Update: Leave it to Ta-Nehisi Coates to remind us of just how silly this project actually is.
Anti-Neo-Confederate crusader Edward Sebesta is best known for his push to petition President Obama to cease sending a wreath to the Confederate memorial at Arlington as well as his claim that the Museum of the Confederacy is mired in Lost Cause nostalgia. Now Sebesta and Euan Hague are hoping to rid juries of racial bias by identifying Confederate/Lost Cause bias among potential jurors.
This is a truly bizarre essay. Don’t get me wrong, I applaud any attempt at ensuring fair trials for all Americans regardless of skin color, but this gets us nowhere. First, Sebesta and Hague acknowledge that jurors can be asked directly whether they harbor racial bias or whether they are members of a white supremacist organization. Apparently, this is not enough. What we need to know, according to the authors, is where a potential juror stands in reference to their understanding of the Civil War and the Confederacy specifically. Here are the questions they would ask:
- Are you a member of the League of the South, Council of Conservative Citizens, Sons of Confederate Veterans, United Daughters of the Confederacy or any other pro-Confederate organization?
- Do you identify with the Confederacy or the Union?
- Do you think it is appropriate for public officials to praise Confederate leaders?
- Do you think it is appropriate when states, counties, cities and other municipalities adopt Confederate symbols in their logos, flags, seals, or other symbols they might adopt?
- Do you think it would have been better if the Confederacy had succeeded in seceding?
- Do you display Confederate symbols such as flags, flag decals, bumper stickers, tattoos or other visual representations of the Confederacy.
Let me cut to the chase. Given my response to these questions it looks like I should be prevented from sitting on a jury that will consider a case involving African Americans.