Saturday, June 27, 2015

0 "... Our Flag Was Still There..."

By: Marvin DeBose

Picture: Twitter @FergusonAction 

Activist Bree Newsome takes down the Confederate Flag from outside of the Statehouse in Columbia, Sc.

So when are people going to decide to stop lying to defend the Confederate flag?

Over the past week, amidst the controversy surrounding that flag, what I've realized is that there are mainly three types of people who defend the Confederate flag:

1. The person who doesn't know history...

I know many of these people who have either grown up seeing this flag at grandma's house, or they simply think its just cute flag that represents country/rural pride. They might not mean anything by it. But the issue is that they are oblivious (sometimes, willfully oblivious) to history as well as what that flag symbolizes (I'll elaborate on that in little bit)... But they aren't off the hook either, because ignorant can't always be an excuse.

It's one thing to be ignorant, but its another to be ignorant on purpose, and willful ignorance to injustice is the worst form of cowardice.

2. The person who knows the history behind it and doesn't care.

They'll say: "Get over it, its 2015... People are too obsessed with the past."

Well, seeing how this flag was created in the early 1860s, as a flag for the Confederacy, which lost the war, the fact that people are still passionately defending it shows that the past still matters to a lot of us.

Do people realize how insensitive is it to tell people that they are "obsessed with the past" when people are proudly waving a flag that was used a symbol of terrorism against them for the past 150 years?

This is a part of the problem

They'll say: "People who are angry about this don't know history... Not everything is about race!"

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that they do know their history, that's kind of what this whole controversy is about. If I didn't know history, I'd just think the Confederate flag is just cool-looking flag with an X on it. Obviously, thats not the case.

And anyone who says that the Confederate flag has nothing to do with race clearly fell asleep through 4th grade Social Studies.

Of course, its about race, and racism. This country was built on the concept of race. As I once heard, "Racism isn't a chapter in America's history it's in the whole book." Learn your history.

3. The person playing who is clearly playing dumb about what that flag means.

They'll say: "It's about Southern Pride"

Well when we say "Southern" what "South" are we talking about here?

Are we talking about South Philly? The South Bronx? South Beach?

...Oh, we're talking about the good ol' US South. The Deep South, Dixie. The South which was (and in some ways, still is) home to slavery, segregation, the KKK and many other forms of interpersonal and institutional racism.

... And that's not new information for any of us.

But, what exactly is this "Southern Pride" that this flag represents? Whose "Southern pride" are we talking about? Are we talking about Black people's Southern pride?

I wouldn't think so, seeing how when the flag was created slavery was still legal... and many of the people who waved that flag at the time fought to defend slavery.

And if that flag is all about Southern pride, how come I've seen so many of them in so many Northern States? I've lived in Pennsylvania my whole life, and I've been to the South many of times. Surprisingly enough, the first time I saw a Confederate flag was in northwestern PA hanging from someone's pickup truck in a small town.

Now, I'm no geographer, but I'm pretty sure Pennsylvania isn't considered the "South", so why are we so hung up on this "Southern" pride?

A friend of mine described it that the flag as represents "Ancestral pride".

"Ancestral", huh?

Well "Ancestral" means "ancestors", and if we're talking about "ancestors" in the context of the Confederate Flag... You get where I'm going with this?

Even William T. Thompson, the designer of the modern-day Confederate flag noted what it stood for:

"As a people we are fighting maintain the Heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race; a white flag would thus be emblematical of our cause."William T. Thompson (April 23, 1863), Daily Morning News

So let's be honest with ourselves about what this flag means.

... And don't be fooled when you see those Black people that Fox News finds (or hires) with their Confederate flag hats, t-shirts, bumper stickers and lunchboxes.

Black people too, can sometimes be ignorant of the racist history which that flag symbolizes and are strategically used as media mascots, shown to mask to the true history behind the flag.

Do you know why the Confederate flag is still a part of our culture? It's because the concept of white supremacy is still a part of American culture.

Of course the flag coming down doesn't mean that "racism is over", nor does it mean that the mentality that it was created to represent is gone.

But it's damn sure a step in the right direction.


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