Over the years, I have been surprised at how Uncle Remus has become the subject of such racial controversy. Liberal African Americans and whites both contend that the Disney character Uncle Remus and his stories of wisdom in the movie "Song of the South" are racist.
Interesting. An wise old man telling stories of wisdom is racist. Yet, stories handed down by oral tradition in the African American community are not. Take for example stories told in the Gullah dialect along the South Carolina coast. The South Carolina state museum has an exhibit that honors such, as it should, by the way.
My roots are Irish to the core. I have heard oral traditions about some of my family members when they went into to Columbia looking for work to see signs that read, "no Irish need apply." My cultural heritage is most well known for some little guy in green looking for a pot of gold. There are Irish folk tales that have been told since the beginning of writing. I am not offended by them being told by a man with a thick Irish accent in movies and other venues.
That is why the furor over Uncle Remus confuses me. Perhaps someone is offended by the way he talked, or the way he was portrayed. But, how could the wisdom of his stories be offensive. The tales of Brer Rabbit are about overcoming adversity, finding a way out of bad situations, and being smarter than those who think they are smarter than you. "Please don't throw me in the briar patch" comes to mind.
Now, I know that slavery is something we in the United States all regret. But, that regret should not prevent us from celebrating the stories and cultural icons that came from it. They have value. Are we to someday put the characters of Alex Haley's Roots on the shelf? Will Chicken George be as political incorrect one day to read about and talk about as Uncle Remus?
The Irish were subject to harsh British rule for hundreds of years. Yet, the telling of stories about the characters of that oppressed time are not offensive to the PC left.
Indeed, literature should be open to all to read and criticize in a free society. Deciding what can not be openly read, discussed or cited for political reasons is a page out of the Communist Manifesto, not the American constitution.
All that said, the remarks made by some liberal blogger and democratic activists about Governor Sanford are out of line. The Governor said he felt like some budget issues were like "dancing with a tarbaby." The word tarbaby made me think of doll made of tar, not a black person. Anyone who thought of a black person first has some issues to deal with.
What really gripes, me, though, is that those who are upset over the word "tarbaby" would likely be the first to laugh at someone being described as "drinking like an Irishman" or having an "Irish temper." There is a double standard and a political ax to grind.
It's okay, though, I suppose. For, God made whiskey and beer so we Irish would not rule the world.
That's called laughing at one's self. You liberals ought to try it. It is as healthy as not smoking.