Monday, July 6, 2015
"Make no mistake: it is not heritage it is hate."
This is one of the best essays on the Confederate flag, written by a Christian southerner. Visit various right wing blogs or news sites and you'll read that people still defend the displaying of the Stars and Bars, insisting it's about heritage and nothing else. But Ingram knows otherwise and explains it plainly and with courage.
Below is an excerpt from his essay:
Heritage, Hate and the Juvenilization of Free Speech
by Stephen Ingrham
"Take the swastika for example. It was a symbol that was very prevalent in eastern religions and even early Christianity. You can find it in unbelievable amounts of ancient art, pottery and architecture. It was benign and decorative. That is the heritage and history of the swastika. That is until it was adopted by the SS and Hitler’s Nazi Germany. It is a symbol and the definition of that symbol changed, and changed dramatically. It was assigned a new definition, a definition of hate and genocide.
Here is the problem with the “it’s not racist, it is a symbol of our heritage” argument. It makes assumptions about the static nature of symbols that are simply wrong. The meaning of symbols are fluid, they are never static. When a majority of people understand the symbol to point to another definition then the definition of that symbol changes.
When KKK members adopted it as the symbol of their hate, it changed. When it was waved proudly as a banner for segregationists, it changed. When it became synonymous with burning crosses, white hoods and ropes thrown over magnolia trees looped around lifeless brown necks. It. Changed. When a 21 year old young man from South Carolina writes a manifesto on his website proclaiming in horrifying detail his hatred for all minorities, posts pictures clutching in one hand the rebel flag and a gun in the other just before he goes out and kills 9 innocent people in a prayer meeting… it changed.
If you want to wear the “stars and bars” on a t-shirt or hat, be my guest. If you want to fly it proudly on your lawn, go ahead. If you want to make it a law that it has to fly on the lawn of your state capitol, feel free.
But know this… When you do this you are throwing your lot in with racists, segregationists, white supremacists, neo-nazis, bigots and murderers. You will be counted, not among a group of people supposedly celebrating “heritage” but among those whose lips drip with the venom of hate.
You have free speech, that is true, but that speech is not without consequence. Consequences like what we saw a few days ago in Charleston. Let me be clear the rebel flag did not cause that man to kill those 9 people meeting for prayer and worship. It is just the primary symbol of a sick and vile sub-culture that produces people like that man who killed those 9 people meeting for prayer and worship.
I know that culture; I am a refugee and dissenter from it and an organizer against it. Make no mistake: it is not heritage it is hate."