We owe it to ourselves and to our descendants to be always open to reconsidering history. But there is a difference between taking back up an account to make it more rigorous and adopting a wholesale lie that makes us feel better about our racism or somehow justified in our hatred.
Folklorists have a unique disciplinary perspective for this sort of analysis because there was this period of time when the field was mired in “romantic nationalism.” The “true character” of a people was said to be rooted in the culture of the volk and was glorified and incorporated into more modern political movements. Like Nazism. So folklorists have a keen interest in serving as the sort-of keepers of cultural authenticity, if you will. If anyone should be highlighting the ways in which “traditions” are being manufactured, distorted, and consumed, it is us… me.
In America today, the most prominent, prevalent, and pernicious of these revisionist movements is the Lost Cause narrative: the idea that the Civil War was a romantic struggle for freedom against an oppressive government trying to enforce cultural change.