Additional Readings on the Continuing Debate over the Continuing Debate …

I think one reason that I sounds a bit frustrated about responding to yesterday’s topic is that I’ve already responded to observations similar to those made by Gary Gallagher and Peter Carmichael.  Ironically, that, too reminds me of the pattern of some of the debates over the Black Confederate Myth (BCM … we still struggle over an appropriately descriptive label).

Here are those posts:

1.   This post, appearing on June 18, 2011, outlined the debate and the criticism leveled by one professional historian who thought that to respond to the issue was to give it credibility.

2.  This post, appearing on June 20, 2011, looked at the obligations of professional historians and suggested how to address the BCM.

3.  This post, also appearing on June 20, 2011, addressed several comments, including one made by a fellow professional.

Now that we’ve gone around the cycle again, it will be interesting to see whether there’s a third time.

2 thoughts on “Additional Readings on the Continuing Debate over the Continuing Debate …

  1. John Foskett April 28, 2012 / 8:14 am

    Not being a professional historian myself, I can weigh in with a pretty simple-minded layman’s perspective. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out that some of the observations I’m about tio make refer to things you’ve observed in your teaching role. History (specifcally American history) is a subject that has been largely tossed to the wayside in American education in favor of the trendy and the functional (read: lucrative). I encounter this daily in my own business. In addition, the internet is a pervasive element of our daily lives and it has influence far beyond what it should have in many instances. The First Amendment bars the Givernment from requiring credentials or proof in order for any citizen to open a blogsite and start spewing “facts”. BCM is only one example among countless instances where fiction is trotted out as fact, and by dint of repetition becomes “fact”. Do I think that professional historians are obligated to take this on in the forum where it can be most effectively countered? No. But those who do take it on are, in my humblest opinion, doing good, necessary work which in its results may be achieving much more than the efforts of those who hold themselves “above the fray” and confine themselves to erudite debate in “appropriate” circles..”Dignifying by responding” is too often a canard. Sometimes not countering a falsehood dignifies it because it becomes accepted as true. To sum this up, if a professional historian chooses not to engage, that’s ‘cool”. But ST_U about those who do. As for how to counter things like the BCM, your proposed strategy makes a great deal of sense. Of course, I have no problem with anyone who believes instead that the direct counterstrike is the correct way to go, armed with facts/evidence, etc. There were no BC in any number remotely suggesting that the Confederacy was about “diversity” with regards to race. But that choice of strategy, like the decision whether to engage at all, is a matter of personal choice. Keep up the good work here. .

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