I was reading a recent article by lecturer, Tim Wise, in which he explains the history of how poor European immigrants (southern whites) were conned into working against their own best interests by the plantation owners and political class. He states that:
"Even though the wealthy were able to escape military service during the civil war if they owned a sufficient number of Africans—a class privilege one might expect to rankle poor whites who would have to take up the slack and risk their own lives to protect the power of the planter elite—working class whites typically fell in line, fighting and dying to protect a way of life the benefits of which were mostly enjoyed by persons unlike themselves."
That statement amazes me in several respects. Imagine the level of ignorance that must have prevailed in the South that a person would volunteer to fight for the Confederacy and protect slave-owners (and their wealth) while having no economic opportunity and was essentially treated as semi-slave. The volunteers were the ultimate puns in a chess-match, the suckers who died to protect a system that misused and abused them.
Also when one considers today's South where right-to-work laws depress wages, millions of people are denied healthcare (ACA), rural poverty rampant, and poor educational structure, you have to wonder what has changed in whites understanding since the white supremacy system was installed over a 150 years ago. From the viewpoint of today's southern elite (wealthy and political classes), nothing! They are the same dumb-asses they were in the Civil War era.
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