So many flags representing oppression. So many needing replacement. Let’s get moving!
[Originally posted to my Facebook Notes about 5 years ago. Slightly updated]
In some ways I have difficulty with the “remove the flag” movement.
Not that I think the Confederate flag shouldn’t be removed. To the contrary, I have never understood the purpose of flying the flag of traitors, racists, and slaveholders.
But one of the difficulties I have is that every European country’s flags, plus the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as any flags of every colonized country that is rooted in colonialist history has also represented oppression, and have a much longer history of it than the Confederate flag.
For black Americans, the Confederate flag represents the evils of slavery and Jim Crow. But what does the current American flag represent to the indigenous peoples that we have nearly wiped out? What does the British flag represent to the colonies that won their independence only in the past 50–100 years? And what about Spain’s? Every European country in some way participated in colonialism. Several of them held slaves, [tho not quite so long as the US]; and nearly every non-European country except Japan and North Korea were in one way or another colonized by whites.
I say “nearly” only because my memory isn’t the best.
The American flag is designed to reflect the 13 colonies — that is, the theft of land from native peoples and ultimately their near genocide. How can we stand by and NOT talk about the history of oppression represented by THAT flag?
Now, my intent is not to dilute the discussion of the Confederate flag. I am not out to deflect from that and “seize the day” away from the pain black Americans are feeling right now. We must keep the primary mission in focus. At the same time we need to give a nod to the fact that, while the USA, as represented by the worst of international attitudes, is the major…