Removing the confederate flag is not enough to end America’s problem with racism

By T.8.S (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

By T.8.S (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

Charleston, SC (TFC) – When South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley called for the removal of the Confederate Flag that sits on the grounds of the State House, many Americans rejoiced. In her speech Haley said, “We are not going to allow this symbol to divide us along longer. … The fact that it causes so [much] pain is enough to move it from the capitol grounds.” The removal may have the support of many on the left as well as many GOP presidential candidates, but the flag is just a symbol, and simply removing that symbol will do little to cure America’s racism problem.

The Confederate flag does not hold a seat in Congress; it writes no laws. By removing Confederate flag merchandise from their online inventory, Amazon is not getting rid of racism. It will take serious, and tough debate to remove the racial tension that often divides America, and that conversation can’t resort to hyperbole and insanity.

Imagine a headline that reads “Black man kills eight in theater,” or a story titled, “Black Americans must answer for gang violence.” Twitter would explode; the author would be labelled a racist, and the publication that posted the story would be boycotted. But when white people are told they are responsible for racist crimes there are no repercussions, just hypocrisy. White Americans marched with African Americans in Charleston in a show of support, and abhorred the crime. To demand every white person apologize for the actions of an individual, who is a member of the same race, is beyond preposterous.

On June 18th, Salon.com posted a story titled Charleston church massacre: The violence white America must answer for. On Saturday in a story republished from Alternet, a piece titled White America is complicit: Charleston, Dylann Roof and the country’s real race war, the author used historical racism to blame white America for the actions of Dylann Roof because the actions of one individual, is the responsibility of an entire race. Roof didn’t act alone; every white person in America stood behind him; which means all African Americans are responsible for gang violence, like all Muslims are responsible for Islamic terrorism.

But wait; in 2013, Salon published a story by a Wajahat Ali after the Boston Bombing that read in part, “The Tsarnaev brothers’ criminal and perverse actions do not speak for me or the overwhelming majority of Muslims. I am not compelled to apologize for them or explain their actions.”

Liberals can’t have it both ways. They can’t single out an entire race for individual actions, and then turn around to defend an entire religion from acts of extremism, but they can sure try. They cater to the social justice warrior who blames all white people for every societal ill, and in the case of one writer; they decide to not have children so they won’t pass on “privilege.”

In a story republished by The Huffington Post, Ali Michael wrote about how she “learned about the history of racism made me hate myself, my Whiteness, my ancestors… and my descendants,” and decided not to have biological children because she didn’t want to pass on the privilege of being white. Michael further drowned herself in shame by remembering her year living with a black family in South Africa where she learned, “the lesson for me is remembering how deep the pain is, the pain of realizing I’m White, and that I and my ancestors are responsible for the incredible racialized mess we find ourselves in today.”

It is one thing to recognize the past and current crimes of racism, and to have regret for the way African Americans have been treated throughout history, but Michael, and the others who are drenched in white guilt were not in the crowd as African Americans were being lynched; they didn’t harass the African American family moving into a white neighborhood. White liberals are right to acknowledge the history of white racism, but to go to the extreme to condemn whiteness makes them look insane and foolish; preventing any serious discussion and change.

These liberals make blanket claims of racism when it comes to award shows, or a joke made by a comedian. They spend way too much time on social media shaming people instead of having honest and truthful conversations that are actually good for country. The entire point in all of this is to put a target on all “privileged” white men as the grand oppressor who is at war with black America, even when the enemy doesn’t match their description.

In Roof’s manifesto, the killer cited the Trayvon Martin case as the event that inspired him to awaken his racist views. He claimed Zimmerman was in the right, and decided to look up black on white crime to prove his racist points. The problem with all of that is the fact that the liberal media, upon hearing of the news, painted the exchange as a white on black crime, even though Zimmerman’s mother is Peruvian. Zimmerman looked white, or was white enough to fit the narrative, so when he became involved in the death of Trayvon Martin the media instinctively portrayed the case as another evil white man killing an innocent black kid. That racial baiting seeped into the warped mind of an angry kid who started to believe that blacks are “stupid and violent.”

The race baiting did not start with the Zimmerman case, and it hasn’t stopped. Meet the Press showed only black men when they do a story on murderers, and historically, the mainstream media helped portray the evils of drug use by filming scary black men. Decades later the same system showed Ferguson and Baltimore on fire, while legitimate and peaceful protest was taking place to right the wrongs and eviscerate a racist system of murder and control.

The racism is seen is the fact African Americans are incarcerated nearly six times the rate of whites. When combined with Hispanics, African Americans make up 58% of America’s prison population, furthermore; even with similar rates of drug use, more African American’s are in jail for non violent drug offenses than whites. Sadly, racial disparities don’t exist just in the criminal justice system.

African Americans average 60% less in median income compared to whites; on average more whites own homes than blacks, and the unemployment rate of African Americans is more than double than the rate of whites.  To claim racism is dead because the president is African American is completely non-factual, and to blame all white Americans for these disparities won’t fix a damn thing.

America’s first black president is in office while labor participation in the black community has declined in record numbers. He could end the drug war, and return non-violent African Americans home, but he refuses to do that. America’s police continue to kill unarmed Americans like John Crawford III, Walter Scott, and Ezell Ford, with no work being done to end police brutality.  And conservatives claim Roof’s attack was not racist.

Fox News infamously wondered if the attack was rooted in a distaste of Christianity, in a sad attempt to prove America is at war with Christianity, even though Roof was photographed with a flag of Rhodesia on his shirt, and claimed black people rape white women before he started his rampage. Presumed GOP nominee for president, Jeb Bush was quoted as saying, “I don’t know what was on the mind or the heart of the man who committed these atrocious crimes.” Before retracting his statement and saying the attack was rooted in racism, Rick Santorum echoed Fox’s sentiment by calling the shooting an attack on “religious liberty.”

This denial didn’t just pop up after Roof went on his killing spree; during the protests in Baltimore, Bill O’Reilly cited the prevalence of African Americans in government and employment statistics to put the blame on the laps of the people in Baltimore. The problem is, O’Reilly failed to mention how the system causes unemployment and the lack of economic opportunity.

In his 2013 book title Stuck In Place, NYU Sociologist Patrick Sharkey found young African Americans between the ages of 13 and 28 are ten times more likely to live in poor neighborhoods than young whites; 48% of black families have lived in poor neighborhoods for two generations; compared to 7% of white families. With American schools declining in segregation, poor black children are being educated with other poor children; which suppresses the child’s performance. Having illiterate parents, and inadequate housing also prevents children from getting quality education.

The American government, locally and federally have put barriers in front of African Americans that don’t exist for white families. That is fact, and even though personal responsibility is a good virtue to have; it doesn’t guarantee wealth and success. To ignore those barriers is dishonest.

Removing a flag won’t eliminate racism, and neither will seeing racism in everything, or denying racism still exists. The nine people murdered should be honored by honest, wide ranging social change and that won’t come until America opens its eyes.