In the wake of the Charleston shootings, somehow the call to remove the Confederate battle flag not only from South Carolina’s Capitol grounds but also from the state flags of Alabama and Mississippi has become quite the political football. Curiously, no one has yet to mention Florida’s flag, but that’s a discussion for a different day.
I digress, the call to remove the Stars and Bars is purely political. Disagree? I tell you what… just answer these three painfully simple questions:
- Can you name at least two of the shooting victims?
- What was the name of the church where the shooting took place?
- Splashed all over the internet and the media is a photo of the Charleston shooter waving WHAT flag?
Very, very few can answer the first two questions. Everyone already knows answer the last one.
Now I understand why many people want the Stars and Bars to be relegated to a museum. I disagree, but I understand. They look upon General Lee’s banner of his Army of Northern Virginia as a symbol of racism, hatred and violence. As these good folks believe that not one cent of taxpayer money should be spent on memorializing the Confederacy. Fair enough.
Now I ask everyone to calmly consider this; my wife and daughter have four direct ancestors who wore Confederate Gray. Oh, not a single one of them was a slave owner. To them and millions of other Americans, the Confederate flag really is about heritage, not hate.
As noted historian, the late Shelby Foote cited many a time, “Early in the conflict a squad of Union soldiers closed in on a ragged Johnny Reb. Figuring that he did not own slaves, nor had much interest in the constitutional question of secession, they asked him: ‘What are you fighting for, anyhow?’ The Confederate replied: ‘I’m fighting because you’re down here.'”
To those that advocate the removal of Lee’s battle flag, I ask you to try and understand what it was like for my wife when she as a child would sit at her grandmother’s knee, and Grandmomma would tell stories of when she was a child sitting at her grandmother’s knee and hear the what it was like to survive Sherman’s absolute and utter destruction of South Carolina’s Lowcountry. Little known fact, Sherman’s Army not only raped, burned and pillaged their way through the South, they were also responsible for mass starvation, whites as well as blacks.
The oral tradition for Southerners regarding The War of Northern Aggression is something that’s alive and well. No hatred… they just hold dear to their heritage. Yes, it really is that simple. Yet because some people consider the Stars and Bars to be divisive and hateful, it has no place in any government capacity, period.
Now if that’s the yardstick to be used to boot the Confederate flag from the Columbia Capitol grounds, then the same applies to the official government recognition of one Malcolm Little, aka: “Malcolm X“. As cited in his autobiography, Mr. Little/X was a firm adherent of the Nation of Islam’s teaching that “all white men are devils”. Not done considering all those of the Caucasian persuasion to be of Satanic origins, he also was of the opinion that “The first humans were black, living peacefully under Allah in Mecca. Then, a mad scientist named Mr. Yacub unleashed an evil race of white people on Europe who conspired to abuse nonwhites for 6,000 years.”
In his book Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, author Manning Marable noted that Malcolm X wrote in his autobiography that when he reported for his Army physical when drafted during World War II, he told the Army psychiatrist, “I want to get sent down South. Organize them nigger soldiers, you dig? Steal us some guns, and kill crackers!” Obviously, Mr. Little was found 4F, otherwise known as unfit for military service.
There’s plenty of credible evidence that in the last months of his life (before being assassinated by members of the Nation of Islam), Malcolm X had a serious change of heart regarding his many years of openly hating everything regarding white folks. I have no reason to believe otherwise.
As Paul Chappell penned in The Art of Waging Peace, Malcolm X was quoted, “Brother, remember the time that white college girl came into the restaurant—the one who wanted to help the [Black] Muslims and the whites get together—and I told her there wasn’t a ghost of a chance and she went away crying? Well, I’ve lived to regret that incident. In many parts of the African continent I saw white students helping black people. Something like this kills a lot of argument. I did many things as a [Black] Muslim that I’m sorry for now. I was a zombie then—like all [Black] Muslims—I was hypnotized, pointed in a certain direction and told to march. Well, I guess a man’s entitled to make a fool of himself if he’s ready to pay the cost. It cost me 12 years.”
With all that said, I’ll state that I honestly believe that the vast majority of pro-flag white Southerners have zero desire to lynch anyone, burn down any orphanages, or deny anyone the opportunity to sit at any given lunch counter. I’m equally sure a very small minority of the same demographic harbors nothing but hate for all blacks.
Know what? The same standard applies to Malcolm X. Again, I have no reason to believe he didn’t change his heart, but at least a handful of black people still stick with the same violent and racist past he eventually rejected. So because of that, if the Confederate flag goes, so should all the government (ie: taxpayer funded) institutions named after Malcolm X. The logic fits perfectly.
There are taxpayer funded public schools dedicated to Malcolm X in San Francisco, Detroit, Washington, DC, Berkeley and Newark. To add to the list, the City Colleges of Chicago have among their many campuses Malcolm X College.
By the way, the previously named Southern states officially incorporated the Confederate flag by Democrats, not Republicans. And some of the more prominent Democrats back then had last names like Carter, Clinton and Gore.
Take that, Hillary.