Pet Negro (or the unedited, Pet Nigger) is an article written by a notable African-American author, Zora Neale Hurston. As a Southerner who appears White, I appreciate Hurston’s view. Her words should make you rethink the simple thought of Southern racists and Northern saviors. The North created the ghetto; they created economic slavery. President James K. Polk thought slavery would eventually end because technological invention and social pressure would defeat slavery. Was he right and Lincoln wrong? Did Lincoln just give slavery a change of clothes?
The Quakers hate war but helped cause the Civil War because most people are not Quakers. The Quakers preferred a peaceful boycott to damage the economic reasons for slavery. Many dispute Lincoln’s place on the hero list for these reasons. Instead of a peaceful solution; he signed the scorched earth policy. Lincoln’s method killed cattle for the simple purpose of winning the war by starving the other side, which, hurt both Blacks and Whites; how does PETA’s ethical treatment of animals conflict with Lincoln’s method. Is the slaughter of animals for the purpose of starvation, an ethical action toward the animals or the people. You also have to consider whether Lincoln just created the economic slavery of the ghetto.
Slavery needed to end and war may have been the only solution, but Lincoln should always get a grade of incomplete because we don’t have the data to make him a simple hero or villain. Delaware recently apologized for their role in slavery because records do not show slavery or racism as a simple North-South issue. Hurston preferred the South and made note of the Northern elitists who unfairly characterized the Whites in the South.
Some slaver states favored earned freedom and this without a doubt worked in some instances, Horace King, for example. Mixed blood and lighter complexion probably factored into King’s success, but it still shows that a concrete line did not exist in the South. Would Hurston prefer being a ‘Pet Nigger’ in the North or a Horace King Southerner? Simple minded views hurt society because we identify systemic causes and the simple view is not always the accurate view.
When I criticize Feminists or the Catholic Church; I am making a point about systemic issues. Feminists often divert from a Humanist theme and offer a chaotic message to the world. The Catholic Church is a top-down management system which is often myopic. Some people love to condemn the South, but that is a geographic condition and I’m certain none of us control where we were born or the actions of prior generations. Judging our ancestors is difficult because we can’t gauge everything they saw in their lifetime. When slaves killed all those of lighter complexion in Haiti; many thought to take a tighter grip of the reins, for safety reasons.