Hate, Not Heritage

swastika:confederate

Scrolling up and down my Facebook timeline has become a taxing endeavor. Honestly, its social media in general. The race debate has reached a fever pitch in the wake of the massacre in Charleston (R.I.P to the 9 innocent victims and prayers for their families and the community). Currently, the turmoil on my Facebook TL is based around the confederate flag (monuments, street names, school names, etc.) coming down. My first question is, what in the hell is the debate about? Followed closely by, what the hell took so long.
I am from the south. About as far south as you can get and still call it America. All of my life I’ve ridden up and down Louisiana rode and seen the Confederate flag blowing in the breeze. I don’t remember a time that I didn’t know EXACTLY what it stood for. A lot of black people link the flag with feelings of fear. I don’t. I don’t fear that flag, anymore than I fear the racist that’s flying it. On the contrary, I love that they fly it. It gives me a clear indicator of who to steer clear of. No questions asked. That flag is a CLEAR symbol. It’s a symbol of everything wrong with this country. It’s a symbol of treason. It’s a symbol of hate and it’s a symbol of racism. What it is most definitely not, is a symbol of the south, not MY south.
The flag was brought back to prominence for the EXPRESS purpose of hate and racism. Some southerners, today, will try to sell the bs that the flag has “always” been here. False. I guess you’re the one in need of a history lesson. Following the Civil War the flag mostly disappeared. Even Robert E. Lee requested that the flag not be flown or displayed at his funeral. He was not buried in his confederate uniform, nor were the mourners (former confederate soldiers) allowed to wear theirs. Any clue why? Because the confederacy lost the damn war! The flag was not flown or heard from for years. It did not truly resurface until the 1950’s. As the civil rights movement gained momentum this “heritage” symbol (rolls eyes) suddenly staged a comeback. How could ANYONE be clueless enough to think that it has nothing to do with race? Since its reemergence, the flag has been adopted by radical racist groups all over the country. The KKK proudly waves, wears, and basically worships the flag. I’m sure all that has to do with is southern pride and heritage.
Symbols of hate are just that. It doesn’t matter that one group would like to reimagine the symbol. It is what it is. The swastika had a long history before WWII. It was and is a sacred symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The word itself is Sanskrit for “good fortune” or “well being.” However, the majority of the western world either doesn’t know or doesn’t care. Since the Nazi’s used the symbol and it was connected to their atrocities it has represented only one thing to us. No one sees a swastika flag and wonders what whoever is flying it trying to convey. It’s automatic. The Holocaust lasted for a little over 12 years. Slavery in America lasted for well over 200 years. Why is it that a symbol of hate is more considered more disgusting than the other? Why is one group of people’s pain and anger validated while another’s is dismissed? It is because slavery was an American atrocity. Or is it because at the end of the day, Jewish people are still white? Don’t misunderstand me. The Holocaust was an unspeakable horrific event. The actions of the Nazis should be condemned and the victims should be honored and remembered. But should the same reverence not be paid to the slaves?
I wonder if there are places in Germany that hold the Nazis in as high regard as the Confederates are held. I wonder if there is a place that claims the hatemongers to be great symbols of pride, worthy of the dedication of countless statues and memorials. More than anything, I wonder what Americans would think of such a place.
Today, Gov. Nikki Haley, of South Carolina, signed a bill into law that will remove the confederate flag from its place of honor at the South Carolina state house. This will do nothing to bring back the Charleston 9. It will do nothing to simmer the hate that remains alive and well in the hearts of more Americans than many care to admit. It will however, allow blacks in South Carolina the comfort in the knowledge that for the first time since 1962, when the flag was first raised over THEIR state house, their state, their home, just might have their back. Progress, no matter how small, is always and infinitely better than stagnation and apathy.

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