No, the ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’ is not ‘from slavery’ And neither is the Gadsden Flag.
By now, you have likely heard of the 12-year-old boy who was told that he may not display a Gadsden Flag in school because it has “origins with slavery.” Of course it absolutely does not have origins in slavery; it is a symbol and flag from the Revolutionary War era.
This level of ignorance—especially from an ‘educator’—ought to be embarrassing…but it should not be particularly surprising. There is a lot to know in this life, and no matter how much one learns, it’s just a few more drops in the ocean of things there are to learn. Add to that the fact that public-school teachers—in spite of the endless hagiolatry our society heaps upon them—are not generally an especially impressive lot. They are, in the aggregate, a little more educated and intelligent than the average, of course, but that is not saying all that much.
This woman had no knowledge of the Gadsden Flag. I’d bet money she’s never heard the name Christopher Gadsden. Chances are she is not particularly well-versed in American history, unless that is her speciality (and even then…). All she knows is that people she does not like—people whom she’s been told not to like—tend to fly and display this flag. Thus, it must have its origins in slavery. After all, everyone she does not like is a fascist, a racist, a white supremacist, or literally Hitler.
Back in the late 90s, I had a somewhat similar experience…
One day, I was idly humming the Battle Hymn of the Republic when I was stopped and informed (just like that 12-year-old boy) that this song had its origins in “slavery.” This was a work environment and the person was a colleague, so I kept it cool and just pointed out—a little frustrated, of course—that the Battle Hymn of the Republic was written by an abolitionist and was popular in the Union.
Obviously the colleague knew enough to associate the song with the Civil War, but that was it. Her left-wing programming and intersectional status kicked in from there and filled in the blanks: Civil War…being hummed by a white guy…………slavery.
This wasn’t even particularly conscious. This was more a kind of programatic confabulation. Same thing with the teacher. She did not know where the flag comes from, but she’s a good Baizuo, so she filled in the blanks of her ignorance with a Baizuo’s kind of “knowledge.” My colleague did the same, but from the standpoint of an aggrieved victim.
This colleague was a very sweet person. I really liked her, and she liked me too. I have not seen her for more than 20 years, but I still think of her fondly. But what she did that day was uncool. If you’ve been paying attention at all, you know that truth has begun to mean less in such matters than the identity groups of the people involved. Truth is what The Party says it is. Truth is found in the personal narrative of the ‘victim.’ Grievance trumps reality, and people have lost their jobs for exactly this sort of thing. Under a different set of circumstances, getting caught in that web might’ve cost me my livelihood. All over a grievance that had been fabricated out of thin air.
An experiment conducted at Dartmouth (and repeated in similar studies elsewhere) demonstrated that for some people, feeling aggrieved comes all too easily. You can read for yourself and watch the video below, but the gist is simple:
Study participants had a disfiguring scar drawn on their faces and were told to go out into the world, interact with people, and then report on how those people treated them. Unbeknownst to the participants, however, the scar was removed prior to them going out into public. In spite of the fact that there was no disfigurement, the participants claimed that they experienced discrimination because of their appearance.
This was just one experiment. Imagine being told, day after day, year after year, decade after decade, that you are a victim solely because of your identity, that that will never change, and that even when people are not discriminating against you, they secretly are.
What the left has done to people is vicious. These are precious human beings who did not need or deserve to be psychologically programmed in this way.