Professor: Southerners are Slavery-Loving Racists

-By Warner Todd Huston

Remember how during the run up to the election, all the left pundits and talking heads and their compatriots in the Old Media said that no white person would vote for Barack Obama? Well, despite the singular fact that Barack Obama convincingly won the popular vote in a country that sees a majority of its voters are white, the Old Media is still insisting that all southerners are slavery-loving, neo-confederates that are no different than they were in 1860.

For the Washington Post, Robert S. McElvaine is here to tell us in “The Red, the Blue and the Gray” that Barack Obama is “just like Lincoln” in the same way that Lincoln didn’t get the south’s vote in 1860. Professor McElvaine also intimates that this is because the south is little different than it was in 1860.

Bet you southerners didn’t know that you are all still slavers and racists, eh?

McElvaine, a purported professor of history from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, starts his likening of Obama to Lincoln by noting that the, “extraordinary coincidence of the first African American president taking office a few weeks before Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday is just one of the many links between Barack Obama and the Great Emancipator.”

But there is another striking parallel: Obama carried every state that Lincoln won 148 years earlier — and the percentage of the white vote that he received, or didn’t receive, in all the states that existed in Lincoln’s day suggests that 144 years after Appomattox, the legacy of slavery and the Civil War continue to cast a heavy shadow over the South.

McElvine goes on to show this supposed similarity in a graphic that charts the difference between Obama and McCain’s white vote in the southern states.

The graphic has the notation that in “every state of the Confederacy” McCain won more white votes.

McCain won his largest share of the white vote in the five states of the Deep South that most fiercely opposed the civil right movement — Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia and South Carolina.

This obviously suggests to McElvaine that whites in the south still hate blacks.

But it is highly unscientific to take a single statistic and draw a straight line conclusion from it. For instance, Kentucky was a solidly pro-union state during the civil war. Yet it, too saw 63% of its whites vote for McCain. Additionally, Indiana had the biggest Ku Klux Klan membership in the whole country even as late as the 1930s. Indiana whites voted 54% for McCain but we all know Indiana was a union state during the war despite that it was the racist capitol of the US for many decades after. So, obviously the civil war connection is tenuous at best.

But all this completely ignores any of the actual issues of today, too, and simply assumes that the only reason that so many whites in the south didn’t vote Obama is because they are slavery-loving, racists. Not a very scientific conclusion to so conveniently ignore all other possibilities just to get the conclusion you want.

But, then again, a real statistical investigation is not what this McElvaine fellow was interested in, was it?

Then again, one can bet that “history” is a relative term to professor McElvaine. After all, it is said that, “His books have been praised by people as diverse as Betty Friedan and biologist E.O. Wilson, Studs Terkel and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Rabbi Harold Kushner and Pete Seeger.” These are folks interested solely in agenda politics, not history. If illiterati such as this are his admirers then we can safely assume that “history” is not something that interests the good professor. Only what he can make it into!

(Photo credit:

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as, Human Events Magazine,, New Media Journal, Men’s News Daily and the New Media Alliance among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on He is also the owner and operator of Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston

Fair Use: This site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my efforts to advance understanding of political, human rights, economic, democracy, and social justice issues, etc. I believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research, educational, or satirical purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site/blog for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Copyright Publius Forum 2001