Confederate Flag At Capitol Is Symbol Of Race, Violence Problem in US

Indrani Sengupta
Dylann Roof pulled the trigger at the Charleston church shooting, but society provided the ammunition with its enduring tolerance for violence and racism, casual and otherwise.

It’s the day after the Charleston church shooting, and the Confederate flag remained flying on the grounds of the South Carolina Capitol building through the afternoon.

Confederate flag

Last year, Governor Nikki Haley rejected a suggestion that the the flag be removed because she’d never had "one conversation with a single CEO about the Confederate flag.”

Because what’s a better representative for the disenfranchised, the historically brutalized, than the 1%?

Add this to the fact that South Carolina is one of only five states that doesn’t have a designated hate crime law, and that it celebrated “Confederate Memorial Day” this past May, and you see why this isn’t just about a flag or sensitivity over the flag.

Some people claim that the flag commemorates the soldiers who fought in the Civil War, that it is a piece of history. But as Mother Jones puts it, the flag is a “remnant of segregation, not the Civil War.”

It is a piece of history, but a dark one. And our memory of it should not be one of pride.

But the nuances of this conversation are lost on those who cry “political correctness,” who claim that the flag has no connection to the violence and racism that’s plaguing the country. That each single case of violence or racism have no connection to each other, that they aren’t symptomatic of a river running deeper than any one story.

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The Charleston Post and Courier ran a gun ad right next to its article about the Church attack. They said it was just “unfortunate timing” and “apologize to those who were offended.”

But it wasn’t unfortunate timing. “Timing” is not an issue when the problem is ongoing. The Confederate flag, the gun ad, and the Charleston shooter have one thing in common: they’re symbols of violence. And the victims are Black men and women.

violence in america

As for the apology to “those who were offended,” what a round dismissal of a community’s concerns. What a clear omission of the cause of the offense, the perpetrators of the offense, and the Post’s complicity.

It’s not “political correctness.” It’s not about putting up a façade of politeness or sensitivity. It’s about ethics and ideology and the impact they have on real human lives.

But people will continue to resist the truth about the Confederate flag, gun ads, casual violence and racism. They did the same thing with slavery once, too.

History repeats itself.

Read more: 9 Killed In Church Shooting In Charleston, South Carolina