I don’t usually write about controversial stuff, but I find myself unable to not have something to say. It’s not so much an opinion, but an affirmation that I have a voice to share my affirmations and the world has presented itself as good a place as anything in which to vocalize.
I can’t say with any confidence whatsoever that everyone is horrified by the evil which manifested at an historic black church in Charleston. The reason I say this is because there are people out there who share the opinion of that weak-kneed skin sack who murdered nine good people out of nothing but hate, ignorance, fear and fear and fear and oh yeah, fear.
Fear starts wars.
Fear keeps them going.
Fear wins elections.
Fear keeps us home.
Fear keeps us away.
Fear keeps us silent.
When fear wins, the world is a very sad place.
I have seen the Internet.
I have read about those who hold the opinion that the Confederate Flag is not a symbol of hate. It’s just heritage. They cry, “you can’t take our heritage…” and “I’m proud of who I am…” and “This is my heritage…” and I have to say… nothing.
I just take a deep breath and think of fear. How the fear has manifested in that person. And I shake my head as my lips are totally pressed to each other and wonder about what else those people think is ok.
It’s not heritage and pride. Really… it’s not.
So if we operate under the schema that pride is at stake here, and history is at stake and heritage is at stake, let’s drill down…
Watch “12 Years a Slave” and don’t look away, especially during that gut-wrenching, extremely uncomfortable 13-minute scene which depicts just a fraction of an entire afternoon and talk to me about your pride, your heritage and your history.
Because that restriction of freedom in that film or “Amistad,” or “Lincoln” or “Mississippi Burning” or countless COUNTLESS similar films about “inconvenient truths” is what that flag is about.
Then maybe you should watch “Schindler’s List” or “Sophie’s Choice” and talk to me about pride, history and heritage.
I’m not of the ilk that taking down those flags means we are entering a place of revisionist history — there are stains on this map and on our flag that can never be washed away — and they shouldn’t because, like the proponents who argue in favor of the Confederate Flag, it’s a part of our collective history. We dishonor the blood of countless slaves who were torn from Africa and taken to America against their will, and forced to live out an UNIMAGINABLE EXISTENCE. I’m also not of the ilk which says the flag didn’t kill those people. Just like the gun didn’t kill those people. The flag and the gun don’t have thumbs, they can’t kill things. It’s the fearful who hide behind them who kill.
Go ahead, watch “12 Years a Slave” and what that film represents, the Southern heritage you all hold so dearly, is that horror. That place where your heart bleeds. That’s your history. That’s your story. You can have it, but don’t fucking jam it down my throat and tell me you mean no harm by flying that banner of hate. Go ahead and tell me you think the swastika is no big deal either. That it’s misconstrued; that it has been hijacked from a crucifix and became a symbol of hate — that the intention was good.
I am a white person and when I see the Confederate flag, a part of me cries. I can feel it in my stomach, right now, pain from having to share the highway, or a movie theater, or a restaurant, with a person driving or wearing something with that symbol on it. I love people. I really do, but there is no good in that symbol. It represents a time … I am sitting here shaking my head with woe. I don’t hate those people, I just feel sorry for them.
When I moved to Virginia in 1981, I ended up going to a school, Robert E. Lee High School, named after what my northern relatives called a traitor. There are highways here dedicated to Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis. Another high school is named after JEB Stuart. Lee is a hero around here. I threw up in my mouth a little when I found out the name of my high school. Our mascot was the “Lancer” — which has to do with the Civil War … right: not much. I remember for the longest time after MLK Day was added to the Federal Holiday calendar, that Virginia did the decent thing and named it the “Lee Jackson King Memorial Holiday.” That was mighty white of those good ol’ boys in Richmond.
Anyway, I adore the friends I made in high school, but I will never proudly say I went to RE Lee High School; people have to get it out of me.
I am a northerner at heart. I am from New York state. My blood is thinner after living here for 34 years, but my heart bleeds “yankee” blood. And I’m not even a yankee like some of my New England friends are — those peeps, they’re the real deal. But according to a writer of Alabama’s Musckogee Herald, yankees weren’t fit for the company of a “Southern gentleman’s body servant…” (a what?):This debate over the Confederate flag is truly American. No where else could we have a dialogue for or against or about an emblem which represents a refusal to conform to decency and humanity after the murder of innocent church goers?
Little minds think in little ways.
Big minds think in big ways.
Stay true to your traditions, Confederate flag lovers. Watch the world change around you at 190 miles per hour. Watch your friends become educated about reality and history regardless of a sentimental and LEARNED attachment to a sensibility which no longer serves. Watch yourself get alienated, still the butt of jokes, such as this one stolen from NPR regarding “heritage”: you mean your surrender as your heritage?
Just a reminder, if you hate change so much and you like to stick to your traditions, Stuck Southerners, let’s do this:
For the ladies — the female Confederate flag lovers:
- Reject your right to vote.
- Reject your right to personal property.
- Reject your right to healthcare — how do you like that Planned Parenthood? Kiss it goodbye.
- Reject your right to protection under the law.
- Reject your right to education.
- Reject your right to serve on a jury.
- Reject your right to earn fair wages.
- Reject your right to drive.
- Reject your right to attend a four-year college.
Just sit there under your parasol on your 1,200 acre Terra, sipping your mint julep and fanning yourself.
Because all those rights came your way AFTER abolition, after slaves were emancipated and seen as human beings.
I feel sorry for you, Confederate flag lovers. Bless your hearts.
“Leave my flag alone!” You’re like a baby with a wet diaper. You live under a blanket of fear. You want everything the way it was. You hate the fact that you got your ASS HANDED TO YOU during the “War of Northern Aggression.” You were so bitter about it you killed a president. You even like to debate that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery. That’s
funny pathetic. I see the most pathetic comments about this debate invoking Christianity and that all civilizations were formed on the backs of slaves. Sure. No one is denying that, but… eww: no one is really asking everyone to be cool with the symbol of wanting to keep slaves enslaved flying over government buildings. If I see a restaurant flying the stars and bars, I’ll eat elsewhere.
I just wish that some of you would just come out with it and admit it: “I’m a little racist, yes. I check my car doors when I see a black person at an intersection… ” or “I have black friends!”
And do you dare to ask me to believe that if the rest of the free world insists that your flag comes down that we’re suddenly all going to forget about slavery? That somehow all the books and videos and historical documentation will be vaporized? What is your argument for keeping the flag? History? Oh! I get it. That’s simple. Leave it in a museum.
That flag is meant as nothing but a code — like the MS-13 gang and their use of tattoos now instead of bandanas and gang colors. It’s meant to intimidate people of color and let other small-minded, stuck-in-the-past fearful people like you know that you’re afraid too.
So do you really want to go back to those days?
Be my guest… prepare to leave behind:
- electricity (and all its trappings: the internet and cars, airplanes)
- running water (and all its trappings: toilets that flush, showers, clean water to drink, coca-cola)
- plastic (and all its trappings: boob jobs, acrylic nails, BiC lighters)
I mean, you’d be worse off than Cuba or North Korea. But you can hang on to candles everywhere, public outhouses, wells and pumps, horses to take you everywhere (that might not be such a bad idea) and trains — you can still have trains! Just not Acela. You get the old coal system. And sailing. You can keep sailing. And golf. You like country clubs. Right? But no slaves, ok? Because, that’s horrid.
You slay me, Flag Lovers. You really do. I sure do miss those days when white men could
- beat women within an inch of their lives just because,
- force women to have sex,
- exploit their children
The great part about this though, and I’ll say again: is that we are all legally allowed to have these opinions. It’s part of our Constitution, you know, that document which frames the freedoms afforded to citizens of the nation from which you wanted to secede, because you wanted to not grant freedoms to slaves because … WHY? That dig about the Constitution was just a little reminder. So know that you’re protected under it.
No part of American history is easy. This country was built on the backs of kidnapped and raped black blood.
One thing I like to remind us all is that the cradle of our human civilization is in Africa. That means we all have African blood in us. And that most black Americans are part white, due to the rampant sexual exploitation and rapes of female slaves by white land owners and overseers and and and …
I also like to remind people that Jesus was definitely not white. He likely resembled people who live in another area of total unrest, war, horror and conflict: the Gaza Strip area of the Middle East. I also like to wonder that if that Jesus were around today, that he might look like the guy who pumped my gas at one of the New Jersey Turnpike rest stops.
I also like to remind people that Jesus was Jewish. His Hebrew name is Yeshua, or Joshua, or Yahushua… ‘Jesus’ is a “shadow” name. Heaven forbid we in America call him “Joshua Christ.” That just won’t do, will it?
And that Mary, his mom, was Jewish too. His dad? He created everyone. All of us.
People have issues with perspective, heritage, truth and reality.
So your homework, Confederate flag lovers, is to watch “12 Years a Slave” and “Sophie’s Choice.” You can also check out this list of content, if you’re still in denial: http://aaihs.org/resources/charlestonsyllabus/ and then this, when you’re done with that growing list… http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/06/what-this-cruel-war-was-over/396482/
And if you hate this blog post, I also suggest you unfollow me because I fart a lot after I eat my Buffalo Wings.