Why Taking Down the Confederate Flag is Not Enough

Sally Kohn has a column on CNN.com that points out something really important, that while taking down the Confederate flag from state capitols and other public property is a good thing, it isn’t nearly enough. The racism that it represents goes far deeper, both in terms of institutional biases and our own cognitive biases.

While the Confederate flag is a powerful and problematic symbol, one that should completely be dismantled, taking down the flag is just the first step. What we must do is take down racism…

It’s easy to take down a flag. But dismantling the shameful system of racial bias is far more difficult.

Today, black Americans fare worse than white Americans by many measures.

Researcher Kathleen Geier notes, “Blacks are nearly three times as likely to be poor as whites and more than twice as likely to be unemployed. Compared to whites with the same qualifications, blacks remain less likely to be hired and more likely to earn lower wages, to be charged higher prices for consumer goods, to be excluded from housing in white neighborhoods and to be denied mortgages or steered into the subprime mortgage market.

And as we’ve witnessed time after time, black Americans are disproportionately likely to be ensnared by — and killed by — the criminal “justice” system. There is evidence of structural bias in almost every facet of our society. To blame any of these statistics on individual black people’s behavior, or the “culture” of the black community, only reinforces racism by blaming oppressed communities for their own suffering…

Racial equality won’t come just from white people condemning the actions of overt racists like Dylann Roof or calling for the removal of the Confederate flag. Nothing will change if we turn a blind eye to the more subtle and pervasive systems of bias that perpetuate such inequality.

Whether it’s our educational system, our banking policies, our hiring practices, our social behaviors, our health care system or our criminal justice system, racism and bias permeate through our structures. But we can’t take these structures down until we see them.

Take down the damn flag. And then take down the systems of bias that helped create it.

Hear, hear. Taking down the Confederate flag is great, but it won’t change the fact that blacks and whites use and sell drugs at the same rate but blacks are many times more likely to be arrested, charged and jailed for it. The result is the breakup of families, with all the attendant bad results for children, and lives being destroyed. It won’t change the fact that white people inherently find black people more threatening and more frightening, with all of the bias that results from that.

We have a lot of work to do to fix both systemic and implicit racism. And here’s the thing, folks: Only white people can do this. We’re the ones who built this system and we’re the ones who have to tear it down. We’re the ones who have to work to overcome our cognitive biases — and that does take work. It requires listening and learning from the experiences of racial minorities, to really hear them and understand what they go through. And then it requires doing what it takes to make sure it doesn’t continue in the future.

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  • theDukedog7 .

    Blacks really get a raw deal, for sure. But the system that persecutes blacks–in Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, New Orleans, East St Louis, Newark, etc is invariably run by Democrats just like… yourselves. It’s not Republican mayors and judges and cops and jurors in Baltimore who are persecuting black folk.

    How about this, you Democrat assholes: clean up the municipalities you already govern (ya know, the hellholes), and then lecture the rest of us on good government and civil rights.

    Why would I listen to a lecture from the folks who run Baltimore about civil rights?

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    We have a lot of work to do to fix both systemic and implicit racism. And here’s the thing, folks: Only white people can do this.

    Oh, sure, those people complain and protest and riot and loot about the so-called “problems” they think still exist, but when it comes time to step up and fix things suddenly they disappear and expect the rest of us to do it!

     

    #imnotaracistbut

  • dingojack

    Ah Lil Dookie — our resident Know-Nothing…

    Dingo

  • dingojack

    Oh I beg your pardon – self-loathing Know-Nothing. Getting the ‘majic wordz’ absolutely right, is just soooo important for types like him.

    @@ Dingo

  • colnago80

    Hear, hear. Taking down the Confederate flag is great, but it won’t change the fact that blacks and whites use and sell drugs at the same rate but blacks are many times more likely to be arrested, charged and jailed for it.

    Oh, but they don’t necessarily use the same drugs. Whites use cocaine while blacks use crack. The penalties for crack use are much more severe then the penalties for cocaine use.

  • Chris J

    @colnago80:

    Funny coincidence, isn’t it.

    @Dukedog:

    Why should we listen to a guy who denies well-known and well-documented political history lecture us about the failures of modern political parties?

    Here’s a fun fact, though, and I’ll give this to you for free. Democrats can be racist too. Shocking, I know, for someone likely living with an all-or-nothing morality.

    The only reason the flag issue is partisan is because just one party in modern times tends to cling to it. And no matter how much you deny history, you can’t deny that that party today is the Republican party.

  • theDukedog7 .

    @CHris J:

    The anaology between the Confederate flag and the Democrat party is pretty close.

    Both the flag and the party have a very ugly past, and partisans of the flag/party insist they’ve changed, and that the flag/party now represents good things.

    I just can’t figure out how Democrats can deny the salience of the Democrat history of vile racism while insisting on the salience of the Confederate history of vile racism.

    The Confederate flag is a Democrat flag. Hundreds of thousands of Republicans died fighting against it.

  • theDukedog7 .

    And I note that Dylann Roof’s manifesto is basically identical to the Democrat party platform from 1820 to 1964.

    How can you people be members of that stinking organization?

  • JustaTech

    The impacts of racism extend beyond the justice system and economic injustice. Being a member of a minority that is subject to racism actually damages your health. Public health professionals who study health disparities have shown that as you move up the socio-economic ladder your health improves, but being a member of a minority pushes your health down, so that a upper-middle class African-American has the same general health as a middle-class white person.

    And it’s not an access issue, or a genetic issue. It’s (currently believed to be) the impact of the constant, small-to-large stress of racism.

  • JustaTech

    I’m going to regret doing this…

    theDukedog7: I offer, as evidence against your position that the beliefs, structures and policies of the Republican and Democratic parties have not changed since 1820, Teddy Roosevelt and FDR. Similar policies, belief structures and ideals, two different parties.

    No one is saying that both parties haven’t had blatantly racist stances. But to say that only one has done this, and that absolutely nothing changed between 1820 and 1964 is pretty much as ignorant as saying that veins and arteries are the same. (i’m using a medical analogy so you can understand it.)

  • colnago80

    Re Chris J @ #6

    In addition to which he is a two fisted science denier, denying climate change, evolution and DDT at least. It would not surprise me if he also denied HIV/AIDS and vaccine efficacy.

  • colnago80

    Re JustaTech @ #10

    Egnorance is a surgeon and quite possibly doesn’t know much about medicine.

  • busterggi

    Re: Dogshit7 above – then you should have no problem with Democrats demanding legislation to remove & ban Confederate flags, after all, Republicans all hate them, right?

  • dingojack

    Did I miss the ‘New Deal’ part of Numbnutz’s manifesto?

    Dingo

  • theDukedog7 .

    @13:

    Remove the Confederate flag everywhere. I hate it.

    Remove the Democrat party too.

    @10:

    “No one is saying that both parties haven’t had blatantly racist stances”

    Bullshit. Republicans have not been a racist party, ever. Democrats have been a deeply racist party, and still are.

    You tactic is typical liberal b.s. When the evidence against your point is overwhelming (as it usually is), you resort to the “both sides are evil” argument.

    The fact is that your history (as a party) is deeply racist, and mine is not.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Republicans have not been a racist party, ever.

    That sentence clearly shows how disconnected Dukedog is from reality. Look up “Southern strategy” some day, moron. If those words aren’t too big for you, that is…

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    …clean up the municipalities you already govern (ya know, the hellholes)…

    Have you ever even been to a municipality? Or are you just relying on the obsolete stereotypes that drive white flight?

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Why would I listen to a lecture from the folks who run Baltimore about civil rights?

    Because the folks who run Baltimore at least have some first-hand knowledge of what’s actually happening in Baltimore. That’s clearly more than clueless crackers like you can say.

  • theDukedog7 .

    @16:

    The Southern Strategy is a myth.

    Nixon desegregated Southern schools (which the Democrat racists had refused to do for 16 years after Brown), started Affirmative Action, and markedly increased civil rights enforcement in the federal government

    http://www.lexisnexis.com/documents/academic/upa_cis/1352_CivilRightsNixonPt1.pdf.

    Some “Southern Strategy”, eh asshole?

  • dingojack

    Here ya go Lil Dookie – in nice simple words even you might understand!

    Dingo

  • dingojack

    Lee Atwater‘s take on the issue (1981, when Ray-gun was trading on it).

    Dingo

  • JustaTech

    theDukedog7 @1:

    Could you please provide some important background on the history of Baltimore with respect to the Civil War?

    ie: What was the State of Maryland’s position on slavery prior to the Civil War?

    What side did Maryland take during the Civil War? How was the city of Baltimore relevant to Maryland’s choice of sides?

    And finally, how do you think these things might have and continue to impact race relations in Baltimore to this day?

  • flex

    @theDukedog7,

    You know, a link which is basically an index to microfilm of Nixon’s files, specifically those linked to civil rights is hardly evidence of Nixon’s outstanding commitment to civil rights.

    Escpecially as it containes this gem:

    As evidence they pointed to Nixon’s law-and-order campaign in 1968, which featured a “southern strategy” of attacks on school busing for racial balance; his early nomination of two conservative southern jurists, Clement Haynsworth and G. Harrold Carswell, to the U.S. Supreme Court; and his use of Vice-President Spiro Agnew to court blue-collar, ethnic Democrats by attacking urban rioters, welfare cheats, campus radicals, and draft-dodgers. In 1972 Nixon asked Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to ban school busing for racial balance, and he successfully opposed giving “cease-and-desist” enforcement power to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Feminists attacked the Nixon White House in 1970 for attempting to suppress the strong report of his own Task Force on Women’s Rights and Responsibilities of 1969, and for refusing to support the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) until the spring of 1972, when its overwhelming passage by Congress was certain.

    .

    Hardly unwavering support.

    Certainly the document goes on to mention the good things which happened in the realm of civil rights under Nixon’s White House, but I’m willing to concede that Nixon was a complex person. I would suggest that Nixon wasn’t as much concerned about civil rights as much as getting votes.

    In other words, the evidence you have submitted does not accurately reflect your claim.

  • zenlike

    theDukedog7 . says

    Bullshit. Republicans have not been a racist party, ever.

    Yep, you are totally someone with a firm grasp on reality. All those republicans who spout racist rhetoric on Fox are probably No True Republicans.

  • theDukedog7 .

    @flex:

    You support school busing? I didn’t think even liberal assholes supported that anymore.

    Nixon was right to oppose it. Most blacks opposed it too. Another divisive idiot liberal program that made everything worse–busing was a major factor in white flight from cities.

    You stupid fucks.

  • theDukedog7 .

    @22:

    Being governed by Democrats for the past half-century has been more devastating to Baltimore than the Civil War.

    Democrat inner cities tend to look like they’ve been nuked.

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2349112/posts

  • theDukedog7 .

    @20 Dingo Jerk:

    Barry Goldwater was a founder of the Arizona NAACP and was a hero of the civil rights movement.

    Nixon (I repeat myself) desegregated southern schools and started Affirmative Action. He was well known for his support for civil rights (he was instrumental in Eisenhower’s civil rights bills in the late 1950’s).

    When Democrat George Wallace ran in 1968 and 1972 (before he was shot), his support came entirely from Democrats.

    The South voted for Jimmy Carter in 1976, and they continued to elect mostly Democrats at local levels and to congress and the senate until 1996.

    Bottom line: when Southerners were racists, they were Democrats. When Southerners ceased to be racists, they ceased to be Democrats.

    You own southern racism, asshole.

  • rory

    Duke@27,

    Let’s say for a second that you’re exactly right. Democrats used to be (and still are, I guess?) super racist. Republicans never were and never will be. So. Fucking. What? Because here’s the thing: Republicans are obviously not making the case for themselves as the party of racial minorities (or sexual minorities, or women, or basically anybody other than wealthy white folks and those who hope someday to be wealthy white folks). So what’s the problem here: is everybody except you just too dumb to understand the obvious moral superiority of the GOP, or are you just utterly full of shit?

  • Al Dente

    Bullshit. Republicans have not been a racist party, ever.

    Ever hear of Trent Lott? He was a Republican senator from Mississippi and Senate Republican Majority or Minority Leader (depending on which party had the majority) from 1996 to 2002. On December 5, 2002 he gave a speech appeared at a dinner celebrating the 100th birthday of Senator Strom Thurmond. Lott said:

    “When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over the years, either”

    This statement was problematic for a number of reasons. Thurmond had run for the Presidency in 1948 on the State’s Rights Ticket. This platform essentially opposed any attempt by the Federal government to enforce civil rights legislation and was unashamedly segregationist. What’s more, Thurmond had made an entire career out of holding racist positions on any number of issues.

    Thurmond was a Senator from 1956 until his death in 2003. From 1956 to 1964 he was a Democrat. In 1964 he became a Republican. Both Thurmond and Lott were racist Republicans.

    So, Egnor, are you either ignorant or stupid? Note these two choices are not mutually exclusive.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Being governed by Democrats for the past half-century has been more devastating to Baltimore than the Civil War.

    That’s because: a) Confederate troops didn’t get to occupy or bomb Baltimore; and b) Baltimore isn’t all that “devastated.” In fact, it’s not that bad a place to live, or work, or party; and most of what ails it also ail most other US cities — namely a GLOBAL economic downturn (which started under Republican rule, and was exacerbated by Republican fiscal and regulatory policies).

    Of course, someone who cites freerepublic-dot-con is not someone who can be expected to understand how cities work.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Nixon (I repeat myself) desegregated southern schools and started Affirmative Action. He was well known for his support for civil rights (he was instrumental in Eisenhower’s civil rights bills in the late 1950’s).

    All of which were signed into law after being written and passed by Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress.

    When Southerners ceased to be racists, they ceased to be Democrats.

    So you’re saying that racism vanished from the South at the same time as the South went Republican?

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    theDukedog7 “When Southerners ceased to be racists…”

    Oh, thank God. Good work, everybody. Shut off the lights on your way out.

  • JustaTech

    theDukedog7 @26: So what you are saying is that you are deeply ignorant about history, and, based on that link, geography. You do know that Baltimore is in Maryland, on the Atlantic coast, and Detroit is in Michigan, on the Great Lakes? They’re on the same continent, so at least you’re that close.

    Why should anyone give any credence to your statements when it is abundantly clear that you know nothing about any of the subjects on which you opine? As they say in Game of Thrones, “You know nothing.”

  • dingojack

    Yes Lil Dookie but we were speaking of the long-serving SENIOR REPUBLICAN PARTY STRATEGIST Lee Atwater on the REPUBLICAN PARTY’s understanding and use of the deeply racist ‘Southern Strategy’ from the 1970’s onward…

    Do try to keep up!

    Dingo

  • StevoR

    We have a lot of work to do to fix both systemic and implicit racism. And here’s the thing, folks: Only white people can do this. We’re the ones who built this system and we’re the ones who have to tear it down. We’re the ones who have to work to overcome our cognitive biases — and that does take work. It requires listening and learning from the experiences of racial minorities, to really hear them and understand what they go through. And then it requires doing what it takes to make sure it doesn’t continue in the future.

    Yes we do.

    Quoted for truth. Agreed and seconded.

    Oh & I know I’m not perfect and have fucked up on this before in the past. I will try to do so no more and to listen those who aren’t as privileged as me more esp. African-Americans more in future. Cannot change the past but can learn from it. and, yes, I mean that.

  • StevoR

    @27. theDukedog7 ” “You own southern racism, asshole.”

    You talkin’ t’ yerself in a mirror again Dogshit?

  • caseloweraz

    Another comment locked in moderation for three URLs. To repeat it without the references:

    Three things:

    * Who was it that spread the rumor of John McCain having an illegitimate black child [1] Hint: it wasn’t a Democrat.

    * Who blamed the single failure of the Bay State’s weekend furlough program on the state’s governor? [2] Not another Democrat.

    * And who, just last year in Nebraska, ran a latter-day ad similar to the Willie Horton campaign against state Senator Brad Ashford? [3]