I’m sorry. I wasn’t aware that we black people ran out of real problems and only had mock outrage to deal out over a bunch of girly-girls in Southern Antebellum Era, fantasy-fetish colored hoop skirts and stupid wide brim, ruffled bonnets.
From Daily Kos:
Montgomery, Ala. (WSFA) — They’re part of a long standing tradition that will soon become a part of Presidential history.
The head of the Alabama NAACP, however, wants Mobile’s Azalea Trail Maids to stay home on Inauguration Day, claiming the group reminds him of slavery.
“These are not just regular costumes. These are the costumes that remind someone of the plantation in Gone with the Wind,” Edward Vaughn said in a phone interview.
Vaughn went on to say the group would be the laughing stock of the Inauguration. County leaders say nothing could be further from the truth.
“We want everyone to know that these young ladies do not need to be identified with slavery,” said Mobile County Commissioner Stephen Nodine.
The Rebel Flag — the stars and bars of the Confederacy battle flag — is an offensive symbol a destructive, bloody Civil War waged by selfish, wealthy land owners who wanted to protect their “Peculiar Institution” by destroying America. Never mind that it involved the former enslavement of an entire group of people for having African heritage.
The great General Robert E. Lee, who passed over fighting for the Union to join the Confederacy, was not fighting for Miss Ann’s right to dress like a wedding cake. This was not the “way of life” of which they spoke, considering most Southern women couldn’t even afford the damn thing and it had nothing to do with slave owning. A stupid frilly dress is simply a stupid dress no matter what fictional Southern movie heroine wore it.
I hate to tell the genius at the Alabama NAACP this, but … um … free women of color wore the stupid dress too (if they were of means, especially in the Louisiana Territory), because, you know, it was the FASHION AT THE TIME! Invented by the Europeans! Inspired by the Victorian Era! And these dresses to be worn in the parade aren’t even accurate. They’re some Barbie doll nightmare version of them. Their only sin is that they are kind of ridiculous looking, reminding me of that crochet toilet tissue topper Granny Snob has at her house in Newport, Ark.
And some of these “offensive” throwbacks happen to be black girls (eight of them, in fact. Two others are Native American and one is Asian American) and the only crime I see here is the crime of being a little over the top.
Now, offensive would be if the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan got to march a “Southern Heritage” banner down the avenue in front of the motorcade, but if period clothing is enough to inspire Don Imus-level offense then everyone needs to stop wearing cowboy boots right now. I could have swore they were popular with the people who settled the American west driving countless Native Americans off their land and eventually into reservations, to the brink of extinction.
But strangely, you know? A cowboy boot is just a pointy-toed boot popular in the South and American West. Not a symbol of brutality. Neither is a stupid dress.
A noose. A burning cross. A Rebel Flag. A Klan hood. Those are the symbols of the South’s tragic, violent, racist past (and in certain cases, present). Sometimes a dress is just a dress. The only thing oppressive going on is that corset underneath which once conformed Southern ladies to an unnatural standard of tiny waist size making them more prone to fainting.
Stories like these imply that there are no serious issues left to tackle involving blacks and racism in America. They also unfairly push the stereotype that only the South has racial hangups and dirty laundry. (Um … What’s the City of Boston’s excuse? Do they have a frilly dress situation there too?) Petty complaints like this imply that all we have left are word police and now, fashion police in Blackland. An unarmed black man was shot and killed in Oakland, Calif. on New Year’s Day and it spurned riots. Poverty and poor education plague our cities and many parts of the South, including Alabama. We just elected our first black president, president of color, non-white president, biracial president and THIS IS THE FIGHT WE’RE PICKING?
WITH POOFY DRESSES?
Picking fights over gauzy symbols of bygone femininity will not bring us any closer to equality. Perhaps they could focus on the OTHER 99 problems (but a dress ain’t one) that trouble the African slave descendents of the great state of Alabama.