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The Confederate Flag Is Not The Problem

June 22, 2015

It’s a symbol of the problem. And taking the flag down isn’t a solution to the problem. It’s simply the removal of one of the many symbols of White Supremacy.

Which is good.Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad that the flag is being removed, if for no other reason than it is really sending racists right ’round the bend. And I am entertained by that.

Not nice. Just honest.

But even as she finally got on board with the idea that maybe the symbol of secession is not the best way to represent a state in the Union, Nikki Haley was making it clear that she does not give one shit about the larger conversation about race in America.

We were able to start that process, not by issues — talking about issues that divide us, but by holding vigils. By hugging neighbors, by honoring those we lost, and by falling to our knees in prayer.

She’s honestly touting the fact that she and the other people in the government didn’t talk about “issues.” Pro tip: If you are a member of any kind of government, you should not be proud of your failure to have discussions, especially difficult ones.

We were recently named the friendliest state in the country.

If you’re white. Not so much for Black people. Just ask Walter Scott…oh, wait.

For many people in our state the flag stands for traditions that are noble. Traditions of history, of heritage and of ancestry.

The hate-filled murderer who massacred our brothers and sisters in Charleston has a sick and twisted view of the flag. In no way does he reflect the people of our state who respect, and in many ways, revere it.

No, he really hasn’t. It’s a battle flag of a group who revolted against the United States in an effort to keep their slaves. It’s a symbol of slavery and racism. He got it exactly right!

Those South Carolinians view the flag as a symbol of respect, integrity and duty. They also see it as a memorial. A way to honor ancestors who came to the service of their state during time of conflict. That is not hate, nor is it racism.

Yes it is.

But the statehouse is different. And the events of this past week call upon us to look at this in a different way.

This speech was vetted. This speech went through the hands of many people who are paid to write words. These people know language. These weasel words aren’t an accident. This week made things different. Not the past 15 years, or 150 years. Not the voices of Black citizens who didn’t want that flag representing them. Nope. It took perfect victims and a weekend of really thinking about what the flag means.

It means racism. He got it exactly right.

But fine, OK fine. The flag is coming down. I’m very glad for everyone who thinks that is important. It’s not, but, I’m glad it’ll make you feel better.

When you’re done celebrating Could we look at the fact that Republicans still won’t admit the cause of this shooting was race, the government won’t call the shooting domestic terrorism, the whole world seems to think that the goal is forgiveness and not, you know, justice.

If you focus on the symbol, you can’t solve the problem.

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