Friday, June 19, 2015
Want To Honor the Charleston 9? Start With This
In the aftermath of the racist massacre of 9 black churchgoers this week in Charleston, SC, there have been renewed calls for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the State Capitol to acknowledge the reality of the racial divide and to make a small step toward closing it. Indeed, while both the U.S. and state flags were lowered over the capitol building in Columbia out of respect for the victims, the symbol of slavery remained at full mast. The usual suspects are resisting the removal of the flag, bringing up their time-worn excuse of "tradition" and "honoring the fallen." Keep in mind that this flag -- this flag of treason against the U.S. -- was flown in a fight to maintain the vicious system of slavery in the South, and is carried in demonstrations today by the KKK, neo-Nazi groups, and assorted white supremacists. There's no honor associated with that flag, and that needs to be said over and over.
A column by the late Steve Gilliard from 10 years ago, reproduced by Driftglass, drives home the point that this flag has become the American equivalent of the Nazi swastika, which was co-opted from ancient Sanskrit as a symbol of hope and good will. One hundred and sixty five years after the end of the Civil War, the symbol of racism still holds a place of honor among many Southern whites, and a continuing stab in the heart of black Americans who know exactly what "tradition" that flag represents.
BONUS: Read Ta-Nehisi Coates' article in The Atlantic, calling for the banishment of this symbol, and screw the apologists and the rabid white supremacists.