This past Friday was a milestone in South Carolina history. On Friday, July 10, 2015, the Confederate flag that flew above the South Carolina Statehouse was officially removed. This is a huge feat and step towards change for not only the state of South Carolina, but for the United States as a whole. The removal had followed the tragic massacre of 9 African Americans at Emanuel A.M.E. church during bible study, by the seriously demented Dylann Roof. This tragedy and form of domestic terrorism was just another thing on the list of racial acts that landed South Carolina in the hot seat. Many of you will remember the fatal shooting of Walter Scott, a black man, by police earlier this year in April. South Carolina has been making many changes and moves toward positive change as a result of these incidents. I can personally say I have passed the Emanuel church several times as it is only down the street from my summer internship. When you pass the church, you see an overwhelming amount of support and condolences lining the sidewalk. This terrible incident was a wake up call for many people that America has not come as far as they would like to think and that there are many flaws that need refining.
The Confederate flag is something that I have always had a passionate hate for. I find it very hard to understand how one can support a symbol of such hatred, racism, and violence. No matter how you try to spin it, this flag was, and is, a symbol of White Supremacy. For example, the emblem has, and is still currently being used by the Klu Klux Klan and other racist groups. I have had white friends in the past wear shirts, hats or other paraphernalia with the flag on it. Some may have even had the flag on their car. Seeing these things has made me question their friendship as well as their views. Its hard for me to wrap my mind around the idea that you can wear and support an image of racism, but you can still be friends with me. I don’t know if this is the right way to view it, but that is how I see it and I’m sure I am not alone on that. The confederate flag has been taken down from the South Carolina Statehouse grounds and is housed in a history room, but this flag still flies high in many parts of this country. Its presence is still very visible especially in the former Confederate South. In many southern state’s flags you can see the Confederate flag influence via the bars and stars formats.
The Confederate flag has caused longtime debates and schisms in the past and I’m sure there are many more to come. Getting rid of the Confederate flag completely is hard for many people to wrap their minds around amongst supporters and non-supporters alike because this flag is filled with so much history. Flag supporters believe that getting rid of the flag will be a move toward getting rid of their history. The way I see it, is that getting rid of a flag will not write off all of the wrongs and injustices that have been done against blacks and other minorities. Getting rid of the flag will not illicit World Peace. But, getting rid of the Confederate flag restores my hope in the US and it gives me hope that maybe one day, racism, discrimination and white supremacy will all be things of the past.