The Confederate flag is a symbol of hatred, traitorism, and support for a slaveholding society.
And that’s just all the way real.
Inspired by such a symbol — that to this day, 150+ years since the start of the Civil War, still flies on the grounds of South Carolina’s state Capitol — a domestic terrorist (whose name we refuse to give attention to) walked into Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina last Wednesday night and murdered 9 people. All of them Black.
There’s no doubt why he did it. Not only did he tell witnesses that he was there to kill Black people, but he also told investigators that he wanted to start a race war and published a manifesto on his website that is basically a racist rant. In it, he claims that Black people are “stupid and violent,” along with a bunch of other propaganda that’s been used to reinforce white supremacy for centuries — even as recently as the Mckinney pool party incident. (Earlier this month after that whole thing went down, a Texas elementary school teacher posted her own racist rant on Facebook making similar claims about Black people. She was fired.) Along with the Charleston shooter’s rant, photos of him burning the American flag and posing and waving the Confederate flag were also found on the site.
Today, South Carolina’s governor Nikki Haley finally called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the Capitol’s grounds. The sad thing is, it took the murders of 9 people before she chose to pay attention to the the racist representations that the Confederate flag stands for. Just last year Salon reported that Gov. Haley had no problems flying the flag on the Captiol’s grounds. She even actually said, “But we really kind of fixed all that when you elected the first Indian-American female governor. When we appointed the first African-American U.S. senator, that sent a huge message.” Oh yeah, like the election of our first Black president magically ended racism in this country.
Oh wait. That obviously didn’t happen.
Some people like to pretend that the flag is about celebrating heritage, but why would anyone want to celebrate the fact that their ancestors were cool with owning slaves and perpetuating a system of racism? You won’t see the Nazi flag flying on government buildings or grounds in Germany. Using the word “heritage” is a cover and a cop out. It doesn’t change the fact that the Confederate flag is a symbol of hate. And it can’t hide the fact that a 21-year-old man used what that flag stands for to justify his racially motivated mass murder.