America Is Racist Without the Confederate Flag

Illustration by Sarah Green

Illustration by Sarah Green

The terrorist attack on Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina is atrocious beyond words. By now the world knows the details of the attack, and more importantly, we know about the lives of the nine victims.  I’m not going to pretend that I know what it’s like to have such a safe space violated. I’m not going to pretend to know the pain of  the Black community when they see more violence staring at them from televisions and computer screens.

In the wake of this unspeakable tragedy, eBay, Kmart, Walmart, and Sears have decided to ban the sale of goods emblazoned with the confederate flag. Pulling the hateful products is receiving considerable praise, and it is, indeed, wonderful news, but please remember that removing the confederate flag does not move us past racism. Dylan Roof murdered nine people in cold blood because he lives in a culture that systematically devalues Black lives.

Racism is more than token symbols–it is policies and institutions that murder, rape, and humiliate Black folks and other PoC. Refusing to stock racist tchotchkes is the right decision for corporations, but it’s a feeble and long-overdue move. Don’t let this good decision, or this small “victory,” keep you from remembering that nine people were killed in cold blood because of white supremacist ideology, and dismantling that is going to take so much more than stifling access to tacky belt buckles and license plate covers.

Does someone in your family wear/display the confederate flag? Tell us about it! 

Share Your Thoughts