, this isn’t a new notion either.
Do black Southerners have Confederate national origins? Perhaps the use of this term is a recognition that Southern no longer refers only to white people?
I don’t care if your great-great-great-grandfather fought against the Union. Just don’t valorize it or make it into an identity.