As another victim of the South Carolina shootings was laid to rest Brittany “Bree” Newsome decided she couldn’t take it anymore, the Confederate flag that waved tauntingly near the state capital had to go. Why it has been hanging on the grounds of a government building for so long is beyond me. Why there has to be a meeting of the state legislature to take it down puzzles me. The Confederacy has been dead for decades but the pain and symbolism of hatred and slavery that the flag once stood for is still alive and well.
The deaths of those nine innocent worshippers at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC at the hands of a sick and hateful man will not be in vain. Yet, it shouldn’t have taken such an atrocity for people to realize that flag still assists in the breeding of racism and should not be celebrated by anyone’s government. Here in Memphis, decisions are being made whether or not a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a former leader of the KKK, should remain in a city park along with his remains. The park once bore his name and that was changed a few years ago. I hate to disturb a man’s grave but times are a-changing.
We cannot change history. The Civil War happened. This country was torn apart, lives were lost, gallons of blood was shed over whether or not one race of people should have the right to treat another race of people as property and use them for free labor. I am an avid reader and I can’t imagine being forced to pick cotton, made to sleep with strangers to produce children that could be sold away from me or taking a husband only to have him sold as well. I can’t imagine such pain or the pain of having my flesh ripped open as I’m lashed for disobeying my master. As an African American, I am thankful for people who realized what a demoralizing, unfair, and brutal practice slavery was. Such atrocities are beyond my imagination or perhaps I choose not to allow myself to dwell in such a dark place. Yet, the place where I now reside allows government buildings to brandish constant reminders of such a cruel time. It allows law enforcement officers to beat and kill black men and women and hide behind their badges and the judicial system. It allows a racist vigilante to take a life and hide behind Stand Your Ground Laws and it allows the infliction of discrimination under the guise of free enterprise. Therefore, decades later we are still waging war in this country to be treated as equals. We must constantly prove our worth and use our light to flush out racism whether it is blatant or hiding in corners. No the world isn’t all bad and neither are all white people. I applaud anyone who comes to the aid of the disadvantaged, disenfranchised and disrespected, no matter what race they may be. It takes a mighty army and unshakeable faith to win a war. Soldiers of all colors wanted.
That flag is a blatant symbol of racism and it should be removed. Bree Newsome was bold enough to show the world that one person can make a difference, even if it means shimming up a pole and being arrested when you come down. When told by police to come down she refused until she had unhooked the flag. Her first defying words were, “You come against me in the name of hatred, repression, and violence. I come against you in the name of God. This flag comes down today.”
Rallies are being held in South Carolina in support of the Confederate flag but the fact that the KKK is participating should dispel all doubt that racial hatred is weaved within its fabric. Such a symbol of white supremacy should not be anywhere near government buildings, which African American tax dollars go to support and maintain. You don’t find Swastika flags hanging anywhere in German government buildings. I’m sure Jews all over the world would riot if they did.
There’s a reason the Confederacy lost the war. Slavery, discrimination and racism isn’t right. It’s time we stop proudly displaying that symbol of hatred and oppression. The next time that flag comes down, I pray it stays down. God don’t like ugly and neither do I. Ms. Bree and her accomplice James Ian Tyson, may God continue to be with you. I know God is with us. Fight on!