Good evening readers. Like many of you, I have been reading the ongoing coverage of the Charleston, South Carolina church massacre. I’m not a Southerner, but my roots are in the South. My grandfather was from Beaufort, which Google tells me is no where near Charleston. With that said, I’d like to offer my two cents on the confederate flag controversy that we find ourselves discussing right now. In addition to seeing some of the predictable counter reactions to this, there has also been a discussion of removing the confederate flag from public display. The calls are getting louder, and have congealed into the #TakeItDown hashtag.
While it indeed is an honorable thing, in the wake of such a horrible act, its inadequate as a response. Why could not this have been done before? Furthermore, if we want to be technical, how does the American flag itself not represent a symbol of oppression? Saying that bigots can no longer display their flags in public just seems too easy and does nothing to remedy what occurred. If the calls for changes in the aftermath of this terrorist act go no further than the removal of the confederate flag from the public sphere, than it will amount to a symbolic, and facile victory. The seen and unseen anti-Black forces in this country should not be let off that easy.
It is now known that the white supremacist who influenced this murderer has donated money to a few Republican presidential candidates. Given the right wing rhetoric around “Taking our country back” it is not that hard to draw a direct line of accountability. What about how these sentiments are whipped up, day in and out? Its just not enough.
To those of you who feel like people making the claim that the confederate flag is akin to the swastiska is a reach, #wellactually no. The Nazi regimes eugenics program was inspired by study of the Jim Crow South. For more reading on that, you can visit here, here, and here.
I’d like to hear your thoughts on this. Feel free to comment below.