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The Confederate Flag and You

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There we go again. It's now about the flag. Yeeah! The darn flag caused it! Tear down the flag! Tear down the flag! That's the new chorus in the wake of a white monster's deadly rampage in a peaceful Bible payer meeting in South Carolina. Dylann Roof, a 21-yearl old white supremacist and rabid racist, recently shot and killed, no, summarily executed nine unsuspecting and welcoming Black Christians worshipping in an historic church in this Southern state.

Amid calls for peace and for change, reform and an ample share of forgiveness and love in between, I can't help but feel this is a knee jerk reaction to racial powerlessness and oppression. When Black people freely forgive a murderous racist cretin whose love of guns and hankering for the days when Black people were "kept in their place" by lynchings, flogging and brutality, I am left to wonder what has happened to us as a people.

Then there's that Confederate Flag talk and loud calls to take it down. Walmart has banned it -- ironically from a company that still pays slave wages. EBay, Apple and a host of others have stopped carrying merchandize with the Confederate Flag on it -- after making billions from it they've suddenly got an epiphany and converted to loving Black people. But still, the Confederate Flag as A SYMBOL OF WHITE SUPREMACY AND RACISM must be put on the garbage heap of history -- South Carolina's history or not.

There is absolutely no doubt that the Confederate Battle Flag was the emblem of Southern Jim Crow defiance to the civil-rights movement and opposition to racial integration. And it was under this flag's banner that white supremacy launched its domestic terror campaign against innocent Black people using the hateful Ku Klux Klan and the White Citizens' Councils as tools to do its dirty work.

Today white Christians, especially those in Southern states like South Carolina, ought to think about what the Confederate Battle Flag says to African-Americans worshipping in the same churches and believing in the same Jesus Christ as they. For white Christians to sit near to their Black brethren in church and not be sympathetic to the latest act of white supremacist terrorism is to be nothing more than raving hypocrites.

Despite all this, Black Christians and conservative Blacks keep behaving in ways that have me baffled. How it is it that white folks, be they cops, vigilantes or others, get so easily and readily forgiven by Black people every time they gun down Black people? How is it that Black pastors and preachers are quick to intercede with God on the behalf of white murderers who deliberately and with depraved indifference snuffed out innocent Black lives?

On this subject, listen I defer to Malcolm X:

"I don't favor violence. If we could bring about recognition and respect of our people by peaceful means, well and good. Everybody would like to reach his objectives peacefully. But I'm also a realist. The only people in this country who are asked to be nonviolent are black people."

Amen Brother Malcolm.

When white folks are killed by Black and brown people there is an immediate angry chorus laced with the most vitriolic statements. Black people are called "monsters, animals (a favorite characterization) and thugs (another favorite one). In courts across the nation judges are asked to sentence Black defendants -- rightly or wrongly accused -- to "rot in jail." Yet, when whites commit the same crimes there is a litany of reasons why "he was a good boy." Black people are monsters and animals. White people are "misguided boys" and "had a hard upbringing."

Brother Malcolm again:

"Our people have made the mistake of confusing the methods with the objectives. As long as we agree on objectives, we should never fall out with each other just because we believe in different methods, or tactics, or strategy. We have to keep in mind at all times that we are not fighting for separation. We are fighting for recognition as free humans in this society."

In case you forgot what racism is, let's get an explanation from "On Racism and White Privilege."

"Racism is a doctrine or teaching, without scientific support, that does three things. First, it claims to find racial differences in things like character and intelligence. Second, racism asserts the superiority of one race over another or others. Finally, it seeks to maintain that dominance through a complex system of beliefs, behaviors, use of language and policies. Racism ranges from the individual to the institutional level and reflects and enforces a pervasive view, in white dominated U.S. culture that people of color are inferior to whites."

When confronted with the above many white people -- and they are many, many great white people who are not racists -- get defensive as if to say "not me, I have Black friends." Others still point to the myth of "reverse racism." I don't know what the heck that is. So let's take off the kid gloves, shall we? And let me put this bluntly and as candidly to you as I can.

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MICHAEL DERK ROBERTS Small Business Consultant, Editor, and Social Media & Communications Expert, New York Over the past 20 years I've been a top SMALL BUSINESS CONSULTANT and POLITICAL CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST in Brooklyn, New York, running (more...)

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