By Rebecca Bridges Watts
In modern Southern identification Rebecca Bridges Watts explores the consequences of 4 public controversies approximately Southern identity--debates concerning the accomplice flag in South Carolina, the gender integration of the Virginia army Institute, the exhibit of public artwork in Richmond, and Trent Lott's debatable reviews concerning Strom Thurmond's 1948 segregationist presidential bid. whereas such debates may possibly function facts of the South's "battle over the past," they could however be visible as harbingers of a altering South. those controversies spotlight the range of voices within the dialog of what it capacity to be a Southerner. The individuals in those conflicts could disagree approximately what Southern id could be, yet all of them agree that such discussions are a vital a part of being Southern. fresh debates as to where of outdated South symbols and associations within the South of the recent millennium are proof of a altering order. yet a altering South is not any much less certain. If Southerners can locate team spirit and forte of their identity, they could also be in a position to function a version for the more and more divided usa. The very debates portrayed within the mass media as facts of an "Unfinished Civil conflict" can as a substitute be interpreted as evidence that the South has improved and is having a typical discussion as to what its varied individuals wish it to be.
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Extra info for Contemporary Southern Identity: Community through Controversy
27 He contends that Ginsburg wants women to be admitted into the system of VMI tradition because they deserve Gender Integration at the Virginia Military Institute 37 equal access to the social knowledge and power it confers but that she also admits essential differences between men and women in her demand that accommodations be made to protect women’s privacy, thereby replacing one set of mysteries with another. ” In the same spirit, Bunting stated in a December 1996 Newsweek column, “To change any of these standards or expectations—physical, military, or intellectual—to accommodate the enrollment of women at VMI is to compromise exactly what those who apply— male and female—are seeking.
Finally, the VMI class system provides leadership and organization for the military aspect of VMI life. According to VMI historian Henry Wise, “much greater stress is placed on class organization than at other colleges. Each class is a tightly knit organization; its members are . . jealous of their class privileges. ” But in her case, a simple resolution was not enough. She was notified that her admission application would not be considered, and she filed a legal complaint. The result was a series of court decisions regarding whether it was legal for VMI, a state-supported institution of higher education, to deny admission based solely 24 Gender Integration at the Virginia Military Institute on gender to a segment of the state’s population.
The language of Johnson, NOW’s national secretary, vividly explained that women had been kept out of VMI’s rituals and traditions because those in power wanted to prevent people with different sex organs from sharing in that power. In a January 17, 1996, press release, she stated, “We are here in support of the notion that citizen-soldiers come with and without penises. ” In the spirit of Carlyle, Johnson believed that beneath the gendered clothing of our culture, those of different classes—in this case, men and women— will be revealed as being the same, all specimens of the “naked universal man” (though Johnson likely would substitute person or being for man).