Race

Dear White People, Plantations Should Not Be Romanticized Nor White-Washed

The website ATTN: has brought something rather disturbing to my…well…attention:

Plantation Weddings are actually a thing. Yeah, you read that right. White people in the south get all dressed up, dance, kiss, and eat cake on the historical sites that were once plantations ran on the backs of slaves. According to the site, they caught up with event planner Jordan A. Maney, a black woman who runs the incredible All The Days Events Company. She explains that she received a call to plan an event just like any other day, however, this call came with a surprising twist: They asked Maney to plan a wedding at Kendall Plantation (in Texas, big shocker!) As a black woman, Maney was obviously caught off guard and then rightfully angry that someone would even expect her to plan that kind of event.

Maney’s business thrives off of diverse and unconventional weddings but I think this bride might have taken it one step too far, and the business owner seems to agree.


Images from Jordan Maney’s Facebook via ATTN:

Jordan A. Maney's post about a plantation wedding phone call.

 

From All The Days Event’s business page:

 

“Would you use any other monument of human suffering as a backdrop to your big day? If you didn’t know, now you know!”

Maney also mentions that she’s unsure as to why the south STILL romanticizes and glamorizes the painful history and suffering millions were forced to go through. Southern plantations that housed slaves and forced labor were actual breeding grounds for trauma and abuse. People were raped, killed, beaten, and starved on those grounds. It’s no wonder that Maney also compares it to celebrating on a graveyard- because that’s basically what it is.

You’d think this would be a one-off instance but it’s actually not. Southern Celebrations listed plantations as one of the top ten trends for weddings in the South and many celebrities (aka Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds) have also gotten married on a plantation.

Nottingham Plantation, which is in the town of White Castle, proudly alludes to rustic southern culture and doesn’t try to hide the fact that the building was once home to five hundred slaves. The website refers to the plantation as a resort and describes it as “The South’s largest antebellum mansion, and the mere fact that she actually is still standing is a tribute to the tenacity, courage, and commitment of many people throughout her history.” The site also glorifies the man who owned and had the mansion built by slaves  in the 1800’s as a “savvy, smart business man.”

The “resort” still has the slave quarters, the bells white children used to summon slaves and indirectly refers to slaves as furniture. Instead of the mansion being criticized for housing a plethora of slaves, it is revered as a courageous historical monument and is used as a place of rest and relaxation.

“Unsurprisingly, the racist history of slave plantations has been unfairly normalized and white washed. Because unlike other countries who are ashamed of their bigotry and have turned places of suffering into sacred monuments and grieving sites, the United States chooses to erase the history of ours and use them as places for merriment and celebration. We choose to dance on graves instead of respecting and mourning them.”

As white people, I believe we have to do better. We have taken so many things as victims of appropriation and we have never stopped to listen to the pain of the people we have oppressed. We need to respect the feelings of black men and women and we need to understand that some spaces weren’t meant for us. Plantations being one of them.

It hasn’t been that long since slavery, the plantations are not ours to reclaim, and if you can forget that easily what actually happened at these plantations then you seriously need to check your moral compass. It is beyond me why anyone would find a place of torture, pain and suffering romantic. Just because the landscape appears to be pretty, doesn’t erase the fact that dark things happened there. Just because you or your family can’t sense the eerie connection to plantations doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t.

You wouldn’t hold a wedding or vacation in a cemetery or a concentration camp. You wouldn’t hold a wedding or vacation at the 9/11 memorial site or at Pearl Harbor. So why on earth would you do either in a place where black people were tortured, degraded, and reduced to nothing but a piece of property?

The truth is that we can try and rewrite the painful history of these plantations. We can try to eradicate the pain and suffering behind them, but we will fail miserably. Because people will always remember and people will always have strong emotions connected to it. No matter what.

Maybe, for once, we can try to honor the lives that were taken by ignorance and bigotry instead of overlooking and undermining them. Maybe, for once, we can admit to our mistakes and face them head-on, providing a permanent reminder to never let something as dreadful as that happen ever again.

**A huge thanks to ATTN: who without, this “trend” never would’ve been brought to Affinity’s attention. We are grateful for the resources provided and we are honored to be able to cite you as our leading source of information on this topic.


Update as of January 18th, 2017: We mistakenly stated that Nottingham Plantation refers to itself as “The White Castle.” It is actually in the town of White Castle.

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Kaliane

Kaliane is a twenty year old girl who lives in a small town in Arizona. She enjoys writing articles about mainstream media and challenging them on their sexism, lack of representation, or racism. She also enjoys swimming, walking her dog, writing poems, and whipping up baked goods. Her favorite color is yellow and her favorite musical artists are Lorde, All Time Low, Fifth Harmony, Demi Lovato, and Alanis Morissette. She enjoys binge watching both Girl Meets World and Boy Meets World. You can find her on twitter @MoonriseKaliane!

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Grow Up

    January 12, 2017 at 9:23 am

    “You wouldn’t hold a wedding or vacation in a cemetery or a concentration camp. You wouldn’t hold a wedding or vacation at the 9/11 memorial site or at Pearl Harbor.”

    Thanks for the false equivalencies.

    • Kina

      January 12, 2017 at 5:09 pm

      Why is it a false equivalency? People were enslaved, is that less tragic than what happened at those tragedies?

  2. Christine

    January 13, 2017 at 1:17 am

    Actually, in NOLA especially, many people get married in cemeteries–and if they are of Mexican decent and near Halloween, they are in Day of the Dead make-up. The author is 20 years old. She also doesn’t have much experience with weddings or wedding planning. I don’t love the idea of a plantation wedding and do think it is in grossly poor taste, but the cemetery does not help your case. We actually renewed our vows in one for our 5th. So yeah…you might want to do some more research.

    • Kaliane

      Kaliane

      January 18, 2017 at 3:00 pm

      I’ve actually spoken about this with a friend who lives in the Carribean! She said that these plantations are often reclaimed by said people which I think is cool! :)This article was specifically directed at white people who use the plantations as resorts and capitalize off of the “good old days!” Thanks for bringing it up though!

  3. Nayulei

    January 13, 2017 at 2:11 am

    Caparison or not, I appreciate the lesson. Asking a black event planner to do a plantation wedding is really inconsiderate and insensitive. Thank you for the reality check.

  4. Zzzz

    January 13, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    Defamation lawsuit ?….thanks for throwing the company’s name out there and now they are getting threats…all because someone wanted to post about a couple wanting to HIRE her not slave her

  5. Southerner

    January 18, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    This article just shows how the author did not fully research the facts.
    1. It is Nottoway Plantation, not Nottingham.
    2. Black people AND white people get married at plantations. It’s because they are beautiful venues.
    3. Black people AND white people get married at plantations BECA– USE they have family ties to the geographical location. It’s where their families have lived for generations, often over 200-300 years. There is pride in the land. This is something many in our mobile society do not understand and look down upon.
    4. Nottoway is definitely NOT rustic. Lavish, sometimes gaudy, and definitely overdone in its decorations, but historically accurate, but rustic it is not.
    5. We do not drink out of Mason jars, unless we want a pretty still-life picture for Pinterest.
    6. Remember, you cannot judge people who lived in the past by today’s standards. They did the best they could with the prevailing culture. People in the future may judge your writing in the same way and be horrified by the lack of understanding you have to a culture that you did not even take the time to research and fact check.

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  8. Amanda

    March 27, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    Ok, this article is absurd. First off, the original plantation you mention initially (the one in Texas) was built in 2011. It was built for the purpose of being a wedding venue. Please, as a “journalist” do some fact checking first.

    Back to the original point of your article. Yes, I can see how emotions run how over this topic. Great atrocities occurred against an entire group of people. However, if someone chooses to have their wedding at a wedding venue that is a plantation, that is their choice. Especially if it was just built six years ago! Hello?! That is absurd.

    Furthermore, not all plantations involved slavery. If you did your research (like a legit journalist) you would see that plantations have been around since the middle ages in Europe. They were essentially farm houses. In fact, it is fair to say that without plantations, there would not be resources that were required to sustain life during that time.

    I am so tired of hearing white people say “come on white people let’s do better.” Unless it is about something legitamite. Your article certainly is not! Please gain some more life experience, educate yourself, learn how to do research and fact checking… If you are really wanting to be a journalist, you need some work.

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