Jeff asked this question after dealing with an utterly evasive Haley Barbour on the ever-present neo-Confederate question. The obvious answer of course is black people aren't very forgiving at all. Indeed, looking back on these Malcolm X tapes, I think a large part of his appeal was that he eased a bitter pill. White racists were freely slaughtering black children, and what we had, what we showed the country, was prayer and church hymns. Even now, that's hard to take.
For outrageous as it is that there are black students who attend a Nathan Bedford Forrest High School, the simple fact is that it pales in comparison to the other things African Americans in the South have had to worry about. Jacksonville, Florida, where that high school is located, for instance, has a double-digit poverty rate, a double-digit unemployment rate, and a fairly high murder rate, all of which disproportionately affect the city's black population. Confederate-worship is annoying, but outrage falls pretty low on the hierarchy of needs, all things considered.I would also add that African Americans simply don't have the social capital to make people care about bigotry against them. Outside of high-profile incidents or blatant cases of racism, there aren't many people concerned with ubiquitous Confederate veneration. Indeed, it doesn't even come across as obviously wrong in the way that a Nazi flag would. Put another way, this country has made an effort to forget its racial sins, and African Americans don't have the social power necessary to challenge it, or stop the Confederate mythologizing of (some) Southern whites.
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