Although I have a social media account I prefer to blog regarding such issues as what occurred in Charleston, SC earlier this week.
In the past months a number of significant church leaders from various denominations have come together to discuss the matter of race in America. This stigma on our society is like a cancer that seemingly will not go away. In the sixties and seventies various levels of legislation were passed to force desegregation; however, no laws on the books can change the hearts of men.
In the midst of the mourning and so-called unity in SC the Confederate Battle flag yet flies high and proud. This is the flag of the rebels, the traitors, the states that stood their ground to ensure slavery as an institution would thrive and survive. Many whites will say this is their heritage; however, such a past is more than a nightmare for anyone that was non-white.
You can blame the Dixiecrats for the racist implications of the Confederate flag. The Dixiecrats were a party made up of anti-integration college students who co-opted the flag as their standard. These were the democrats of the south, yes, the democratic party. The image of Dixiecrats fighting the National Guard while waving Confederate flags became branded into the national psyche in the 50’s and 60’s. And so, the flag became tied to racism. I remember seeing the flag everyday as I participated in the integration of schools in Macon, GA in 1965.
Today, this flag is handed out at rock concerts and is just as likely to be found in rural New York as sweet home Alabama. It’s no longer just a symbol of the South; it’s become part of the good old boy culture of guns, trucks, and country music. As a black man I see this as a symbol of hate and tyranny. While the Confederate flag may not be intrinsically racist, it represents the entirety of southern history, much of which was racist. There is a connection to racism and the confederate flag.
As people of color we must also look at eliminating use of the ‘N” word. I painfully recall hearing this term every day at Willingham High school. Unfortunately, many of our youth have embraced this term as a rite of passage in the world of rap and hip hop music. People are taught to hate. In the 60’s I would watch little black and white kids play together until an adult came on the scene and would quickly separate them. Changing America and our world is not the responsibility of governments and laws.
As the thoughts of this American tragedy remain in our psyche let us not be so insensitive to move on until the next act of violence causes us to only pause briefly from our daily routine. It starts with addressing this at home first. As President Reagan stood before the Berlin wall and cried out “tear this wall down,” we must in tell South Carolina and other states to take this flag down!
This is the Voice of the Overseer