There’s been lots of things going on in the past few days. If you’ve miraculously managed to avoid all the news about America and, even more miraculously, if this is where you’re first going to hear about it, then I might as well recap it. The Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare should remain in the USA (It’d be lovely if the Tory Government thought that free healthcare should be for everyone as well, but more on that another time) gay marriage has been legalised across the United States and the Confederate Flag is being taken down everywhere that it is shown. On public property that is. Today I wanted to talk about my views of it, having lived in the UK all my life, also being white and having only visited America once for a week.
I think that people finally taking down the Confederate Flag after the South lost the Civil War 150 years ago this year is a good thing. Not just because I am really into strategy games and so I think that, when someone has been conquered, they should stay conquered and not be allowed to do this sort of half-arsed pseudo-resistance but because the Confederate Flag represents something slightly more important than “Southern Pride.”
The confederate flag, to an outsider, represents ignorance. It represents a certain pride in being racist and homophobic, and that you, as a Confederate Flag owner, as someone who in unhappy with a progressive society, working towards equality. I’ll cover what I think about equality and how to achieve it in another post but my general ruling is that “equality benefits us all.”
However, while I think it is important to get rid of symbols like the Confederate Flag in public places, and shame the people who proudly display it in their homes or where ever they choose, this is merely a distraction from a bigger issue, and some companies and people have proceeded with, what I would argue, are foolish actions that take even more attention away from the real reason why the flags are being taken down. Apple, most notably, removed all games displaying the confederate flag, which is slightly more ridiculous than Steve Ballmer’s comments on the introduction of the iPhone and slightly less ridiculous than the claim that global warming is a myth.
The thing is, in case it wasn’t obvious, the real issue here is about racism. I don’t think you can argue that racism doesn’t exist in the USA. I don’t think you can argue that anywhere is free from racism, providing you’re not just trying to take the piss and talk about another galaxy, that is. In my opinion, racism doesn’t have an easy fix. You can enact all the laws you want and put as many boots on the ground as humanly possible, but it’s not going to make every member of the KKK suddenly drop everything, be reborn and hug the nearest minority.
There is a certain degree of difficulty in even suggesting the right path to tread because it seems that the racists that seemingly infest the South of the USA are like the mobsters from the Godfather; always with a backup plan with enough people in their pocket to protect themselves, while being stubborn enough to continue their everyday lives while under scrutiny. I was going to say that education is probably the key to combatting it, but there are so many other factors. The working environment, family, the diversity of the area, etc. It doesn’t help that surrounding big events that are supposed to be sparks for national revolution, for example, the shooting of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson, are so much filled with misinformation and misguidance that no one can get a clear picture.
I feel like I have meandered around a point without saying a whole lot. Very similar to the story I was talking about, actually. I’ll conclude here as anything more I can say is fairly superfluous, but I will say this: One will not dismantle racism itself by taking away its current idols and its age old banner. Sooner or later, another symbol will be found and this cycle will repeat.