Weeks after the mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015, the media discovered in Dylan Roof’s manifesto some pictures of the killer burning the American flag and then waving the Confederate flag in its place. Since then, the media and South Carolina officials have decided that it was time to remove the Confederate flag from the state capital that have been up since the 1960’s. Since then, many other states have jumped on the anti-Confederate flag bandwagon and are now pushing bills to remove the symbol from state memorabilia. For example, Alabama’s Governor order the flag be removed from their capital along with all other confederate symbols including on license plates. Of course, there are many supporters of the Confederate flag who feel that the media is misrepresenting their flag. Despite pictures of the killer waving the Confederate flag, they still believe that the flag should be left out of it.
First of all, I feel that we are stepping in dangerous territory with this flag. You may not care about the flag–I sure don’t–, but like it or not, you still have people who are find this flag as sacred as the American flag itself, if not more. Therefore, we don’t have to respect them, but we have to respect the fact that they will not sit by and allow people to disrespect their flag.
Secondly, considering its technically a treason flag, I don’t agree that it should be flown on the state capital. Then again, there are many signs and symbols of our racist past that is scattered throughout the American landscape. If I push for this flag to be removed, I might as well push for the removal of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson’s face from Mt. Rushmore, since they were former slave owners. The White House was built by slaves; should we knock it down and build a new one?
Almost everything about this country began with racism. Therefore, we are bound to find plenty of racial contradictions all throughout this great land of ours with the AMERICAN FLAG being the biggest one of them all. Therefore, if we go after the Confederate flag, we might as well go after the stars and stripes. Most of America’s dirt was done under this flag anyway. Before the Civil rights movement the Ku Klux Klan’s real flag of choice was the American flag. The Texas revolution was basically about keeping slavery intact, but I don’t see people going after the Texas flag.
Thirdly, you can take the swastika away from the person, but you can’t take the Nazi out of the person. In other words, removing one flag is not going to change the minds and hearts of people who were taught from an early age to hate us. Hate is in the hearts and minds of the individual not in the flag that they fly. There are just a many bigots, if not more, who fly the American flag on their front lawn. In my opinion, the majority of racist don’t give a flying fuck about Confederate flag. Does that make them any less racist?
My next point is that not all supporters of the Confederate flag are racist. I know its hard to believe, but many people hold this flag sacred for various reasons. All of it don’t have to do with slavery. To some people, the Confederate flag represents their culture. Their way of life may not have been that great to Blacks, but its the only culture that these White folks know. Like American history, I’m pretty sure that these rednecks are aware of their tainted history, but don’t expect them to throw it all away just because it inconvenienced Afro-Americans.
Furthermore, we have a CHOICE whether we want to be involved with these rednecks or not. Most of us choose not to associate with them or their flag for obvious reasons. However, there are some of us who wave the flag loud and proud, join them in commemorating the Confederacy and even go as far as reenacting the Civil War with them. Plus, there have been plenty of rappers wearing the confederate battle flag in their videos and even put them on their CD covers. Nevertheless, its their choice to make.
Lastly, the Confederate flag represents millions of Americans from all backgrounds. In the mist of its influence are some of the most radical right-wing nutcases America has to offer. These groups are armed to the teeth and are not afraid to use violence to make their point. The recent church burnings across the Deep South are most likely racially motivated and if that’s the case, I believe that they are connected to these Al Qaeda-type rednecks. My point is that messing with is flag can place us in very dangerous territory as there are number of people who will die for this flag. I believe that if we weren’t so concern about their flag, these church burnings would have never happened. Dylan Roof is just one person. This flag represents an entire culture. My advice is not to mess with something that other people find sacred unless you are prepared to fight. And these people have no problem fighting us.
Then again, a part of me can respect the fact that these crazies will go through any means necessary to protect their culture. This is something that our people should strive to do rather than continuing to rely on politicians and the mainstream media who have no real interest in fixing our problems. Nine people were murder inside of one of the oldest Afro-American churches in America and they focus all of their attention on is a freaking flag. Then when these crazy right-wing (and some left-wing) nutbags come out of the woodwork to defend their flag, Afro-Americans are the ones who literally get burnt in the end. Now they have a story and we are left with the ashes.
Like I said before, the flag needs to go down, but it’s not going to stop the next Dylan Roof from emerging. We should make sure that he receives the punishment (preferably the death sentence) that he deserves. In the meantime, we need to find out who is really behind all of these church burnings and send those people a little message of our own. Running to the system every time we are confronted with racism or violence isn’t going to stop it. Neither will taking this flag down. The only way we are going prevent violent acts of racism is when we start protecting ourselves and confronting our enemies face-to-face. This requires us to get our shit in order and stop being so afraid to use necessary violence. It may get ugly, but its well worth it in the end. This is real justice. Not that we-shall-overcome bullshit.
Sorry Dr. King