I have friends who have been arguing that the history of the Confederate Flag is important and that just because “some” people display it in a racist manner doesn’t mean that’s what it stands for. I was about to engage in a debate about this when I stopped myself. As a Real Live Black Person™, I am here to say, the intended history doesn’t matter at all because the current context is racist. Whether you, white person, want it to be or not.
As a Real Live Black Person™, when I walk into a space that is displaying the Confederate Flag proudly, unabashedly, it makes me cringe. I know in that very instant that I should not be there because I am not the right color for the room. That the only reason I am there is because I was invited and it is not a place for people with my complexion. That I should leave as quickly as possible.
As a Real Live Black Person™, when I see it on cars or hanging from homes I know that even if the person I’m talking to is my friend or relative (by marriage) and they care for me, that they have used the word nigger to describe a black person many times. I know that even if they won’t harm me for the color of my skin, they know someone who will.
As a Real Live Black Person™, when I interact with people wearing shirts or carrying keychains with this flag or have tattoos of it I am on guard. I can’t relax and simply enjoy the conversation because at any moment, something ignorant is likely to tumble from their mouths and I will have to react quickly. So I have to be ever vigilant and protective of my emotional wellbeing. If my children are present, because sometimes, this is family, I have to be mindful of where they are and what people are saying in front of them.
These are some of the hardships that a Real Live Black Person™ deals with when faced with the Confederate Flag. A flag that was used to identify an army sent to fight for the right to own people who looked like me. Which is why arguing what the colors “really” stand for is ridiculous because the side it flew over stood for the enslavement of black people.
This didn’t happen in a void. No one whispered to me that this is what this flag stands for. This was learned from years on this Earth. I learned it. So did many other people of color.
So, white person, do you stand for that? Is that image you want to portray? If it is, then keep keeping on. If it isn’t, maybe you should step back and question why you’re so adamantly in support of this flag.