The Persistence of Racism

**Update 3/20 To all the racist trolls from “Occidental Dissent,” I will no longer approve your uninformed racist comments/rants, so please stop posting them. My apologies to my other followers/readers for having to put up with that garbage.

While contemporary supporters of the old Confederacy often point out that racism was as widespread and intense in the North as in the slave-holding South, and this is largely true, what is shocking to me is the persistence of virulent racism today, of course not only in the South, though I think it is particularly acute among reactionary conservatives, who speak as apologists for the Confederacy. Here is an example of what I mean:

These folks clearly wouldn’t have favored any approach to emancipation.

Also check out this much more tempered discussion on Brooks Simpson’s blog, “Crossroads”:

I suppose I should look for examples of racist attitudes in the Hampshire Gazette from the 1860s.

About marcferguson

I teach history, including the American Civil War Era, as an Adjunct at American International College in Springfield, Ma. I also teach survey courses in U.S. history, Western Civilization, and World History, and have taught at other area colleges, including the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, and Holyoke Community College. While my academic background is in European History, my interest in the American Civil War began about a decade ago. Other areas of interest include Modernism, 20th century World Thought and Culture, The Rise of the West after 1400, 19th c. American Society and Culture, Central and Eastern European History and Culture, and Local History. I have in recent years cut back my teaching drastically in order to devote more time raising my kids (15 year old twins now), including working part-time at their elementary/middle school for the past 6 years, they are now launched and off to High School, and I plan to crank up my involvement in teaching history and local history projects, particularly in light of the American Civil War Sesquicentennial.
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24 Responses to The Persistence of Racism

  1. Mighty says:

    You anti-nature liberals are the harbingers of Western decline and death. You should be forced to live with blacks and browns, in their neighborhoods; there you’ll obtain a genuine education in the biological realities of race, as they exist, not how you fetishize them to be.

    Clearly, you’re ensconced in a Whitopia, far from the multicultural utopia you hold so near and dear. I feel sorry for the young White minds you sophistically brainwash.

    • marcferguson says:

      See what I mean about these racists?

      • jef says:

        lol hey guys lets totally not try to disprove arguments and ideas we don’t like with facts and logic.

      • marcferguson says:

        “Facts and logic”? like accusations that if I believe that black people are human and deserve human and civil rights, that makes me a N***** lover? or that blacks are subhuman “evolutionary throwbacks?”

    • marcferguson says:


    • thegrooveman says:

      So you are in a neighborhood that you consider mixed race and are worried about it? It is unfortunate for you to have to be so fearful, but it is a logical fallacy to equate behavior with race. Behavior is created by environmental influences. For instance, it is more likely that behavior is affected by the economic injustices that rot so many neighborhoods, giving rise to crime and despair, than by the folks that live here.

      I doubt you are a scientist or genetic specialist from your writing, which is ok–no insult intended, These days, the claim that racial traits are fixed and distinct is specious, and the contemporary understanding is that the explanation of race is more likely due to the social isolation of human populations in the recent prehistorically past–20 to 30 thousand years ago. What is more likely to human racial reality is found in the beautiful American cultural where intermarriage has revealed the truer vision of humanity–soft features and beautiful tints.

      Writer, I surmise that you believe the creators of this blog are white or live in a region that is wholly white by your comments and use of your funny neologism “Whitopia”–that is very cute. However to assume that critics of the cruelty of racism are liberal and white or that we even live in quiet, protected neighborhoods is faulty thinking. By far the opposite is the case for us, We live in a culturally diverse, rich area and though crime in our local cities are alarmingly high and the poverty, homelessness and unemployment are a challenge, we have a lively infusion of the arts and entrepreneurship that is very ameliorating and hopeful.

      I think we hope that the minds that read here are not uniformly white or black–we hope many people read and discuss in this blog. It is kind of like a cultural intercourse that improves our social outlook. I am sure you have had many intelligent lookers check out you comment.

      As others might despair, and there are certainly terrible, hateful and bloodthirsty incidents of violence of supremacists on blacks, I do have hope in our societies

  2. fredrick says:

    I am curious Dr. Ferguson, why is it that we almost universally see racism from whites when they live in close proximity with blacks, and very little from whites who live in populations with little, if any blacks. Is it too much to think that that racism is actually a natural defensive mechanism to protect oneself and one’s family, and less a taught “hatred” of those who happen to be different? What are you more likely to be wary of? Something that you have learned though experience can cause harm if not handled correctly, or something that has never caused a negative experience?

    Could this be why you tend to see this “persistent, virulent racism” in abundance in the south, and other areas in close proximity to blacks, and little if any in “whitopias”?

    • marcferguson says:

      I see the “persistence of racism” in the virulent racist language that folks use on such blog sites as “Occidental Dissent.” I was called a N***** lover just for suggesting that blacks were humans and should be treated with dignity.

      • fredrick says:

        You did not speak to my point. I was not speaking to the what but the why. Is that not what should truly interest an intellectual? We all know what “racist language” sounds like. But why is it so persistent? We have devoted an entire era to stamping it out, yet as you put it is as prevalent and “virulent” as ever.

        When honest racial questions and concerns are disallowed in polite society, the only recourse is the impolite. People become angry when they feel their concerns are not being addressed, and that anger can lead to some frightful things. Banning that anger is about as useful as “banning” poverty. It does not address the true cause. Our current economic woes will only further serve to coarsen the racial discourse unless we can abandon some of our farcical dogmas on race and start to address the real concerns many people have with the way radical egalitarianism runs afoul with the reality on the ground.

      • marcferguson says:

        I have many ideas on why racism persists, cultural and psychological resentment are near the top of the list, but I think that those who continue to spout racist garbage have to look themselves in the mirror and change their behavior/language, and take some responsibility for the affect that their language has in the world.

    • marcferguson says:

      Nice try at a rationalization for very ugly, and discredited, ideas about black people.

  3. marcferguson says:

    Think any way you like, fill yourself with hatred, I’m sure that’s good for you. Your words speak for themselves, and I’m sure that anyone reading them can see that you are a hate-filled racist. The only “point” that Mighty seemed to make was that he was also a hate-filled racist. I was commenting on his words, as I am with yours. Now, please do not continue to pollute this site with racist diatribes, if you do so I will not approve your comments.

  4. marcferguson says:

    I’m sorry, Mr. Mindless Weapon, but I’m trained as an historian and as such look for historical reasons for conditions in the world not moronic and poisonously racist rationalizations to make myself feel superior.

  5. Bob Huddleston says:

    It is not rue that Yankee racism was as bad as the Rebel version. While both were indeed by modern terms racists, in 1860 there was one significant difference between the slave states and the free ones: the Southerners believed in enslaving Africans, the Yankees opposed slavery in all forms..

  6. Thorfinnsson says:

    Humans and earthworms share 70% of their DNA.

    Clearly you are not a geneticist.

    • marcferguson says:

      No I am not a geneticist, I’m an historian, and I think I know what you think of the academic training of historians. I took the Brainwashing course twice, just to make sure I understood what I was supposed to teach the students.

      • Robbie Burns says:

        Why didn’t you post my comment regarding the state of teaching of history? You know full well you are distorting that post. I described it well. If a student is constantly taught that so and so is bad while John Smith was virtuous, it is not so much “brainwashing,” at least not in the way you are trying to use it to ridicule, as it is imparting a basic premise to students to use for the rest of their lives.

        The training of today’s lawyers in law schools has serious bearing on their approach to cases. It is not a “conspiracy,” but rather the points of views of teachers being instilled in many students. Many liberals deplore the views parents impart to their children. This is the same thing. Are the parents engaged in a “conspiracy?” Hardly.

      • marcferguson says:

        Send me your comment, and I’ll look at it again. As I wrote, I was rejecting all comments from the gang at OD at that time, so I cannot speak to the content of your comment right now

      • marcferguson says:

        I have never taught that any particular person was “virtuous.” I teach what they did, wrote, and said, and leave it to the students to decide questions of virtue for themselves. However, i have no problem with saying that slavery and racism are bad, though students seem to be able to come to this conclusion on their own, based on the actual history of slavery and racism in this country.

      • marcferguson says:


        Did you not notice my note stating I would approve no more comments from the racist crowd at OD? Did you think you were an exception?

  7. Mighty says:

    My comments are gone … you, sir, are a coward and an enemy to truth.

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