That Flag….That Word

It struck me the other day just how ironic, how decidedly appropriate it is, that the these two warring clans should have the same issue.  I doubt that either of them view it that way, and I equally doubt that they would appreciate the irony of the situation.  But I see it and appreciate it.

That Flag…..the stars and bars symbol of the Confederate States of America, and racism

That Word…..the “N” word, used familiarly by blacks and disparagingly by whites.

The issue is that both That Flag and That Word are viewed by those who use it one way, and by the rest of the word in another way.  There are those who genuinely view that Flag as a symbol of a cultural heritage that included civility, gentility, leisure, family, and a familiarity of structure.  It represents those who fought bravely and valiantly for a cause they believed in, to defend their land and their homes and their way of life.

To those not of that heritage, it represents rampant and undisguised race hatred.  It’s the face of the KKK, lynchings, an exceptionally overt symbol espousing white dominance over blacks and others.  It’s a reminder of the time when some people were only 3/5 a person (if that), that they were property not people, and that even after the war had second class (or worse) status.  It’s a surrogate for a swastika where the swastika is banned, and where the people who use it have no link to the South.

That Word, the N word, to the blacks that use is, is a term of familiarity and comradery, of common community and common heritage.  It is appropriating a term and making it theirs to defuse the original power of it and appropriating it.

To those not of the black heritage, it is word of hatred, of racial animus old and new.  The word harkens to an inferior, lower, baser class of people, and when used is intended to degrade one person in the eyes of another.

Both groups claim the right the define the flag and the word as they want.  And both fail to see just how hateful, how hurtful, the flag is and the word is.  They are so wrapped up in their own biases and prejudices that they can’t see the dangers and impacts of their approach.

Ironic that views of both the Confederate flag and the N-word can be so similar and so wildly different. It’s a shame that the two groups have to hold on to items that express such extreme hurt and are unfortunately sowing the seeds for future generations of anger and dissent.

It’s a shame both symbols can’t go away for the good of all.

confederate-flag-722            n-word


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