Confederate flags and statues and racism

They claim the Confederate flag symbolizes Southern cultural heritage, or independence, or states’ rights — or some such baloney. Who do they think they’re fooling? That flag says “Fuck n—–s.”

People actually often don’t understand what goes on in their own minds, a lot of it being below conscious awareness. It’s themselves they are fooling, telling themselves they are not racist. Those who call the Confederacy a “noble cause” are trying to pretty up in their own heads what is really racial animus.

Yeah, sure, 1861 was all about state rights. What rights specifically? To enslave people. The Civil War was about nothing except slavery. No slavery, no war. Confederates were not heroic warriors. They were traitors to America and to fundamental human morality. Blacks know this flag stands for their enslavement and anyone flying it is giving them the middle finger. It belongs only in textbooks and museums.

And naming military bases after Confederate soldiers? What nation thusly honors men who fought against it? What kind of president defends this?

They say removing Confederate monuments erases history. And indeed today’s Americans lack much sense of history. Otherwise they’d understand why these statues must go. There’s a difference between remembering history and celebrating it. We have a Holocaust Museum to memorialize that part of the world’s history. We don’t put up statues to Hitler and Goering.

And those who understand history know Confederate monuments were not really erected to honor the individuals depicted. It was to send a message: “We’re not sorry we fought for slavery. We’d restore it if we could. So watch out, n—–s.”

White trash who say “go back to Africa” overlook that blacks didn’t choose to come here. Brought in chains on harrowing voyages to be worked to death. But now we’re all stuck here together on this lifeboat, and must live together. As Kimberly Jones said, whites are lucky African-Americans seek only equality — not revenge.

Showing they are better human beings than whites who would deny that equality. Whites who consider blacks inferior prove themselves to be the inferior creatures.

Okay. Let’s take a deep breath.

Like any movement often tends to, our current spate of iconoclasm goes too far, becoming indiscriminate and senseless. Jefferson’s name comes up. Even Washington’s. At least one Washington statue has been toppled. Also a Ulysses Grant.

Talk about erasing history. Grant went because someone said his wife’s family owned slaves. So forget he was the man most responsible for defeating the Confederacy. But that was not all. As president, Grant battled mightily defending the rights of newly freed slaves. When the KKK arose against them, Grant sent troops to suppress Klan terrorism.

On my wall

No human being is ever a perfect angel. Ideally, our statues honor people who have done great and worthy things, inspiring us to emulate their best qualities. That is why we memorialize Washington and Jefferson — and Grant. Their monuments move my own spirit deeply. When I see Washington what I see is a nation founded in the great virtues he exemplified. When I see Jefferson I see the words that gave that nation its sublime ethos.

Words we still must strive to fulfill.

4 Responses to “Confederate flags and statues and racism”

  1. Doug Weston-Kolarik Says:

    You are soooo Prejudiced yourself. Don’t you see that, you idiots.

    On Thu, Jun 25, 2020, 8:26 AM The Rational Optimist wrote:

    > rationaloptimist posted: “They claim the Confederate flag symbolizes > Southern cultural heritage, or independence, or states’ rights — or some > such baloney. Who do they think they’re fooling? That flag says “Fuck > n—–s.” People actually often don’t understand what goes on in t” >

  2. Lee Says:

    Symbols, including people as symbols, represent different things to different people. Even where we are smart enough to recognize that a symbol has both positives and negatives, we differ as to which aspects are more important.

    When trying to imagine why someone else prioritizes the positive, think how you would feel if that symbol/person had saved/liberated your family or ancestors. When trying to imagine why someone else prioritizes the negative, think how you would feel if that symbol/person had enslaved/murdered your family or ancestors. Obviously this is not exact circumstance in many cases, but it helps me to see why people might see the scales tipping strongly one way or the other.

  3. rationaloptimist Says:

    Nobody — well, practically nobody — displays the Confederate flag for the kinds of “positive” reasons you mention. They do it for the real reason I explained. Even if they can’t admit it to themselves.

  4. Lee Says:

    I see the negatives of the Confederate flag. I wish those who see positives would choose a different symbol to represent them. If it is the love of the South that is appreciated, how about a Georgia peach, etc.?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s