Confederate Flag is a Symbol of Division
By Dr. RUFUS G.W SANDERS Special to USAfricaonline.com While driving home from a lecture that I had given at Terra College on the theories of cognitive development in adolescence
(the theories as developed by Swiss Psychologist, Jean Piaget), there it was.
On State route 6, just east of Pickerel Creek, and just before I got to Raccoon Creek,
I saw it. I couldn't believe my eyes. I had seen it before when traveling, especially in the South on lonely stretches of southern state highways. I had even seen it draped across grills of old chevy trucks, or plastered on stickers adoring bumpers. I have seen it at truck stops and souvenir shops, but I had never seen it like this before. There, to my surprise, atop a flag pole, just below the stars and stripes of Old Glory, definitely blazing in the torrid sub-degree frigid winds of Sandusky County was flying the bars, stripes and stars of the now defunct United States of the Confederacy. To add injury to insult, just below the flag on the ground, stood a boot Black statuette shrouded in snow. You know, the kind where depicted is a replica of a Black boy holding a lantern. I got the most eerie of feelings. It wasn't fear, as much as it was a combination of being appalled, aghast, ashamed, confused, and angry. Just to make sure about what I saw, I turned around and went back the next day. I wanted to be sure that right here outside of my hometown, which sits at one of the most northern points on the American north coast; I saw what I thought I had seen: a confederate flag. Well, I did see it. It was right there:
a confederate flag. I knew then that I had to give voice. I know the cry of supporters is that they are just appreciating their heritage. I know that they see the flag as a symbol of their history. Remarkably, some claim that it's supposed to be an appreciation for a genteel and nobel life of a bygone era. But what about the heritage of being oppressed, physically abused, sexually harassed, enslaved, manacled, exploited and millions of Blacks who were forced into a state of cultural decapitation and emotional estrangement; all in the name of the Confederate flag. In January of the year 2000, almost 46,000 people marched on the state capital of South Carolina to protest the issue of flying the Confederate battle flag over the South Carolina State house.
Rev. Dr. Martin King must have been turning over in his grave regarding the flaunting of this
segregationist flag. Why? Still 30 years after his death, the vestiges, symbols and paraphernalia of racial hatred continue to divide and cause havoc among the races. I had decided not to get emotionally involved in this issue. The fight between the supporters of the Confederate flag flying over the Charleston State house and the 60 percent of the South Carolina State population that oppose it; including their governor, had reached a crescendo as the Martin Luther King Day crowd marched in protest. The NAACP in a carefully orchestrated national boycott campaign of South Carolina's lucrative tourist industry had definitely made its point. The state has lost million of dollars in revenue just because a bunch of die-hard left over separatists won't let go of the past. I had even considered not vacationing in South Carolina this year just to honor the protest. The Confederates lost the American civil war and freedom prevailed. I am able to vacation in beautiful South Carolina, an engaging environment which Iappreciate. So I decided that I wouldn't comment on this issue hoping that it would work itself out. Hopefully, this resolution should happen by summer; just in time for the vacation season. I personally felt this issue was a no-brainer and it simply made no sense, especially in the world's greatest democracy, and especially in 21st century for segregationsist to flaunt their symbols of division. If the Confederate flag had never come down then segregation, discrimination, racial division would have continued to be accepted and practiced in this country as a way of life. Oppression of Black people would have been continued and continues to be legitimized as if it was the order of the day. The flag stood for racism and it still stands for racism. In the name of what the Confederate flag stood for innocent American people have been hanged, mutilated, murdered, dehumanized and rendered socially worthless. To those who say that by flying the flag they honor their Southern history; that's absolutely true. But it was a history that glamorized, glorified and romanticized hatred, racism, slavery and bigotry. And, I must say that any decent human being will tell you that that's not a history to be proud of. The only other American symbol that is worse than the Confederate flag is to see a white hooded individual, riding a horse in the dead of night; carrying a blazing torch in one hand, with Bible under shoulder, and a noose in the other hand. The civil war is over. The Confederate states lost the war. The confederate flag should come down not only in Charleston, but from a top any governmental building in The United States of America. It is the Stars and stripes of old glory that stands for union in this country. One union that is indivisible with freedom, liberty and justice for all.
Dr. Sanders, a Suffragan Bishop in the Pentecostal Assemblies of the world,
is the founder and the pastor of the Emmanuel Temple church in Sandusky, Ohio.
He holds a Ph.D in American Culture Studies and has served in many leadership
capacities in the organization that include national evangelist, international
youth leader and missionary to West Africa. He also serves contributing editor
of USAfricaonline.com, USAfrica The Newspaper, The Black Business Journal,
and www.BBJonline.com. Readers response will be published.
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