A year to the today after Heather Heyer was murdered at the first “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, and a short distance from the very church Dylann Roof executed nine people at while they attended a bible study. A crime committed simply because they we people of color, these men, with remarkable earnestness told me, “ This flag isn’t about racism. It’s about history.” The truth is history as a narrative has always been a construction of the butcher. Common American history is wrought with oversight regarding the genocide of indigenous peoples in the name of westward expansion. The annexation of Hawaii was an imperialist maneuver in the most classic use of the word. But history books rarely look at that.
Those who say the Civil War wasn’t about slavery contort a fundamental truth. The claim it was about states rights miss the vital point. Southern States wished to retain the right to dehumanize black individuals into cheap labor machines so they could continue to garner financial wealth at the expense of human rights and dignity.
Those flags, and many of the monuments erected were raised years after the war when black community’s began to mobilize for greater rights. Those symbols were message for people of color to remember their “historic place”. Racism is systemic. It is wrapped into the fabric of America, and the long held privileges White Americans hold is the lineage of that. This country is not equal, and to say that the Confederate flag is not about racism is to turn a blind on the history of its meaning, its weaponization, and the continuing legacy of persecution for anyone who wasn’t born into straight white male skin.
This culture teaches us to be racist. And the sole hope for dismantling that lies in the daily reflection of each of us as individuals. To break the cycle of dehumanization, fear, and otherness we all must shatter what our history has instilled into our collective DNA. #wanderings