After acknowledging the deaths of nine Black South Carolinians whom terrorist Dylann Roof murdered last Wednesday inside the Emanuel AME church, the dispute in removing the archaic Southern-based Confederate flag became of great concern again. Roof wore and carried the flag, as shown in photographs, and while currently under custody has admitted to being one of the low percentage of American that still follows White supremacy, a misguided and racist lifestyle.
When the American and South Carolina flags were lowered at the top of the state house’s dome, in memory of the nine victims of Charleston, the Confederate (sometimes nicknamed the “rebel flag”), remained atop of a pole that stands outside of the house, flying high in the sky. 2015 wouldn’t be the first year residents of South Carolina have asked the government to remove the flag for its pro-segregation and racist ties, but this year would be the first that real action had been made to abolish it from such blatant, public view.
Today, the Republican Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley announced that she along with many Carolianians and on behalf of the state’s government that the Confederate flag should be removed from “state grounds”.
Back in 1999, Chris Rock actually visited the “Palmetto State” for his eponymous HBO series to ask around about it. How real or staged it was, it was meant to be filmed in exposing the divide between White people thinking the past should be the past, that it also represents Southern pride, and the flag hung, the Black people who participated preferred it just go away. And the segment was also extremely presented in a way to make fun of the South as hillbilly to a fault.
Watching this in 2015, the clip isn’t being re-shared to make light of Roof’s malicious spree. Sixteen years later, Rock’s show, and in using a dose of dark humor, displays the absurdity of how why the Confederate flag was allowed to fly so high in the first place. There must be other ways to express Southern pride and in a way that doesn’t directly or indirectly celebrate or uphold racism.
Also, back when the legendary kings of Southern rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd appeared on CNN to discuss their 2012 album The Last of a Dying Breed, members of the group denounced the rebel flag they once used as a prop and badge for their Southern roots. Because in the years since their formation, the flag became notorious for skinhead usage and White supremacy, the band didn’t want to be wrongfully associated as racists. During the interview they acknowledged that they were influenced by the origins of blues music and its iconic Black artists like Ray Charles and that they were simply proud to be Americans.
Watch the clip of their interview below:
*UPDATE* Wal-Mart locations in South Carolina have agreed to remove and no longer sell any products or items with the Confederate flag on it.