Many skeletons exist in Northern city closets espousing Black oppression. Black Northern migration after the Civil War is important history for all Americans to understand. The South has no lock on racism. However, the recent South Carolina church killings by a demented young white supremacist rekindles a stark realization. The fires of racial hatred remain bright. Dylann Roof killed nine church members engaged in Bible study. He proclaimed he wanted to kill all blacks.
Given the opportunity he would still be shooting.
As information filters out about this young killer, his tirades against Jews and other “nonwhites” along with his Confederate license plate establish exactly who he is: an insane product of white supremacy and the Neo-Confederacy movement. The Nazis would call those who Roof hates as impure. The Nazi government legalized murderous actions. White supremacists and their ilk support it, whatever their rhetoric.
Roof’s photograph holding a Confederate flag has resulted in needed discourse concerning the public flaunting of that symbol of white supremacy, slavery, segregation and racial hatred.
Make no bones about it: The flag is not an innocent symbol of gracious Southern hospitality and history. It is coded and resurrects black oppression, intolerance, lynching, white knight riders, and the Ku Klux Klan. It stirs visions of police dogs attacking peaceful marchers, black church burnings and fire hoses knocking people down in Southern city streets.
The flag’s historical significance is one of hate and violence. One study concluded that 30 percent of Americans seeing the flag are offended. A resident near Brandon, Fla., displays the world’s largest Confederate flag. The Florida state flag maintains a similar design having lost its stars during Jeb Bush’s term as governor but little else. It is what it is!
The Confederate flag, aka rebel flag, Southern Cross, battle flag, or Dixie Cross was rejected as the official flag of the Confederacy. It gained popularity representing Southern military units during World War II. It also became the mainstay symbol of white supremacy groups. Although designed during the Civil War its popularity among hate groups came much later.
When driving I-75 south toward Tampa one sees a 30-by-60 foot Confederate flag. It’s an eyesore, an insult, and a crass reminder that Florida is far from resolving racial intolerance. I see such flags flying on properties and displayed on vehicles. What is the mentality of those who would exhibit such a flag representing, slavery, oppression, and bigotry? Unfurling the flag is not about Confederate dead, the meaning is much darker.
The Confederate flag has no place on government property, representing a state flag, or in any way attached to Christianity. A similar symbol of hate and murder, the swastika has long been outlawed in Germany. That flag represents similar values of Nazi oppression and monstrous acts.
The Confederate flag should be banned as well. It’s a thumb in the eye of the slow and painful progress of civil rights. The march continues. The best place for this flag is not a museum, but the nearest dumpster.
Marc Yacht M.D. is a retired physician. This column is courtesy of Context Florida.