Amen and amen. Until we admit to ourselves collectively that our past as slave holders is shameful, until we accept that slave plantations were evil on the order of concentration camp evil, until we stop romanticizing “Dixie,” we will never be able to come to terms with our racism.

When the day comes that we shudder in horror at tales of the Confederacy and shed tears of genuine sorrow over the suffering Black slaves lived, then we will know we are making progress.

While we romanticize plantations, while we visit them to “enjoy heritage” or to get married, we know something is deeply morally wrong with us as a people.

When I lived in Germany, I visited concentration camp sites. I joined other visitors wiping away tears and meditating on the human capacity to cause immense suffering.

That is what former slave plantations must become for us Americans.

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot.