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Cary Christian School and racism, and the demographics of the Triangle

Whew. Been out all day and just catching up on news. This one is a good local story and it has received a lot of coverage in the news and on blogs.

Cary Christian School say they are not condoning slavery by using “Southern Slavery, As It Was” (Raleigh News and Observer).

Students at one of the area’s largest Christian schools are reading a controversial booklet that critics say whitewashes Southern slavery with its view that slaves lived “a life of plenty, of simple pleasures.”

Leaders at Cary Christian School say they are not condoning slavery by using “Southern Slavery, As It Was,” a booklet that attempts to provide a biblical justification for slavery and asserts that slaves weren’t treated as badly as people think.

Principal Larry Stephenson said the school is only exposing students to different ideas, such as how the South justified slavery. He said the booklet is used because it is hard to find writings that are both sympathetic to the South and explore what the Bible says about slavery.

You can have two different sides, a Northern perspective and a Southern perspective,” he said.

Clearly a wingnut that doesn’t get it. OK. You read these excepts and decide whether this is just a matter of “perspective.”


* “To say the least, it is strange that the thing the Bible condemns (slave-trading) brings very little opprobrium upon the North, yet that which the Bible allows (slave-ownership) has brought down all manner of condemnation upon the South.” (page 22)

* “As we have already mentioned, the ‘peculiar institution’ of slavery was not perfect or sinless, but the reality was a far cry from the horrific descriptions given to us in modern histories.” (page 22)

* “Slavery as it existed in the South was not an adversarial relationship with pervasive racial animosity. Because of its dominantly patriarchal character, it was a relationship based upon mutual affection and confidence.” (page 24)

* “There has never been a multi-racial society which has existed with such mutual intimacy and harmony in the history of the world.” (page 24)

* “Slave life was to them a life of plenty, of simple pleasures, of food, clothes, and good medical care.” (page 25)

* “But many Southern blacks supported the South because of long established bonds of affection and trust that had been forged over generations with their white masters and friends.” (page 27)

* “Nearly every slave in the South enjoyed a higher standard of living than the poor whites of the South — and had a much easier existence.” (page 30)

The school, to its credit, pulled this crap from its curriculum after the bad press, but it wouldn’t have done so otherwise.


As a native Tar Heel (born in Durham, lived in NYC and returned to live in Durham — I claim dual “citizenship” as Southerner and Yankee, lol), Cary is a not a hotbed of retro-style racism. It is, as others have said, a bedroom community between Raleigh and Durham.

The racist private schools are a result of the general nature of schools in the south post-desegregation. The white flight from the schools were a boom for religious and private schools of all types, including the wingnut fundie schools which don’t mind teaching this filth.

I would venture a guess that with the general wealth in this area that folks with little kids either send them to private, progressive schools or live in areas in the Triangle area where the public school system is strong (like Chapel Hill and Cary).

The fundie, redneck crowd sends their kids to places like Cary Christian School.

For more debate and discussion on this topic, visit the interesting diary by Plutonium Page over at DKos.


The Triangle area and the surprising NC gay boom

It is known as “sCary” to folks in Durham because the stereotype is that it is where most Yankee breeders move. It is chock full of folks driving high-end SUVs and minivans with soccer moms that have 1.5 kids and live in gated or planned communities with restrictive covanents. If you’re a lesbian couple raising kids, you’re more likely to live in Durham; I don’t know why this is. BTW, the number of identified gay and lesbian couples in the state is extraordinary, considering its politics. Here is some information on the demographics of the queer population in an amazing piece by a former work colleague of mine, Fiona Morgan in a progressive publication in our area, The Independent Weekly. It focused on the gay “baby boom” here, but is chock full of information about life here if you’re gay, and why civil marriage is important for us.

In reality, families headed by same-sex couples are prospering, becoming more visible and integrating into mainstream society. According to a study of 2000 Census data released last month by the Urban Institute, gay and lesbian couples live in 97 percent of U.S. counties, and one out of every three lesbian couples and one out of five gay couples are raising children. The number of gay and lesbian couples in North Carolina rose 720 percent between 1990 and 2000. As of 2000, there were 16,198 gay and lesbian couples in the state, and 31 percent of them were raising children. The wave of same-sex couples conceiving and adopting children together began in the mid- to late-1980s. Today, those kids are school-age, and society is facing its ambivalence toward gays and lesbians on new territory: in the classroom, on the soccer field and at the PTA meeting.

In the eyes of the state, Cathy Surles (right) has no legal relationship to Kelly Rimer (my former neighbor in Old West Durham) or to their children. Photo By Alex Maness/for the Independent

Gay and lesbian parents are looking for the same things other parents are looking for: proximity to extended family, safe neighborhoods, affordable real estate, good schools, parks and so on. “Same-sex couples [with children] look more like the people around them than like other gay people,” he says. Among metro areas in the state, Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill ranks second for the proportion of gay families, with Durham the overwhelming favorite of lesbian parents. “Asheville is by far the ‘gayest’ city in North Carolina,” Gates says. Third place is Charlotte, followed by Greensboro and Wilmington.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding