The Atlanta Braves have decided to have a themed night in honor of the 75th anniversary of Gone With The Wind's release. You can come dressed as your favorite character for $10 off admission into Turner Field. And that's not in honor of the movie version, which at least won Hattie McDaniel an Oscar and opts for racial slurs a notch short of maximum grade.
No, it's for the book version, which is sort of the Atlas Shrugged of complaining about black people not being slaves any more. Its narrative, not just its dialog, features passages so racist they're recited to this day on white power message boards.
This isn't a book-burnin' rant. This book can be talked about and taken seriously as a historical document and as a work of literature, but that kind of treatment has nothing to do with holding a public costume party that people around the country are going to laugh at.
I'm assuming the team's marketing people haven't actually read the novel, and probably haven't watched the movie in a long time, either, other than seeing shots of mansions while flipping past Turner Classic Movies.
Former slaves are "creatures of small intelligence" and "like monkeys" who become misled by northerners into believing they're "as good as any White man," with Atlanta soon becoming overrun by "lazy and dangerous" black men who drunkenly terrorize white women and cause the Ku Klux Klan to "spring up overnight" as a matter of "tragic necessity."
That's all from one page. There's plenty more -- black people are "shiftless," "gorillas," "idle," "stupid" ... actually, the whole quote there is:
How stupid negroes were! They never thought of anything unless they were told. And the Yankees wanted to free them.
One black character saves the protagonist from a "black baboon" and then declares he'd rather still be a slave. And if there were actual human-like black characters saying this stuff, that might be one thing. Huckleberry Finn has racist language, but isn't plantation nostalgia dressed up as a love story. Besides, if the use of the n-word in Finn is enough to get it banned in schools, GWTW's 104 uses of the word should probably keep it clear of baseball stadiums, right?
As Maurce Garland points out, the team is honoring a book that romanticizes slavery and the KKK -- and doing so only weeks after hosting the 2011 Civil Rights Game weekend.