I think it’s great that a student can sit down with a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and talk about Civil War history and their respective understanding of the controversy surrounding the Silent Sam statue on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Unfortunately, the video leaves the viewer with the impression that the statements made by the two are both equally valid.

This simply is not the case.

Although neither participant is a historian, Bill Starnes’s understanding of the war is fundamentally flawed and outdated. He offers up every Lost Cause trope about slavery and race in the book. The only thing he didn’t mention are the thousands of black Confederates that served in the army.

According to the reporter, “there were no threats, no shouted expletives, no angry walk-out. Just a long talk, a handshake and plans to share a cold beer.” That’s wonderful, just make it a point to find something else to talk about.

About Kevin Levin

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