Removal of any symbol whose interpretation is so widely diverse is not the solution to the inherent Institutionalized Racism we experience today. It does not even scratch the surface. I caution against interpreting the symbol, in this case the Confederate flag or statues of Civil War generals for the real problem, Racism in America. Amazon and Walmart can remove Confederate flags from their stores, we can stop their display in front of government buildings, we can dismantle monuments, but what does that do as far as changing the racist mindset of American society and institutions? Nothing! Absolutely nothing!
Tao Writer (April 17, 1948 -)
Note: Previously published on the 17th of May, 2017. Republished today following the events in Charlottesville, Virginia.
As a Black man growing up in America, I know the pain I feel when I see America celebrating and supporting those who stand against the basic ideals upon which this nation was founded, “Liberty and Justice For All.” History, however, cannot be changed. Today the enemy is not the statue of Robert E Lee. The enemy is a lying, ill informed, egotistical president who supports hatred and racism. Donald Trump is a president more focused on rallies of his constituents than leading the country he loss by 300,000 votes. He is supported by a do nothing Republican Congress whose failure to lead the nation has led to its downfall on the world's stage. We can take some momentary pleasure in seeing a statue or flag removed, but the real battle for sustained change needs to continue to take place in the halls and institutions of the government and in the streets of the cities where we live. It is a battle we have been fighting since the dawn of humankind. It is a battle from which we will never surrender or retreat until total equality exists for every being on this planet.
You can read the complete essay from which the above quotation was excerpted, Flags As Symbols of Racism and Genocide, here.
Photo Credit: The first and most identifiable image of the 18th century abolitionist movement was a kneeling African man. Source Credit here.