There are a lot if issues in this world that are what we call “grey areas.” Conversations that clearly have two legitimate sides. Even though you might feel strongly about one particular side, you feel compelled to admit that the other side has a reasonable point.
The currently-much-in-the-news conversation about the confederate culture that still exists in our southern states is NOT a grey area. A lot of that conversation centers around the confederate battle flag. A couple of things that have slapped me across the face this week:
- The Husband saw a billboard in South Carolina, complete with an illustration of said battle flag, this week that read as follows: Rebels, not racists. WTF???? Sorry, but the whole reason these people are were “rebels” (I would argue that a more apt term would be traitors) was precisely because they are were “racists.”
- I keep hearing elected officials and various personalities from the south being interviewed about the issue of the battle flag as a symbol of hate. Over and over again I hear them trying to reframe this flag as a symbol of “history,” “cultural pride,” or “heritage.” I even heard one person say that the flag means different things to different people. His point was that to “some people” the rebel flag is evil, but that to “many, many people,” it’s a matter of pride and culture. Oh. My. God. Just take a guess who those “some” and “many, many” are, my friends. Lets see…perhaps the “some” are people who feel threatened and fearful and oppressed because of those “many, many” who perpetrated unspeakable violence upon them in the name of their so-called heritage and pride. I mean, it’s pretty damned easy to not be intimidated by racist violence when you’re a white guy. So I say, “Shut the f%$* up, white guys. You deserve no say in this conversation.”
This week we’re watching as southern politicians finally are forced to admit that this symbol of racism must be removed from government buildings. As retailers finally pull these items from their virtual and brick-and-mortar shelves (and my cynical side is afraid this is purely a $$-motivated move). I even read in our paper today that one state legislature will actually be removing a statue of a CONFEDERATE GENERAL / KKK LEADER from one of their government buildings.
Are you F-ing kidding me? Q: How can any sane, mature, educated person have put up with that statue for even one moment, let alone years and years and years?!?!?!?! A: Southern culture must be short on sane, mature, educated persons.
The Deep South to this day exists in its own world. A world it created out of a sickening belief in the inferiority of people who have a different color of skin. A world specifically designed to harm others in order to ensure their own comfort and false sense of superiority. A world built on lies, ignorance, subjugation, and murder. And for the entire lifetime of our nation, these states have been dragging the rest of us down into their stinking swamp of ugliness (and yes, I am aware that the rest of us have our own unsavory records, as well – but nothing like the institutionalized evil found there.)
I know that’s harsh. But I have had it up to HERE with pretending that this bullshit is okay.
I recognize that removing these symbols of hate is only a very small step in finally beginning to address the racism that absolutely rules this nation. But, as God is my witness, Scarlett O’Hara, we have to start somewhere. The next part will be much harder: actually admitting that our policies toward the poor are, in reality, tools of racism. And then changing those policies.
TRUTH. Speak it.