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 like “For 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… 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.