It would seem the potential of a discussion of the racism inherent in our society, indeed what our society was literally built on, has become a debate on whether or not a flag should be taken down.
All of the issues that are being talked about in the media that have to do with the murders of nine people in Charleston SC have one main thing in common – they are more or less treating the shooting as a singular issue rather than looking at it in the context of race in this country.
Now we have the issue with confederate flag. This has been an on going issue but with the shooting, and the fact that it happen in SC, has brought it back to the surface. However, the flag issue is now holding the place of where a real analysis of the situation could be. The flag issue is an easy scapegoat for the real issues. It is a tangible goal, that has clear sides, and thus clear winners and losers. The fight over it will, for the most part, take place though the state. In other words, it will be a legal battle. Whether it stays up or comes down little will change, but people will feel like that did something. All of these reasons make it prefect for the media and powers that be.
Our fight has little to nothing to do with the effects of racism but rather the causes of racism. In other words, racism itself. Our fight is not really with the ignorant poor whites who think that the flag represents “heritage” rather than racism (it would seem to represent both). This is another thing that the flag issue is creating a false fight between us and people who really have very little to do with the real issues. Or to put it another way, they (poor whites) are themselves an effect of racism rather than a cause. We need to be taking action that addresses institutional and social racism rather than individual acts of racism.
There is a corollary here to the fight against police. Every time, a cop murders someone there is a chorus of people who call for judicial action against the cop or at most reform to stop this sort of thing from happening. But the real issue is within the institution of the police itself. It is not the individual acts of police that are the issue, be they good or bad, that is the whole point. And just like that issue it is the same with racism. It is not the individual acts of racist whites which are the real problem or for that matter the individual acts of non-racist whites that are the solution to the problem. The problem and its solution lies in institutional racism. And we can only fix that, not by reforming it, but by replacing the entire system.
These are articles about the flag debate.