The Confederate Flag Represents a Heritage of Racism!
Last Wednesday around 9 p.m., Dylan Roof, a 21-year-old white supremacist, entered the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. According to police, during a weekly Bible study meeting, he opened fire killing nine people. Mr. Roof’s racism and hatred toward blacks was demonstrated in his website, which was discovered Saturday. The website appears to offer the first serious look at his deep and twisted mind. A mind of lots of Americans who still think Civil War is not over and still raging on. “I hate the sight of the American flag,” he wrote. “Modern American patriotism is an absolute joke.” He enlightened us in this way as he posted a picture of himself burning, stomping and spitting on the Stars and Stripes while grasping and waving the Confederate battle flag and holding a gun.
This heartbreaking tragedy opened up a serious debate in America over the Confederate flag, raising questions about the true meaning of this subversive symbol, which haunt us until today.
Is it a symbol of racism and slavery or a symbol of patriotism and heritage as some conservative still like to think. On his talk show, conservative firebrand Bill O’Reilly argued that, to some, the confederate flag is a symbol of bravery during the Civil war “because the confederates fought hard.” Of course, so had Nazi Germans fought hard, and, to some, they were considered brave. The history of the confederate flag is fraught with controversies and myths, which is mixing politics and culture in a maze of the hallowed chamber. In The Week magazine, Marc Ambinder wrote, “… there is no revolutionary cause associated with the flag, other than the right for Southern states to determine how best to subjugate black people and to perpetuate slavery.”
After the Civil War, the flag was used at first to commemorate the sons of the South who died during the war. However, Mr. Ambinder of The Week explained that never did it “…represent some amorphous concept of Southern heritage, or Southern pride, or a legacy that somehow includes everything good anyone ever did south of the Mason-Dixon line, slavery excluded.”
After thousands of lynchings in the South, past Jim Crow and Plessy v. Ferguson, past the state-sanctioned economic and political subjugation of black people, and beyond the New Deal that all too often gave privileges to the white working class to the specific exclusion of black people, you cannot claim the flag represents heritage. It has always been a war to keep the South out of the Union, Southerners waging war against the federal army, against an American union. In the rhetoric of today, those who stand against the government are considered traitors, foreign combatants, and terrorists who want their own flag and their own state–the white supremacy state and its confederate flag– similar to ISIS. Chuck Netzhammer asked Walmart to make a cake with a Confederate flag on it bearing the saying, “Heritage Not Hate”, but was refused. So he went back to the store at some point later and had a cake made with the black battle flag of the Islamic militant group. Walmart had to apology to America for this breaching of judgment, and promise never again they will sell ISIS flag or embroiled on a cake even as a facetious joke. The question that pegs us now is; should people spend their days mourning relatives they never knew from a war that ended 150 years ago? Should that feeling become paramount to the sense of brotherhood they might feel toward fellow humans who are alive? The flag’s presence and endorsement by some Southern state governments is the personification of the evil of white supremacy. Never did the flag represent some amorphous concept of Southern heritage, or Southern pride, or a legacy that somehow includes everything good anyone ever did south of the Mason-Dixon line, slavery excluded. For those who ask black America to get over it, slavery is a something in the past, here is one simple history lesson; blacks were enslaved for 265 years, segregated for 99 years, and freed just 50 years ago. Now who should really get over it?
Have you hugged you flag today!!
Ahmed Tharwat/ Host and Producer of Arab American TV show BelAhdan
His articles published in National and International Publications
He Blogs at “Notes From America” www.ahmediaTv.com
You can follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/ahmdaitv