A Georgetown University law professor’s choice words for a white woman who said her confederate ancestors should be honored, has resurfaced. And it comes at time when Black folks across social media engage in discussion about being “loving and forgiving” of oppression and white supremacy.
When professor Paul Butler appeared on a NPR radio program “The Diane Rehm Show” back in 2015, a call came in from a woman who spoke of her ancestors fighting for the Confederacy during the Civil War.
“I’m not somebody who thinks the battle flag should stay there, but I certainly honor my ancestors,” the caller stated.
Read on below to see how Butler replied.
Butler fired back at the caller (via Opposing Views):
I have no respect for your ancestors. As far as your ancestors are concerned, I shouldn’t be a law professor at Georgetown, I should be a slave. That’s why they fought that war. I don’t understand what it means to be proud of a legacy of terrorism and violence.
Last week at this time, I was in Israel. The idea that a German would say, “You know, that thing we did called the Holocaust, that was wrong, but I respect the courage of my Nazi ancestors.” That wouldn’t happen.
The reason people can say what you said in the United States is because, again, black life just doesn’t matter to a lot of people.
Later, during an appearance on MSNBC’s “All In With Chris Hayes”, Butler spoke about the call:
You know some people agree with me on the merit, but they said it was rude to say that I don’t respect that woman’s ancestors. So let me get this right, a white person says to a black person, “I honor the people who wanted your ancestors to be slaves,” that’s fine.
A black person says, “I don’t honor those people,” that’s rude. That’s white privilege all over again. And it goes to a larger issue, that when black people talk to white people about white supremacy, we’re supposed to be loving and forgiving.
The problem is love and forgiveness are not productive in American politics. That’s not how social change is achieved.
Watch Butler tell it via the YouTube clip above.