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Removal of the Confederate Flag: Praise to Soon?


I can’t help but feel hopeful since South Carolina has decided to remove the Confederate flag from its public building. The removal of the Confederate flag from public showing says that the South Carolina government acknowledges the hate and racism that the flag symbolizes. On an even deeper level it says that whites are becoming more aware of the subtle forces of racism that have been complained about by blacks for years. Despite the progress of the moment, history reveals that joy may become motivation to return to a state of blindness toward ethnic oppression of non-whites in America.

Have you ever heard of the Civil War? The Civil War was the great battle over slavery that led to the split of the Union. This war led to many casualties and ended with the victorious Northern states of America abolishing slavery. As part of the program to end slavery then president Abraham Lincoln began what is known as the Reconstruction Era. During this time black people were allowed to hold political office in the South and make all sorts of progress, unimpeded by racist whites who were held in check by the armies of the North. The results was a rise in the economic and political status of blacks in the South on a lever never seen before and scarcely seen since.

Full of resentment, angry whites bit their tongues waiting for their chance to reestablish their white supremacist empires in the South. They simply refused to be considered equal to the former slaves. The removal of the Union troops from the South would afford southern whites the opportunity to continue their oppression of blacks. Lynch mobs were formed and whites began actively hunting and murdering blacks, removing blacks from office and even preventing them from voting. The rise of the Ku Klux Klan and the imposition of Jim Crow laws resulted from this backlash of white resentment toward black progress.

In our modern era we see continued attempts of African-Americans to rise above police brutality and be acknowledged as a group of people worthy of respect and honor. The two-term presidency of Barack Obama and the constant elevation of black millionaires are symbols of progress among blacks. Just as during the Reconstruction Era, hostile whites are angered at African-American progress. The young white man who murdered nine black people at Emanuel AME church in South Carolina made it absolutely clear that white resentment lay hidden in the trenches of the subconscious of some whites.

With blacks and latinos comprising the majority of a broken and overcrowded criminal justice system it would be wise to question if we are witnessing an outright attempt to keep non-whites beneath the status of whites. We must add to that the outright slaughter of blacks on a weekly basis. Murders that have caused many to question if blacks are under attack by police and law enforcement in cities across America. The enormity of these issues in America have long wreaked havoc on black progress, yet blacks continue to strive.

Now with the removal of the Confederate flag from public display, blacks look to take another step toward true liberty and justice.

Will America fall victim to the same slow thought that killed Lincoln, the Reconstruction Era and led to the white supremacy of the Jim Crow era?

Will Americans allow every progressive step by blacks to be countered by disabling steps by resentful white Americans?

What will it take for America to admit that racism is not some blind force moving throughout this country?

Racism is the result of the conscious perpetuation of white supremacy by any means available. The only way to ever truly create a country where ALL are treated as equal is to actively seek and identify all symbols, institutional support systems and thought influences that suggest one group of humans is entitled to more life than another and destroy them.

Any celebration of the removal of the Confederate flag from public display should include further thought and action to eliminate racism as whole, not just its symbols.



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