Why is there even “debate” about the slavery flag?
The conflict over the banner of the Confederacy has been raging for decades between those who feel it is a symbol of free speech, and others who see it as a symbol of white supremacy.
Who the hell sees that rag as a symbol of free speech? Of course it’s not – it’s no such thing. (The Confederacy outlawed lots of kinds of speech, because it had to, because it held people in slavery. It couldn’t afford free speech. It was a tyranny keeping a majority in chains – does that sound like a home of free speech to you?) If you see the Confederate flag you don’t think ah yes, free speech. It’s a symbol of the Confederacy, and slavery. That’s it.
Cornell William Brooks, national president of the N.A.A.C.P., said on Friday that those who said the flag was “merely a symbol of years gone by” had it all wrong. The flag, he said, is an “emblem of hate” that should be banished from public life.
People have been watching too much Gone With the Wind if they think that. If they want years gone by they can get some Shaker furniture, or read Dickens, or listen to Mozart. They don’t need a damn white supremacist flag.
Elsewhere, writers and academics found fault in the argument that the flag was meant to preserve a Southern way of life. In a post for The Atlantic titled “Take Down the Confederate Flag — Now,” Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote that the argument that the flag preserves a heritage of racist behavior was what motivated Mr. Roof to attack black people.
“More than any individual actor, in recent history, Roof honored his flag in exactly the manner it always demanded — with human sacrifice,” Mr. Coates wrote.
Edward E. Baptist, a professor at Cornell University who specializes in the history of slavery, said in a series of posts on Twitter that the flag had been used as justification for attacks on blacks since the Civil War.
Yes but days of yesteryear. Magnolia. Miss Scahlet.
A post published Friday on League of the South, a niche website defined as a “neo-Confederate” group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, said the flag should not be taken down. Calling it “the most recognizable historic flag of the South,” the league said the Confederate flag “stands for the heroic effort our people made 150 years ago to avoid the fate were are experiencing today.”
What fate is that? Climate change? The internet, on which League of the South has a website? Frequent flyer miles? Gluten-free orange juice?
At least the people at League of the South weren’t shot to death a couple of days ago. Lucky fate.