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Liberal Atlantic claims beards a symbol of white supremacy

Civil War General Ambrose Burnside, whose distinctive whiskers were the inspiration for the name "sideburns."
Civil War General Ambrose Burnside, whose distinctive whiskers were the inspiration for the name "sideburns."

It seems liberals these days are willing to go to any lengths to find racism. First it was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, then dry asparagus and stick figures. Now, it seems the folks at the Atlantic have found new proof of white supremacy and racism -- this time in the history of facial hair sported by American men, according to an article published Monday.

Sean Trainor went all the way back to the days of the American Revolution and the early 19th century to "discover" that beards are "a fashion born out of desperation but transformed into a symbol of masculine authority and white supremacy."

"It may seem strange that barbering, which required practitioners to hold razors to their customers’ throats, was dominated by men of color in Revolutionary America. But the reasons for this were simple. Before the American Revolution, free white workers were few and their was labor expensive—especially in the southern colonies. So slaveholders in need of grooming often turned to their enslaved workforces," he wrote.

Trainor spent some 35 paragraphs detailing the history of facial hair in the 1800s, but failed to explain how beards are a symbol of white supremacy in the 21st century.

"The 19th-century beard may have sprouted from a fear of razors and a distaste for black barber shops. But it grew into a symbol that set white American men apart from smooth-faced foreigners as well as powerful women at home," he wrote.

Trainor spent a lot of time delving into 19th century thought regarding beards, but failed to make the connection to the 21st century. He did, however, call on modern men to "alter" the legacy of facial hair.

"In fact, today’s revival presents a chance to confront and alter the beard’s legacy. What we need is an honest conversation about beards and the men who shaped them—a better grasp of what to keep and what to cut," he wrote.

Readers of the article weren't impressed with Trainor's thesis.

"I'm pretty sure we need no such thing," one reader said, referring to Trainor's call for a conversation on beards. "Anybody who calls beards racist today is simply a blithering idiot."

Another person observed that "[m]ost men grow beards by default," adding that most stopped shaving for "racist and sexist reasons."

Yet another reader pointed out that Trainor failed to explain the popularity of beards in Europe and the northern states during the 19th century. In fact, one northern general, Ambrose Burnside, pictured above, had whiskers so distinctive, they became the inspiration for the word "sideburns."

"Its facial hair folks, seriously its just hair," one reader said.

While the subject is "just" hair, it's part of the liberal effort to find racism where there is none.



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