South Carolina: Preserving a racist heritage.

imagesMaurice Bessinger passed away Saturday at the age of 83.

I find it hard to imagine how my sister, raised in a home devoted to ending racial stereotypes against Jews, can live in South Carolina.  The place reeks of a racist heritage still dominated by the politics of the Tea Party with its own roots in the Charleston of 1865.  I suppose as a Jew, it is fairly easy to pass for white, but how do black people feel?   Do Blacks and Jews mingle in this palce, do the both eat BBQ SCplaces like Piggies’?

All of South Carolina knows Maurice.  The man cooked BBQ in 1939 at his father’s first restaurant.  In 2000, Maurice sued several grocery chains for $50 million for removing his sauce from their shelves because the Piggie Park’s flew  the Confederate flag after the flag was removed from the State House dome. The chain and its the owner talked proudly about the South Carolinian heritage of race, slavery and the Confederate flag.

2530007420_1c15518cdcThe barbecue magnate continued to promote racist propaganda in his establishments. The Stars and Bars flew over every Piggie Park until 2010, when all but two came down “due to the cost of dry cleaning,”-

I wonder if my sister, who I assume has African American acquaintances, ever asks them how they feel?  Does she frequent the Charleston version, founded by Maurice’s brother?   Southern Black culture is amazingly polite.  I have had to threaten  Southern friends that if they did not  stop calling me “Sir” I would start calling then “Boy!”