- Politics and Social Issues
Is the Confederate Flag "Racist"?
Once again the Democrat Party is ginning up bogeymen to scare black Americans into thinking that white-robed Klansmen are about to lynch them as they’ve exploited the grief and sorrow of the family and friends of those associated with the victims of the massacre in Charleston, SC in order to affect their political ends.
On June 17, nine members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC were gunned down by Dylann Roof. The grieving had hardly begun before Democrats started cranking out their race-baiting operation to keep the race war alive. If a group of low lifes got together to intentionally trivialize the death of those nine people, they could not have hatched a more galling plot or have trumpeted a more trivial issue than the Confederate Flag issue to belittle the lives lost and the grief of those left behind.
Now that the news cycle has run its course on the Charleston massacre, the awfulness of the event is no longer the focal point of moral outrage. Now, the animus has been redirected at a flag, the so-called “Confederate Flag,” an emblem of mixed symbolism that comes to us from America’s past. That Flag means different things to different people: to some, it is a symbol of southern secession. To others, it is a symbol of the many southern lives lost during the Civil War. To some black Americans it is a symbol of slavery and demoralization; to other black Americans, it is a symbol of southern pride.
The fact is that what the Flag symbolizes is complex and does not allow a single interpretation of its meaning. Even though that's true, some Democrats (mostly white liberals) have decided to focus on one aspect of the Flag's meaning in order to marginalize the south for political purposes. At this moment, the conservative Christian south is a real problem for the Democrat Party. The vendetta against the Flag is just the kind of thing that American progressives use to divert American attention from their shenanigans of keeping the race war alive.
Who is Telling You This?
I do not identify with the Confederate Flag, not in the least. To the best of my knowledge, I have never bought, flown, drawn, or even touched such a flag. I have always identified with the idea of national union and never with the Southern Cause. I do not accept the Southern apology, you will never likely hear me say that Lincoln was a “dictator” and the works of Thomas di Lorenzo are not on my future reading list. I have long been critical of the idea of “state’s rights” (states don’t have rights—they have powers; individuals have rights, many of which are legal claims against state power). In fact, honestly, my visceral response when I see the Confederate Flag waiving somewhere is “ignorance”; it reflects ignorant people who are so unaware that they don’t know how flying that flag makes them look.
So, I have neither a cultural nor an emotional attachment to that Flag, but my feeling about the Flag is only that: just a feeling, a feeling that I probably picked up from our culture. But I can, like I hope you can, separate my feelings from the facts and the facts tell me that a vendetta against southerners (or southern states) that fly that Flag can’t be taken seriously in the face of real racist acts that undermine social harmony.
Some Black Americans Identify with the so-called "Confederate Flag"
A Flag is a Flag is a Flag
Even though I have no attachments to the Confederate Flag, I also believe that trying to attach some animus of “racism” to the Flag with the goal of eradicating it from the public is the ultimate in trivial pursuits. This is just the kind of tactic that Democrat race baiters drag out to make guilt-ridden whites jump through a series of hoops to prove to the world that they're not racists. This is one of the favorite indoor sports of Democrats who aren’t very good at outdoor sports.
That flag is no more a symbol of racism than is Old Glory or a statue of George Washington. That flag, like Old Glory, is a checkered flag. But I don’t mean “checkered” like the one at NASCAR races; I mean it’s checkered with the good and the bad. For while Old Glory does stand for independence, freedom and liberty, it’s also the flag of the Trail of Tears, Dred Scott, Japanese internment, and the Tuskegee Experiments.
But we honor Old Glory anyway because of the good that it stands for and that any flag represents both good and bad because it represents, ultimately us, and our history. And many southerners value the so-called Confederate Flag because of the good that it stands for. Those who say that all that it stands for (or its dominant association) is racism have been listening to white liberals beat the drums of racial animosity. They have heard it said that the Confederate Flag is the flag of southern slave holders and the flag of the Ku Klux Klan. But we simply cannot be held hostage to evil men who use otherwise benign symbols to advance their causes. Consider the words of historian John Coski, author of The Confederate Battle Flag: America's Most Embattled Emblem:
It’s equally true that we should not allow and cannot, historically or ethically, to be fair allow the Ku Klux Klan to define the flag. Some people would have us say “the Klan uses that flag; that’s all that I need to know.” No, it’s not all you need to know. Why should we allow a justifiably marginalized group to define a symbol that means so many different things to so many different people?...It is equally invalid to say that the Klan has defined the flag for all times.
But if your well-meaning liberal friends are intent on joining the witch hunt anyway, if they are going to get on the warpath against racism by the burning of flags, they should know that the head waters of symbolic racism are not in the Confederate Flag; they are in the Stars and Stripes. In fact, there is no end to the imagined symbols of racism that you can pursue once a person gets started. What’s next? Statues of George Washington, James Madison, or Thomas Jefferson? George Mason was a major southern slaveholder. Will we have to rename George Mason University? Will all vestiges of Thomas Jefferson on government property need to be dismantled and hauled off to some museum?
Like attacking the Washington Redskins' mascot, liberal Democrats want black Americans to keep swinging at the blades of windmills, attacking things that don’t matter. Going after the Confederate Flag is a testimony as to just how stupid Democrats think black Americans are: they think they can wave a flag, and yell “racism” and that blacks will cower in fear. That way they can continue the real policies that hurt black Americans such as abortion, and the welfare policies that keep single black mothers chained to the Democrat plantation. Today, black Americans should be wary of efforts to arouse the racial animus within them by lashing out at symbols which have no basis in substance. Today, there are blacks that recognize this. For example, Ben Carson has said, “So often as a society we deal with the symptoms without dealing with the disease and we think we’ve done something...”
I was glad to see that that the victims of the Charleston massacre have kept the voices of hatred at bay. Their response was mostly a response to forgive and they are a model to all of us of forgiveness even in the midst of such sorrow and unfairness.
Of course, the state of South Carolina should not forgive Dylann Roof. They should try him and execute him for the crimes he's committed and the suffering he's caused.
What Do You Think?
Do you think the Confederate Flag should be removed from all government buildings?
© 2015 William R Bowen Jr