Living black in two Americas

photo credit: 222 - Columbia, South Carolina via photopin (license)
photo credit: 222 - Columbia, South Carolina via photopin (license)
photo credit: 222 – Columbia, South Carolina via photopin (license)

One country. Two different Americas. One nation. Two flags. All this equals to a racially-divided United States. There is the symbol of freedom that this country celebrates every 4th of July in which one flag represents. Oppression, the perpetuation of slavery and advocacy of white supremacy reflect the other. There is no middle ground for America and its people on this topic.

You either stand on the side of liberty and justice for all or cling to the idea that the white race is the master race, and is therefore, the superior race to all others. This is what the Confederate flag stands for.  Hate. Race superiority. Enslavement. Master. Servant. The segregation of races. Black. White. Everything about the Confederate flag represents a past that not only hurts people.

It kills. We saw the symbol of that flag come to fruition in the Charleston, South Carolina massacre that saw nine praying, God-fearing black people, holding a prayer service lose to their lives to a demon that proudly rallied around the Confederate flag and all of its infamous history of maiming, lynching and terror.

Race still matters in this country. And until our leaders have the guts to call it like it is, there are going to be more Charleston, South Carolina episodes where a white murderous gunman cut down nine black people during a prayer and worship service at the historic Emanuel AME Church. His motivation? To start a race war so that black people could ultimately be exterminated.

The Bible says there is nothing new under the sun. The actions of Dylann Roof in going abut killing Emanuel AME Church  Pastor Rev. Clementa  C. Pickney and eight of his members is akin to the same terrorist act committed against the Four Little Girls 52 years ago in a Birmingham, Alabama church.

photo credit: TSLAC Historic Flag Being Installed at the Bullock Museum 2.21.13 via photopin (license)
photo credit: TSLAC Historic Flag Being Installed at the Bullock Museum 2.21.13 via photopin (license)

It is the same bigoted hatred that played out during the Jim Crow era where segregation reigned and took out celebrated civil rights leaders Medgar Evers and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

That hatred has manifested itself into a new generation of hate-mongers like Roof. Symbolic of that deep-seeded evil is the Confederate flag.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Ku Klux Klan, League of the South and Loyal White Knights are one of 19 labeled extremists groups in South Carolina. Did any of these groups have anything to do with the Emanuel AME Church massacre? No. But the linkage to white supremacy and hate through the Confederate flag puts Roof in that same company.

The flag not only needs to be taken down. It should be burned and banished forever. Let me put it like this: The Confederate flag has the same dangerous and unfathomable meaning of degradation and destruction to African Americans as does the swastika present a history of pain, torture and death to Jewish survivors who went through the Holocaust.

Why is the Confederate flag is such a dammed entity to black folks? It’s because that flag became tied to the Confederacy after the South’s defeat to the North in the Civil War. The South promoted and wanted slavery to continue to be a way of life. It is still being rubbed in our faces today.

The last time I checked, black people are not looking to the future to go back in chains. We’re not going back to the back of the bus. The Confederate flag represents nothing but the unyielding base of terrorism and intimidation against African Americans in this country. The Charleston massacre is the just the latest  example of this.

150620184023_dylann_roof_624x351_arquivopessoal_nocreditIn recent years, we’ve seen it play out in police brutality or excessive force used in the deaths of Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Oscar Grant, Ezell Ford and others. Black men die, white cops get off. You have private citizens like George Zimmerman (Trayvon Martin) and Michael Dunn (Jordan Davis) who believe they can kill a black man and get away with it. Zimmerman walked. Dunn went to prison.

Rice, Garner, Brown, Grant, and Ford received a permanent death sentence. Roof got a free Burger King lunch from his arresting officers, according to New York Magazine.

This isn’t rocket science. There is a reason why all of these race-tinged incidents, including unrest in Ferguson and Baltimore, have erupted. There is an underlying message to the death-grip that has choked race relations in this country. It is the subtle, yet still manifested hate for African Americans that resonates in this country like a ticking time bomb.

Look around. You don’t see young Asian American or Jewish kids being slaughtered by law enforcement. The President of our country, a black man, has been disparaged and ridiculed with racial epithets since he ran for the Oval Office.

He is not running around having extramarital affairs. He hasn’t started an illegal war. Yet, President Obama is the most reviled leader of the free world in the history of our nation. Why? Because he is a black man.

Yet we have the audacity to say without utter repentance that we are “one nation under God.” Really? Just because we live under the same roof doesn’t mean we’re all family. Those who hoist the Confederate flag, like Roof, make that very clear.

They say to us that we are not one.  And as long as the Confederate flag is allowed to continue to fly above the Star Spangled Banner, the consciousness of the United States will be forever enslaved to be a divisive nation, not a peaceful one.

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1057 Articles
Dennis covers the NFL (San Diego Chargers), NBA (Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers), Major League Baseball (Los Angeles Dodgers) and NCAA sports (USC, UCLA, Long Beach State). As a professional journalist, Dennis has also covered and written on topics such as civil rights, politics and social justice. Dennis is a graduate of Howard University.