Our National Symbol: Why South Carolina Should Fly the Confederate Flag

Our National Symbol: Why South Carolina Should Fly the Confederate Flag June 19, 2015

(Image via Cene Bawker.CC)
(Image via Cene Bawker.CC)

The Confederate flag flies high in South Carolina this Juneteeth. It’s seen as disrespectful to some, insulting to most, and a symbol of racism and white supremacy for anyone cares to see it for what it is. But its also part of our national tapestry.

There’s a call to take it down in the wake of the Charleston Massacre of nine people, because of Dylann Storm Roof’s hatred. These human beings were just a bunch of niggers to him. I’m going to use that word, because it’s necessary. It’s right for this conversation, and I need you to understand it.

Niggers, the concept, like the flag, should’ve gone away a long time ago. But I can’t romanticize that flag like many people of color have chosen to romanticize that word.  There is no endearing quality for me. The stainless banner, the battle flag, or the rebel flag (ooooh, that sounds so cool), whatever you call it, is a symbol of uncompromising white power.

Lets be honest. That’s why it has been chosen by so many supremist groups as their symbol.

Sure, there are many people that will spin it as s part of our culture and our history. They’re right.  So is racism.

Let’s stop hiding it. Don’t take it down, but be honest why it’s still there. Confront the fact that most supporters don’t want that power to go away. They don’t want the flag, nor what it stands for, to go away. The flag still flies because they want those niggers to go away. In South Carolina, Dylann Roof singlehandedly eradicated nine lives because of the color of his skin – and that flag still flies.

Taking that flag down now allows us to hide from sight what is apparent. It helps us shove aside our very racially divided heritage. If we take it down now,  it lets us veil ourselves further from the truth: America, my beautifully complex America, land of immigrants and endless opportunity for some — you’re racist.

The Union won the war, but the Confederacy still lives. Hiding the flag doesn’t make that go away. Disallowing the flag isn’t about setting aside the ills of the past. No, it’s about refusing to face your dishonesty today. We’ve lied for decades about equality, freedom, and progress. (Racism? Ha, what’s that?) And we’ll lie again about the police brutality and inequity, and our politicians will don Fox News jackets and deny that the slaying of nine innocent church members was racially motivated.

America, you don’t want that flag down because you’re interested in Justice. You want it down because it makes you uncomfortable. And right now, that’s not what you need. Yes, the families in Charleston need comfort, but America, you do not.  It’s the comforting acceptance of “just enough progress” that has allowed us to fall into this false sense of accomplishment. It’s what lets us discount the fight for equality, without dismantling the system that was built to work against it.

That flag symbolizes that. And you don’t get to roll it up, tuck it away, and pretend like it’s not still here. Tada!

(Image via Bill Benzon.CC)
(Image via Bill Benzon.CC)

Fly your flag in pride and embrace all of it, South Carolina. You’ve earned it.  Don’t betray or diminish its meaning, because that would be cowardly. And last I checked my Texas history books, this nation wasn’t founded by cowards (but definitely Moses, he was totally there). So own it.

Side note: the last time I was in the “Home of the Brave”, having an argument about supporting or defending any American flag, my friend from the Seven Nations laughed his ass off.

(Image via Anita Ritenour.CC)
(Image via Anita Ritenour.CC)

Then stopped speaking to me for months.


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