Confederate Flag

A story in the news today has prompted me to write some thoughts I’ve been churning in my head for a while now.  It’s about confederate flag waving white people terrorizing black people. (see: http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/confederate-flag-backers-indicted-in-clash-with-bl/nnz2Q/)

Somehow historical revisionists and uninformed masses are trying to spin that the confederate flag’s symbolic message is of, as they say “Heritage, not hate.”

But, that I’ve seen or is popularly known, it’s never been used to symbolize or signal “Heritage” in the sense of a people overcoming hardships, making great accomplishments, humanistic harmony, mint juleps, or lazy day fishing.

Yes, this is my opinion.  But it is not an uninformed or baseless opinion.  I support it with historical facts and observable truths.

It was the battle flag of Robert E. Lee, of Arlington, Virginia, during the civil war, where it was representing the fight to preserve the institution of slavery. Plain and simple.  They were not fighting for anybody’s freedom, and especially not for equal rights for blacks or any minorities such as Hispanics or even Jews.

Without a doubt it’s always been used a symbol of conflict, it is a war flag.  But it’s different from the flag of the United States, which was used to symbolized a desire for religious, economic, and sociological freedom, an end to the governance of monarchy and fiefdoms. The flag of the United States represents to most everyone the pronouncement found in the Declaration Of Independence that  “all men are created equal.”

That’s different from what is stated in confederate documents of secession (The Declaration of Causes of Seceding States).  (see: http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/primarysources/declarationofcauses.html )

These documents state things likeFor the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. They have endeavored to weaken our security, to disturb our domestic peace and tranquility, and persistently refused to comply with their express constitutional obligations to us in reference to that property…’  meaning they felt slaves were not human, but property, therefore, it was a property issue.

How about this one: “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery— the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization.”  Also “It refuses the admission of new slave States into the Union, and seeks to extinguish it by confining it within its present limits, denying the power of expansion.” Or, “No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.”

How about “…maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery– the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits— a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time.

Remember, the confederate flag is used by the people who want to fight for separation from the rest of the United States for the sake of the right to enslave other humans – Black people, to treat them as property, for their economic profit, they state so plainly themselves.  It is not for the right to drink mint juleps on the porch while grandad and the kids go fishing!

Many recent events including the one in the news show it is used for intimidation, to terrorize, to express hostility and anger.  By the way, these are generally people who also espouse Jesus and Christianity.  Where is the love?

Well, they lost the war.

But they still value the idea of slavery, the oppression of other humans, the superiority in all ways except the ability to work under the sun, of the white race.

Forget about interracial marriage, it’s anathema to confederate flag supporters.  Living next door in the same community, sacrilege!  Having the same socio economic status, benefits, and joys as them (yeah, the white people), no way!

I called it a battle flag, it is, from Wiki: On November 28, 1861, Confederate soldiers in General Robert E. Lee‘s newly reorganized Army of Northern Virginia received the new battle flags in ceremonies at Centreville and Manassas, Virginia, and carried them throughout the Civil War. Beauregard gave a speech encouraging the soldiers to treat this new flag with honor and that it must never be surrendered…  confederate flag From that point on, the battle flag only grew in its identification with the Confederacy and the South in general.  (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flags_of_the_Confederate_States_of_America )

Furthermore, this flag has been adopted, with blessings from its ancestors, by the Ku Klux Klan, America’s first terrorist organization.  (see: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/122216/confederate-flag-still-flying-today-because-kkk )

There are no supporters of the confederate flag saying to the racists “Hey, don’t use my flag to perpetuate and symbolize your racist and segregationist philosophy!”  Quite the contrary. That’s all it’s used for. 

Even Nazi’s in Germany use the confederate flag to represent their ideology, ideology that wanted to eliminate a race of people, the Jews.

Funny, we decry moderate Muslims not opposing jihadist Muslims the use of the name of Islam in their terroristic acts, but there’s no call for white southerners to decry the use of this flag for terroristic acts.

I’m not a southern white man.  I’m not white.  I’m not even Southern. But I recognize most common danger symbols: Poison, Do Not Swim, Radiation.

I’d be a fool to dismiss supporters of the confederate flag as not dangerous to me. They want to violently support and uphold racism and slavery if they could.

All minorities would be foolish to pretend there’s nothing to be afraid of when you see it. When we see it we should be ready for a fight, because historically it precedes an assault, not an invitation to dinner.  Don’t buy the lie that it’s about “Heritage, not hate,” because it’s been a heritage of hate.

But they can turn that around. 

In a couple of hundred years; if they start now having gatherings where all are welcome to sip on those mint juleps, dance with each other, worship together, feed, clothe, and shelter each other without consideration of race or color, under the aegis of the confederate flag, then maybe it will be a symbol of non hostile Southern Heritage, an encompassing and loving Southern Heritage, that’s how they will eliminate its association with hate and violence.

As of now, to any visibly non white person on earth, it is, and is expected to be, a symbol of racial hate, oppression, and violence.

Incidents like the one in the news today reinforce the ideology of its creators and the apprehension of its historical victims.

But, I consider the ideological supporters of this racism and its symbol a dying breed.

They lost the war, they lost slavery, there’s plenty of interracial marriage, Southern economy and society do just fine without the institution and oppression of slavery.  There’s no reason to fight to get it back.  Just as German society at large feels no need to honor the heritage of Nazism, American society at large need not honor the heritage of the confederacy.

Wider spread education eliminates ignorance about humanity, which contributes to the idea of racial superiority, on which the western concept of slavery was built.  Education will help resolve this problem.  Note that it’s usually the least educated and poor white Southerners that are the most adamant in their support of the confederate flag.

It is inevitable that even the most ignorant of us must evolve to loving harmony at some point or another.

related links:

http://www.forwardprogressives.com/yes-honoring-confederacy-like-honoring-nazi-germany-hate-group/

http://forward.com/opinion/311486/the-double-standards-between-the-confederacy-and-the-nazis/

 

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Role Models!

Children are often asked who their role models are.  In elementary and middle schools many children have to write an essay of who their role model is and most children will say it’s a parent.  I think my son wrote one once about me!

I believe they say that because it’s an  easy answer, and they know it’s an expected answer.  Can’t loose with that one.  I don’t doubt that in some cases it is true.  Parents who heroically provide for their families, and the children who see the struggle and accomplishments will hold on to that for inspiration.  Parents who are accomplished and obviously have a higher quality of life than others around them have,and values that tend to live on in their children.

But for average households, or for unaccomplished households it’s honestly not the case.  It’s a false equivalency to link admiration and love, as often happens.  Like it’s obligatory to have your parent as a role model or else it means you don’t love them.  Often children admire a friends parent’s more than their own, due to the other’s character, lifestyle, or accomplishments.  That doesn’t mean  they love their parents less, it just means that the ladder they need to climb for personal development is elsewhere.  Off the top Robert Ryosaki comes to mind.

I can’t think of another way to say this but I’ve come from communities where “white people” things were often envied and derided at the same time.  I still see that today  in a lot of those same communities.  That perspective puts up a box around the child to insure that he will maintain a particular culture; foods they eat, music they listen to, etc.  That box which maintains and perpetuates a particular culture comes with unnecessary baggage and a lock.  Fear.  Fear of the different, fear of success. Fear of failure.  Fear of admiring a different role model.

James Bond was my role model.

As a young child I saw a James Bond movie.  He was fearless, heroic, educated, skilled, and worldly.  I was living in Puerto Rico at the time and was 8 or 9 years old.  In James Bond I saw what I wanted to be, to  aspire to.  It was not the being a Secret Agent part.  It was everything else I saw.  He was smooth, poised, spoke well, was charming, loved by women, respected by men, spoke other languages, was comfortable in other cultures and countries, could fly a plane, knew fine art and science, could do karate, dressed sharply.

I knew that didn’t come easily.  I knew that to be that way you had to learn, study, practice.  You had to, in what NLP today calls “modeling” start with the example before you, and build on it.  My karma was not to be afraid of stepping outside the box.  I pursued the sophistication that lay outside my box.

But those things didn’t exist in my community.  My community was largely unsophisticated.  Good hearted, hard working people that didn’t  know fine art, didn’t speak other languages, had no interest in martial arts, many didn’t even drive, and were very content in their box.  In a young child like myself at the time, those aspirations were considered quaint.  In an older child they are considered a distraction, or worse yet, a rejection of your culture, your box, your community.  That often brings alienation.

I’m sad to say the paradigm of the cultural box is alive and well in a lot of the same communities.  And more young people than not are buying into it.  Sometimes celebrating sometimes resenting their narrow constraints, and deriding the greater life around them, which they would enjoy having as well.  It just seems that they would like for it to come into their box rather than go out for it.

They don’t want to learn language and communication skills. They “ax” a question and “conversate.”  Heaven forbid learning Cantonese or French.  Music, only “reggeaton and bachata in our house” classical? folk? No way!  Food, “Ugh. How can those people eat that curry stuff?”  Job/career, auto mechanic or grocery clerk.  Spirituality, “all I know is Jesus is God nigga!”  Love, “I can’t date white people, they can’t dance salsa.”  Stray beyond these confines, try to expand your consciousness and experience and, well there’s a nonsensical term I’ve heard applied; you’re a “come mierda” you eat shit.  I know, it doesn’t make sense.

I loved my parents and family.  But they alone could not direct me to living my life to the fullest.  I found a picture of what I considered a greater quality of life outside of our box.  I would wish for the young people in our communities to become more sophisticated, more worldly, to experience more of what life has to offer, without fear of rejection and derision from their communities.  Otherwise the world and life will pass them by, and they will continue to envy and mock what they envy, when all it takes is realizing that the box doesn’t exist, it’s self created and can be self erased.

James Bond was my role model.

Even they way he introduced himself was distinct. Your name?  “Bond, James Bond!”

No matter where you are, there is a role model expressing a greater quality of life available to you.  It’s not for everybody.  But if it is for you, don’t be afraid of your community, your box.  Be brave, go beyond where those around are.  You will not be alone.  You won’t be the first on the journey, and you will have one less regret in life; you won’t regret not having stepped out of the box.