Shared history, but not shared blame
Thank you for your Wednesday editorial, “Our collective past.” You are quite right in making the distinction between “collective past” vs.” collective blame.” Collective blame was not at all what I was talking about. I meant there is no “black” history, no “white” history, only our collective history, or better yet, our shared history.
The Old Testament verse the “sins of the father will be visited on the young,” seems to be pertinent here. We are still feeling the effects of slavery. My purpose was to clarify the inequality of opportunity for black people when Haley Barbour and I were both children. It is important to me that we not gloss over the great sacrifices that were made by many people in our state.
As to the bloggers who seem to think I am asking them to be guilty for slavery, I had no such intention of imposing guilt. If owning slaves in one generation means following generations should feel guilty, then I would be guilty. My family owned slaves and moved them to Texas before the Civil War. Am I to blame for their choices? No, of course not. Do I wish they had never owned slaves? Yes. I do. It caused great suffering.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.