The removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina state grounds is a little progress, and proof yet again that protest does indeed work. After the massacre of nine Black folks in Charleston by the domestic terrorist Dylan Roof, those folks running things realized something had to be done, if only as a symbolic gesture.
Interestingly, it was the Republican presidential candidates that first raised voices in solidarity with the rumblings that the flag should be removed. No one can argue that this was more than a symbolic victory because the barriers to racial equality in this country are still up.
Nevertheless, it is a concession by the powers that be, resulting from real pressure they felt from the citizenry. Business will sell anything that makes money, so it was significant that Walmart and Amazon and a few others said they would stop selling the confederate merchandise.
Ironically, before this tragic act the flag was defended as heritage and treated as harmless. They knew the truth all along. The flag was not really part of southern heritage, it represents displeasure and opposition to Black civil rights.
The confederate flag flying over Southern municipal buildings was a reminder that Black rights were won under protest and a sign that a good part of the country is not quite comfortable with that progress. There is no doubt that the flag originally represented slavery, treason and White supremacy.
Its re-emergence represented the determination to keep in place the new slavery, the new White supremacy: segregation. In reality it represents racism yesterday, racism today and racism tomorrow.
The folks in power know it. They tossed us a bone, so to speak, because there are so many pressing issues that affect the Black community that they figured they’d allow us this one. After all, the whole southern heritage and pride thing is bogus. The South was fighting to maintain a system of dominance of one people over the other.
Lying, self-deception and self-delusion are as American as apple pie. In fact, many Americans, when confronted by the reality of racism, actually accuse folks of being racist for talking about racism. You can’t really be a good American without convincing yourself that everything is right in the world.
While taking down the flag, it’s also time to take down those big lies that pretend the South was fighting for “state’s rights,” when the truth is that the Confederacy fought to oppose “state’s rights.” Look it up, those racist hustlers were opposed to state’s rights, because individual states were voting against slavery, while the southerners grip on the federal government allowed them to get laws passed in favor of the peculiar institution.
Just about every one of the states that succeeded said they did so because of slavery and to protect the supremacy and superiority of the White race, plain and simple. There is no denying it because they wrote it down in their secessionist statements!
Texas wrote when it seceded, “in this free government all White men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations…”
Honoring southern soldiers? What’s to honor? They gave their lives to defend someone else’s right to treat human beings as things, as property, as animals. Talk about dying in vain! Most of those who died didn’t even own slaves, couldn’t afford to own slaves and were viewed by the Southern aristocracy as just a little bit above slaves, but not by much.
We ought to be nervous about people celebrating what should be their shame. Shameless people are dangerous. Let’s celebrate our symbolic, but significant victory and tell folks to put that flag down. The Confederates were as honorable as the Nazis fighting to prove the dominance of the so-called master race.
Mel Reeves welcomes reader response to email@example.com.