Last week South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed a bill that would officially remove the Confederate Flag from state grounds all across the state. Various political figures & civil rights activists have rejoiced in it’s removal claiming it to be a “Triumph towards ending racism” Major companies like Wal-Mart, Ebay, Amazon, & Sears have banned all merchandise that references the Confederate flag. Protest were demonstrated against & for the removal of the flag. There was even a young woman who was arrested for removing the actual Confederate flag flying over South Carolina.
Really!? All this fuss over a flag? A Piece of cloth thats over flies over buildings in South Carolina? Nine lives are taken away by 21 year old Dylan Roof who claimed he wanted to start a “Race War” and the immediate reaction was to vote on removing a flag? This is the problem with America today when it comes to issues affecting African people. When bad things happen to Africans in America, mainstream media talks about theoretical palaver relating to race relations, rioting, looting, & now we’re discussing…..flags? If this isn’t a classic case of benign neglect then I don’t know what is. The only connection that an Innocuous flag has to this terrorist attack was the fact that Roof was holding one in numerous pictures of the internet. But the better question is…..how exactly does the removal of a flag change the livelihood of African people in South Carolina & all across America for the greater good?
With all the various acts of senseless violence towards unarmed African people in America from law enforcement & civilians alike (George Zimmerman & Michael Dunn to name a few) for some strange reason the major topics that have risen from these issues have been “Police Brutality” & “The Confederate Flag;” two topics that are not focused on the root of their respective issues. When the LGBT & Human Rights campaign fought for Gay marriage to be legalized, there was no major focus on the acceptance & tolerance of other people, it was focused on an actual Law that would effectively change lives. There may have been side topics discussed that were non-related to the legalization of Gay Marriage. However getting the law passed was always at the forefront. Now compare that to what has been discussed for violence against African people its been demands for police to “Stop Killing Us” instead of discussing Mass Incarceration & the War on Drugs as the major factors for Law enforcement targeting people of color. Instead of talking about Gun Control to limit the accessibility of firearms to citizens; they’re talking about whether a flag is a symbol for “Southern Heritage” or “Racism”
To truly understand how the media & America in general views “Black Issues” as opposed to issues that the dominant society is concerned about, lets juxtapose the aftermath of the Dylan Roof shooting in Charleston South Carolina to the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Both involved a male that ended many lives with use of a fireman. Both individuals had no prior Military or Police experience that would suggest they had a reason to carry. Yet both were able to acquire guns to execute pre-meditated murders that ultimately caused a combined 37 American Citizens to lose their lives. And yet when the Sandy Hook shooting happened there was no discussions of Racism or how a flag was symbolic for it. As a matter of fact, the only topic that was generally discussed outside of the facts of the shooting was in fact Gun Control.
Although the topic of gun control has been come up in regards to the Charleston shooting the immediate reaction to the incident was much more focused on the topic of the Confederate Flag & it’s symbolism to African people in America.
The Confederate Flag without a doubt is directly linked to slavery in the US & the Southern Confederate states were willing to die to maintain it. However lets not place all the blame on the Confederate Flag as if it represents the ONLY time period where racism & oppression was targeted at African people. That would be almost as ridiculous as saying that the 11 Confederate states were the only ones who took advantage of the enslavement of African people. As a matter of fact, there was no Confederate Flag around when Europeans first stepped onto American grounds with African Slaves. There wasn’t even a notion of “Secession” in 1776 when the 13 colonies separated from the British Empire. Slavery was still on & popping during that time; along with the lynchings, rape, & forced breeding that went along with slavery in America. So don’t be misinformed into thinking that the Confederate Flag is the iconic symbol for Systematic Racism/White Supremacy in America because to be frank…..there has been more racist acts done to people of color under the American flag way before the Confederate Flag was created & many years after the South was defeated. So before we applaud the Nation for removing the Confederate flag lets honestly ask ourselves…..whats the difference between one flag & the other?