YDS: The Clare Spark Blog

February 10, 2018

“Black supremacy?”

One thing I will say for W. J. Cash’s “famous classic” The Mind of the South (1941), though it had typical Leftist tropes (e.g, group mind, or what postmodernists would call a “collectivist discourse”). At least Cash did not glorify the consciousness of slaves and freedmen— unlike some black nationalists who, out of one side of their mouths stigmatize Amerikkka as incorrigibly corrupt (and Jewified) and out of the other side identify their group as the most likely antidote to “white supremacy.”

Witness the leftist offensive to take down the statues that commemorate Southern generals AND the Founders, or other miscreants (Columbus!) held to have turned the virgin land into a killing field.

Rather, Cash, unlike more recent liberals and radicals, took slavery seriously enough to blame it for a romantic, hedonistic, “individualistic” (but conforming) mind-set that was typical of the pseudo-aristocratic planter class and that permeated landowning white AND black folks to their detriment as the South became bourgeoisified after the Civil War.

Cash would like to have seen ex-slaves and poor whites join together to overthrow the “Babbittry” that many liberals today identify with Trump voters, for the Democratic name-calling reminds me of Cash’s list of horribles. Like H. L. Mencken, Cash viewed Southerners as “yokels”/”fundamentalist” fools.

The black nationalists have a point, for their antagonist, Martin Luther King, Jr., was not a Leftist (though the Communist Party did infiltrate the civil rights movement, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Communist_Party_USA_and_African_Americans), but the black nationalist separatism (and implied black supremacy) would not sit well with W. J. Cash, who looked to a coalition of labor activists black and white to improve their condition. (Cash reminds me of Ralph Bunche, during the late 1930s, an Asa Philip Randolph enthusiast, who advocated for a more humane capitalism.)


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