I’mma play the devil’s advocate on this one. So there’s an online petition asking for the removal of the Confederate flag fueled recently by the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. In the south, for some, the flag represents a symbol of pride. When seen, it’s a rally cry for those that felt oppressed by a government (the North/Union) who destroyed their families’ livelihoods over a century and a half ago. For others, it represents a beckon of hate. A constant reminder of days past where people of color were tormented and tortured; entrenched in history, with the burning cross (imagine that), as a sign of the danger to come for those whose hue, sexual orientation or religious background were different from that of their oppressors. Whether carried by hooded rogues or waving in an afternoon breeze on the back of a Ford F-150, gun-rack in tow, it instilled fear and horror. It’s symbolizes the Black holocaust here in a country where one of the slogans are “Give us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses longing to be free.” Does removing the flag from state buildings, tailgating events and other venues resolve the root causes of racism? The answer for some is it’s a step in the right direction. It would mean that as a society we’re making progressive steps by attempting to solve a problem deeply woven in the annals of American history. The real answer is “No!” As a material object, it doesn’t change the psychology of the individual enveloped in its clutches. It’s something which is embedded as a result of exposure and practice; it’s a behavior that’s taught and the flag only serves as a reminder of a cause, not its intrinsic value or intent. Members of the Klu Klux Klan no longer walk around wearing their robes and other garments in reverence to their agenda. They pose as your doctors, attorneys, pediatricians, police officers and teachers. Though the fabric may be buried underneath valuables in a basement or hanging near trinkets in an attic, it’s a mindset that goes unchanged by judgment, public opinion or common sense. If you’re willing to remove the Confederate flag, be willing to remove the flag of this very country because the foundations are virtually the same. A mere search through history will reveal the methods by which the United States was able to establish, expand, maintain and continue its dominance as a global power.
I say keep the flag; let it serve as a reminder of the atrocities that have occurred under its banner. Keeping those that are aware of its history to be ever mindful of the smell of burning buildings, decomposed corpses, shattered windows and broken dreams which occurred and continues to do so while it flies. Allow it to summon the strength and courage necessary to overcome the adversity associated with its colors, stars & bars. Let people bask in its splendor as a reminder of the loss the South suffered during the War on Northern Aggression (The Civil War). It’ll be contradictory to remove generations of tradition, be it right or wrong, because it doesn’t adhere to the norms of society. No different than the Native Americans or the Africans that arrived here via the TransAtlantic Slave Trade being stripped of their culture, religion & beliefs. Changing the names and uniforms of the Ole Miss Rebels, stopping the sales of automobile license plates or removing the red bars from the State of Florida’s flag (which represents its time in the confederacy) won’t change the underlying issue. Racism, though enhanced by signs, symbols and images, is an inherent practice that is taught and instilled psychologically. Until the thought process changes, the removal of objects is only a superficial attempt to alleviate the issue. If that were the case, the existence of a divine being that can relieve the world of its ills and solve individual suffering wouldn’t be praised on a daily basis.
Maybe I feel this way because I don’t reside in a Bainbridge, Georgia, the Appalachian Mountains or Jackson, Mississippi where racism is felt and dealt with at a different degree and the flag carries an entirely different meaning. On second thought, take that sh*t down! It endorses principles that are no longer applicable and is a constant reminder of servitude and alleged racial superiority based solely on the color one’s skin. . So as Bree Newsome is praised for her courageous act of civil disobedience after climbing the flag pole and removing the Confederate flag from the Statehouse in Columbia, South Carolina, perhaps it should be considered that other flags be removed from their perch atop buildings of stature worldwide upon further examination of their histories of colonization. “As a people we are fighting to maintain the Heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race. As a national emblem, it (the Confederate flag) is significant of our higher cause, the cause of a superior race.” (William T. Thompson, designer of the Confederate flag) “We Are The Change!” I’m gone! (b)
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