On June 17th, another painful chapter in our country’s history of race relations was written. A white, racist, domestic terrorist named Dylann Roof shot and killed 9 people (including a state senator) at a historical black church with strong links to the civil rights movement. This most recent tragedy is just another in a line of mass shootings by young, white men. The main difference is that this time, it was clearly motivated by race (Roof himself admits to that) and it is now drawing one of the standing symbols of Southern pride into the question, the battle flag of the confederacy during the Civil War.
What most people know as the confederate flag was never actually adopted by the confederate government, it was only the flag carried into battle by the rebel armies. While some people see it as a symbol of southern pride and history, it has most frequently been used by hate-groups as a symbol against the civil rights movement and for segregation. Regardless how those who aren’t racist see it, it is one of the most widely recognized and used symbols of racial hate and white power. Now the entire state is being lambasted by the media and internet for allowing the confederate flag to wave in a position of such high importance, leading to the state legislature facing increasing pressure from people around the country to get with the times and remove this symbol of hatred from the public view.
Making the entire controversy around the confederate battle flag even more painful is the fact that the flag wasn’t flown at half mast after the massacre. Since the shooting, South Carolina residents have been rallying in an attempt to get the flag taken down permanently and multiple politicians have come out in favor of the same, including the state governor. Unfortunately, it’ll take a 2/3s majority in the state legislature to remove the flag due to state laws and while that certainly seems likely, it won’t happen until it actually does.
If you’d like to read more, the link is here.