Lynyrd Skynyrd rebel flag flap has me thinking: How do you define racism?
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
O.K. Let me get this straight.
I’m reading the 189-comment thread under Lynyrd Skynyrd guru Greg Richter’s column on al.com last Friday about the band’s display-not-display-will-display-again saga over the Confederate Battle Flag.
The majority of the commentators are making the argument, some quite vehemently, that the rebel flag is not a pro-slavery symbol of racism. They say it represents nothing more than pride in Southern heritage and culture.
But then – and here’s the rub – a good number of them go on to make racially-charged comments that imply that white Americans are racially superior and, therefore, justified in their relatively high economic and social status—gained over several centuries in this country by oppressing Native Americans, people of African descent and other racial and ethnic groups (more or less my definition of "racism").
Before you get angry about what I just said, take a minute to scroll through the thread.
There is AlphaRaptor stating "I know rap is definitely NOT music. it’s just jungle beats with idiots flapping their gums," in a section juxtaposing rap to Southern rock.
There is hsvsmallbusiness, who starts by saying that, for many Southerners, the rebel flag represents "heritage and a part of their history."
But later he makes sweeping generalizations about African Americans and asks "Why should we respect the African Americans for holding onto this for 150 years. This is their problem and not mine if they want to let what happened 150 years make them feel inferior. My heart bleeds for them. (sniffle sniffle)"
Here’s the deal. I understand the rage some whites feel when they hear African Americans complain about "racism." I know many whites feel a huge double standard exists when it comes to even talking about race.
I get that.
But I do not believe you can have your cake and eat it too, as the saying goes. You cannot believe you are inherently superior and then not expect others to "call you out on it."
That’s my view, though; nothing more than my view, and I am interested in learning how others feel about this topic.
I want to know what you think, Montgomery, and I have one very specific question, for all readers: How do you define the word racist?
And, specifically for white readers, I’d like to hear you respond to this: How do you feel when someone calls you racist?
If you are open to showing decorum in how you communicate, I would love to hear from you. Be candid. Share your true feelings. Be racist, even!
I just ask that you show an attempt at peaceful dialogue.
O.K. It’s time to chat. Looking forward to hearing from you!
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