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Rants: Local Alabama NAACP Is Anti-Stupid Poofy Dress In Inaugural Parade

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.

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33 thoughts on “Rants: Local Alabama NAACP Is Anti-Stupid Poofy Dress In Inaugural Parade

  1. I appreciate the post Snob! Being from the Heart of Dixie – people assume that this is just another remnant of the South (yes its the South with the capital S) and that it should be done away with. People forget the facts that you stated.I just think its a tradition indicative of Mobile culture and that the first Creole people (and yes Mobile was the first Spanish/French port) should be able to celebrate it. Let the girls have their day. Find a bigger issue.

  2. skywalker: I just know I personally don’t feel threatened by a giant dress. If black people are upset over giant dresses we should just start banning all Cotillions and debutante balls now, considering blacks in the South (and parts of the North) STILL have them and STILL have their daughters in fancy hoop skirts and dresses for the hell of it.This just seems like an unnecessary nitpick. Could we just stay on the city of DC, law enforcement and the Secret Service to make sure this is the safest, smoothest Inaugural parade ever? Because unless we’re worried about the maids packing improvised explosive devices under their can-cans I seriously could care less.

  3. My guess is that this is a local politician looking for a national news bite. I do appreciate this quote though: “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.”Between the Maids in the parade – I am going so I’m praying for a smooth event – and the actual state of Alabama having issues with equality of education to issues of taxation and revenue (I worked for a few politicans there) there should other issues being brought but alas my home state can’t do that from time to time.Shame.

  4. Well, it’s an easy thing to attack considering most people under 25 have never even seen the film “Gone With the Wind,” let alone read the book and will be more puzzled than anything. I just wasn’t aware that EVERYTHING Southern was inherently racist and offensive, including period fashion. And it gives the impression that every Southern woman dressed this lavishly when really, only those of standing and means could. Your standard sharecropper, serf dressed just slightly better than the field slaves. But I wouldn’t be surprised if this was just political posturing for some national media attention.

  5. This is ridiculous. But what do you expect from an organization that is about serving “Colored” people. Either that or roslyn’s right – it’s an inside job.

  6. roslyn…*snicker*I can’t see the problem with the dresses regarding racism either. Sexism maybe? Especially considering the corsets and the heavy skirts in the southern heat, but that would be sexism of the past.Imagine these dresses in white. You’d have to ban weddings too since some brides do dress like that!

  7. Just came to the Snob, and it´s great. Both the snob´s own writing, the layout and the links.Good luck finding job, snob !(I was gonna review, but needed to sign up, so I write it here instead;)

  8. Anonymous says:

    “…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.”Brilliant.

  9. The NAACP continues to dig itself into oblivion. We have SERIOUS matters to deal with in this country. Leave those damn girls alone. I’m tired of all the faux outrage. Where’s the plan to make the organization relevant in the 21st century?

  10. OH double snaps. Also being from a former confederate state, its a period piece, like hammer pants or patent leather shoes. I thought the same thing when I saw this. If you look at the fashions from England and Europe back in the day, the women wore parasols and puffy skirts.

  11. Petty, petty, petty! We have bigger issues ongoing in our communities and they want to keep diging up the past by being cowards to our present situations?It’s high time that the Civil Rights Industrial Complex take a look in the mirror. They are no longer being honest with the realities facing the black community.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I love all the comments and might shamelessly plug my own blog here,as I did a little research on the tradition. Having been born and raised until I was 10, I have a particular fondness for the dresses, my Mother however, is a different story.http://dotjohnson.com/#DorothyOnTheHillThe post is titled “SWEET HOME” – enjoy. I, of course, love and prefer the Black Snob’s take on all this. The historical pics of black women wearing the traditional dress were exactly what were needed!

  13. Anonymous says:

    As a native Bostionian our problem is Bobby Brown… But he did do that to himeself. The dresses mean nothing, and are completely pointless. Let em wear them.

  14. Ban the dresses, if only for those girls own good. Its freakin cold out here in DC right now. It gonna be like 26 degrees not including wind chill on the 20th. The ruffles will not help.

  15. wow, the only issue I see here is that these dresses are hideousI have to agree. The only thing I find off-putting is this stubborn illusion of Southern gentility from the past, which is in the similar vein of Civil War re-enactors.

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