To the gentlemen I heard discussing the fate of the Confederate flag at work today:
You're absolutely right. Taking the flag off of your license plate and removing it from your front porch will in no way eradicate racism. There will always be people who consider themselves more important than others, based only on skin color. And there will always be a few who employ racial profiling, however subconscious it may be.
You're correct: it does commemorate your heritage. The South has a beautiful and rich history, and it's full of exciting tales and glamourous people. It's one of the most fascinating histories to study, and you're right to be proud of it.
You are right. No one living in America at this moment has ever been a victim of Southern slavery. That would be absurd. They'd have to be over 150 years old!
But you're wrong. Your personal removal of the flag will not solve racism-- not if you are silent about it. But what if you went public? What if you shared your convictions for taking it down? What if you took a stand? What if a hundred, or a thousand, or a hundred thousand people did? Wouldn't that prove something to those who are still hurting due to racism? Wouldn't that shed a positive light on the Southern community? Wouldn't that help?
You're incorrect.The flag commemorates your heritage, but it does not celebrate it. Not by a long shot. Yes, the South was and is full of noble men who fought for what they believed in. And, between 1861 and 1865, they fought for their rights to own men, women, and children. To enslave someone simply based on the color of their skin. To beat, rape, and torture an individual because of the density of the melanin in their skin. The flag was a symbol of supremacy, secession, and division. You can find as many African Americans to support it as you like, but the fact still remains: the flag stands for pure, unabashed racism.
You are wrong: although no living being has been a slave of the South, many, many people have been victims of racism. And (believe it or not!) many of those they’ve been oppressed by have flown Confederate flags. Can you even imagine the pain they’re still in? Your flag might very well be arousing memories that people are dying to forget. You might be causing victims pain, simply by driving by. (Your bumper sticker is bigger than you think it is.)
You’re right: removing one flag won’t change much. It’ll be frustrating, and it’s unlikely you’ll be thanked. But you won’t be disrespecting your heritage or the thousands of men who died for the Southern cause: you’ll be honoring it. You’ll help the world to slowly forget that terrible time in American history, to forget the hell that African Americans endured. Gradually, your removal of the flag will help to restore unity. And isn’t that what America’s about?