Racism is over, after all. Why, the Jacksonville, FL school board voted unanimously to remove the name of Nathan Bedford Forrest from what is now known simply as Westside High School. Forrest, as you know, was a founder of the social justice warrior group known by its initial K, just three times over. Anyhow, Duval County school board members took that brave and progressive measure well over a year ago! Maybe soon even Tennessee parks and schools will catch up.
Meanwhile, in Denton, TX “vandals”, as the city is affectionately calling them, did this:
Well, I don’t know why the city wasted $50,000 removing this factual enhancement from the monument, but they did. A silly waste of tax money. Still, they intend to reward the folks who so gallantly tried to help educate the populace by granting them up to two years of free housing and meals. Plus a lifetime ban from attending events on the Denton, TX Courthouse Lawn.
(p.s. I’ve already helped myself to that last prize, and I didn’t even have to factually enhance a monument to traitors to get it. Don’t tell Denton!)
A little bit of a disturbing story by Margaret Biser on Vox about her experiences as a tour guide on a former slave-owning plantation. Even visitors to a plantation famous for how slaves built it and operated it don’t want to hear about how slavery was not nice. They want the stories about how good the slaves had it. About how the owners of the plantation were the good slave-owners. About how the slaves loved their owners. Ultimately, it’s a whitewashing of our nation’s history — in every sense of the word “whitewashing.” One tourist’s reaction:
“Listen, I just wanted to say that dragging all this slavery stuff up again is bringing down America.” [Biser] started to protest, but he interrupted [her]. “You didn’t know. You’re young. But America is the greatest country in the world, and these people out there, they’d do anything to make America less great.”
Is it any wonder we have difficulty to this day talking about the real, structural racism in American society? We still can’t being ourselves to rip off that Band-Aid.
On the other hand, a criminal like Cliven Bundy gets a news cycle for saying:
And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.
So you’d think that would make him anathema, even to the crypto-racist dog-whistlers of the Republican Presidential Clown Car, wouldn’t you? Well, you know what I always say about “you’d think”: any statement that begins “you’d think” ends in disappointment. Rand Paul met privately with Bundy for 45 minutes last week, presumably to counsel him on how to dog-whistle more subtly.
Dylann Roof murdered 9 black people at a bible-study meeting
Dylann Roof’s web presence featured images of the Stars & Bars
The day after the murder the Stars & Bars was not at half-staff in South Carolina
The Stars & Bars is evil! Get rid of it!
I will freely admit, I also fell into this trap. The Stars & Bars is one of the most visible indicators of the racism on which the USA was built. That racism may be closer to the surface in the former Confederacy, but make no mistake, it exists in Seattle and Boston just as virulently as it does in Charleston and Mobile.The arrows of causality are not difficult to discern, and they all point to the Stars & Bars. None emanate from this flag.
Removing the flag from government displays is still important, because the governments should at least be paying lip service to equality for all citizens. Lip service ain’t much… but it ain’t nothing, either. Sooner or later someone will hold them to their words. That cannot happen until the words are said.
One other overlooked effect of making the Stars & Bars vexillum non gratus is simply, we will lose a visual indicator of who still supports the ideas on which it was designed. William T. Thompson, who designed the version of the flag seen here, called it “the Stainless Banner.” Making his case for it, he wrote:
As a people, we are fighting to maintain the Heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race; a white flag would thus be emblematical of our cause.… Such a flag…would soon take rank among the proudest ensigns of the nations, and be hailed by the civilized world as THE WHITE MAN’S FLAG.… As a national emblem, it is significant of our higher cause, the cause of a superior race, and a higher civilization contending against ignorance, infidelity, and barbarism.
Knowing who those people are is valuable, and why we’d give it up without a fight is baffling to me.
Well, here’s the picture of the State Capitol of South Carolina:
As all other flags in the state were flown at half-staff, the Confederate Flag, the Stars & Bars, remains flying at full-staff as required by South Carolina state law.
Make no mistake, this flag is about nothing but the armed defense of states’ rights: that is as long as you know what states’ right they were defending was the states’ right to allow its citizens to buy, sell and own other human beings. The right — nay, the legal obligation — to capture those other humans and return them to the status of livestock, should they flee. As long as those other human beings have dark-enough skin, of course.
But for almost a hundred years after the Civil War was settled, no law in South Carolina existed to mandate the flying of this odious, racist symbol. The law requiring this was passed in 1962, once their former property was starting to get so uppity as to expect the same rights as a citizen: voting, access to public education, being served in restaurants, and so on.
The measure to change the uniform of the state and local police departments to flowing white robes with matching hoods only failed by two votes. Deficit hawks who were concerned about the cleaning bills, I guess. While they were at it, I wonder if they considered another law, mandating the flying of this flag in all counties with at least one synagogue.
So. We ask ourselves as if we did not know, as if we cared: wherever did Dylann Roof get the idea to fly the flags of white power?