Thursday, June 25, 2015
How the War on Confederate Symbolism Contributes to Racial Tension
But even a very large reward would yield very little, since there really is no connection at all.
Amid all the news stories showing politicians striking Politically Correct poses for the cameras was one which captured the full significance of the debate over Confederate imagery: Warner Bros. has decided it will no longer sell toys and models of the car featured in the old Dukes of Hazzard television show (which the boys called "General Lee") which sported a Confederate flag on the roof.
We all know how many Black deaths resulted from people watching the Duke boys and going out on shooting sprees. Don't we?
Nobody is going to be hurt by the continued flying of the Confederate flag or statehouses and neither will they be helped. Not a single Black will be better off because Warner Bros. is discontinuing the use of the Confederate symbol--any more than eliminating Confederate imagery anywhere else will.
In fact, it does the exact opposite.
Giving in to demands to eliminate Confederate symbols not only does not help race relations, it hurts them. To continue to capitulate to what amount to political fashion statements devoid of any substance is to continue to feed racial tensions.
The groups that demand removal of the Confederate flag and the elimination of other Confederate symbols are groups that thrive on such tensions, which is why they aggravate them at every possible opportunity. They are a part of what George F. Will once called the "indignation industry." Racial grandstanders like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, and groups such as the NAACP (a group which used to actually help Blacks) would literally go out of business if racial tensions diminished. Consequently they have to constantly be ginning up false crises and pointing to imaginary racism they say all Whites harbor.
The only people the war on Confederate imagery helps are those in whose interest it is for Blacks and Whites to be at each other's throats. For many of these people, racial harmony would be bad for business.
Which is why capitulating to demands to remove Confederate symbols does one thing and one thing only: It enables the very racial animosities which we all say we should get over.
We've eliminated actual racists who, with only a handful of irrelevant exceptions, don't even exist anymore, so what else is there to do than attack regional symbols while pretending that they are a threat? It keeps the cause alive—and the donations coming in.
The Confederate flag long ago ceased to be thought of as a racist symbol, leaving its only symbolism that of regional pride. Their civilization destroyed and its homes and cities burned, Southerners have always harbored a healthy distrust of the centralized political power that was one of the unintended consequences of the Civil War. The Confederate flag is now little more than a statement of rebellion against Washington, DC.
If you want to throw gasoline on the rebellious spirit of the people whose flag symbolizes the spirit of rebellion, go after the Confederate flag. If you've ever been to South Carolina, you'll know what I mean. These are, after all, the very people who started the Civil War in the first place.
Of course, if you set these people off, then they'll get mad. And if they get mad, then they'll start defending themselves. And if they start defending themselves, then that will be pointed to as evidence of continuing racism. And if people believe there is continuing racism, then racial tensions will be aggravated.
But then that was the whole point. Wasn't it?