Land of the Free and Home of the Wimps
It’s official; we’re becoming soft. Our kids are afraid to get dirty, break some bones–break a sweat even. Instead of braving the outdoors, they sit inside playing video games hours on end, breaking only to diversify their screen time between other mindless mediums (Netflix, Ipad, social media, etc), all while consuming inordinate amounts of high fructose corn syrup. We no longer change our own tires. Instead, we dial up roadside service in fear of ruining their manicure (myself included). A large portion of America with no trace of celiac disease in their bodies fear gluten more than ISIS. Recently, it has come to my attention that the final pin has dropped. Indeed, the last fabric of society that we could rely on to be strong in their resolve has turned out to be wimps just like the rest of us. It is with great anguish that I report that the racists have gone soft too.
When the Confederate flag first resurfaced as a protest to Brown V. Board of Education, racists everywhere flew the flag proudly. These days, a new breed of racists has arisen; this illustrious crowd wishes to both fly a worldwide symbol of hate and distance themselves from the label racist. They want to have their cake and eat it too. We can no longer trust the racists to boldly stand for what’s wrong like they did in the good old days. Nowadays, they want to be racist; they just don’t want to be called racist.
To be fair, there are those that would argue that the Confederate Flag is a symbol of heritage, not hate. However, the time period in which southern states begin flying the flag in front of state buildings and incorporating elements of the Rebel Flag into their state flags coincides suspiciously with the timing of the Civil Rights Movement. To deny the fact that the Confederate Flag resurfaced as a means of protesting the Civil Rights movement is to deny fact. However, I suppose the denial of fact is what delusional revisionist historians are here for.
Nevertheless, if we suspend reality and muster the requisite amount of imagination necessary to pretend that the Confederate flag represents Confederate heritage alone (An institution in which the economic system relies heavily upon buying and selling of human beings for labor is not something I’d be particularly proud of but to each his own), we can all now agree that the flag has at least evolved into a symbol of hate. Dylan Roof is not a local anomaly; the Confederate Flag is flown by European neo-Nazis in countries where swastikas are illegal; the Rebel Flag is also flown alongside the swastika by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine. Regardless of how individual southerners may feel about its origin, the Confederate flag is now a symbol of hate worldwide.
While I wholeheartedly disagree with their worldview, I actually understand why self-proclaimed racists would fly the Confederate Flag proudly. However, I simply don’t understand why an individual would wish to fly the Confederate flag and wish to not be considered racist. If you have the gall to be so openly callous to the painful memories the Rebel Flag evokes, why concern yourself with being labeled a racist? For believers, it becomes even more confusing. If you are a follower of Christ, how does one justify the seemingly idolatrous worship of the Rebel Flag? How do you justify the desire to endorse imagery that is painful for so many when God commands us to prefer others before ourselves?
Don’t get me wrong. I respect your right to fly all the Confederate Flags on your own private property. In fact, if even the slightest corner of your heart is inclined to fly the Rebel Flag, I urge you to do so. While driving through the rural south, Confederate Flags are quite handy in that they serve as warning signs as to locations at which I need not stop. I appreciate a good Confederate Flag as much as the next girl because it lets me know where we stand. It’s pretty inconvenient how undercover racism can be these days. Although restaurant owners may not be able to deny Tyrone service at a lunch counter, employers are 50% less likely to call Tyrone (i.e, a black-sounding name) than Tyler (a European sounding name) for an interview given identical resumes (apparently Erykah Badu is the only one advocating for Tyrone to get that phone call).
While I respect the First Amendment right to fly any flag your heart desires, I don’t agree that Confederate Flags should be flown in public spaces. I don’t believe that one group’s skewed interpretation of celebrating Southern Heritage should be representative of the whole, especially when so many views that interpretation as hateful. I too am a proud southerner, shouldn’t my interpretation of Southern Heritage count for something? Since when did Confederate Flag enthusiasts gain a monopoly on southern pride? How dare they have the audacity to celebrate an emblem that provokes memories of slavery, segregation, and Jim Crow all while shunning the racist moniker!
Oh how I long for the days when kids played outdoors from dawn to dusk, Coca-Cola contained natural ingredients like cocaine and real cane sugar (none of this artificial coloring and high fructose corn syrup foolishness), we ate gluten like it was nobody’s business, and the racists stood up to be counted. At least then we knew where we stood. In those days white supremacists didn’t hide behind “Southern Heritage”, but then again they were certainly prone to hide behind white hoods. I suppose racism has been the modus operandi of the coward all along.