With the recent news of our United States Marine Corps banning all symbolism of the Confederate States of America and NASCAR taking a similar stance, the debate surrounding the celebration or “remembrance” of the Confederate has been sparked all over again but I believe heading into a new decade we finally open our eyes and end the acceptance of the Confederacy in our state. To begin, I would like to say that despite all of its flaws I love being from the South and being an American from the hospitality of the people to the beauty of the outdoors I’m sure my southern upbringing has made me the young man I am today. Recognizing that the Confederacy and its top generals and flags represent the oppression of African-American people, betrayal of our nation, and one of many stains of America’s past and it is a shame that in 2020 we have schools, statues, and even entire counties named after Confederate leaders.
One of the biggest arguments against disowning the Confederacy is the tagline “heritage not hate” however, the Confederate States of America does not represent the over 200 years of the American South as the Confederacy lasted less than 5 years from beginning to end. Their wasn’t generations of Confederacy citizens but their was several generations of the institution they fought so hard to protect which was slavery. Slavery was one of the key parts of the Confederacy’s society economic and socially speaking and is undeniably a reason the Civil War happened between the United States and the Confedrate States of America. As a Black person who can still see the effects of 500 years of slavery and racism in our country understanding that the top officials of the Confederate did not see my great-great grandparents as equal human beings makes me disgusted to the fact that their are several black students that have to go to a school that the President of that very institution gets its name from. It is a shame that in a state that is home to Martin Luther King Jr., Andrew Young, and Savannah’s very own Mathilda Beasley we have schools named after the notoriously racist Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee.
Given the political climate of today, there are plenty of reasonable things to disagree on when it comes to how our country should be run however this is not one of them. You can love being from the South without being a Confederate sympathizer. You can admit your family made mistakes and was wrong without disowning them. The Stars and Bars represents something much more sinister to Black people as hate groups such as when members Ku Klux Klan used it to bomb a church in Birmingham and when Dylann Roof went in and shot 9 people within a church and they also had an affixation with the same flag someone claims to represent 5 years of someone’s “heritage”. We should not celebrate the days of the Confederacy and we do not need to give recognition on a public level for the higher officials involved in such bloodshed.
I do not believe in the erasure of history because if you erase history you cannot learn from it but, I also know that flying these symbols of racial oppression and American disloyalty and proudly honoring people who played a major role in that is not the way to go if we plan to move forward in this country. There is a reason we create museums and that is in order to remember the history of such historical events it does not need to go beyond that. With everything going on right now with protests in streets and everyone spending more time inside their home than they would like it is time we reflect and think about what we can do to make our country better in the future.
Devonte King –Hinesville