Thursday, June 18, 2020

Southern Heritage and the Confederacy

As someone who was born and raised in the Midwest, I had no idea how deeply rooted southern heritage was until I moved to North Carolina.  I learned about the Civil War in school but the Confederacy lost---case closed. But no----that is not the case and as I quickly learned, southern heritage means something totally different for Whites born in the South than it does for Blacks.

I've never seen one black person with a confederate flag waving from their pickup truck or from a flag pole at their home, however, the "Stars and Bars," as it's called, can be seen in many rural areas and on  1 in 5 pickup trucks with someone who looks like a redneck (stereotype I know) behind the wheel.

When NASCAR announced, a few weeks ago, that they were banning the confederate flag from ALL of their sporting events, that was a MAJOR move because their biggest supporters seemed to be from redneckville (another stereotype I know), who waved their flags proudly.  But then I thought, that's just the tip of the iceberg.  If real change is going to be made, it's time to get rid of everything connected to the confederacy, including the statues of confederate generals that stand proudly in many southern states and renaming the buildings named for those losers. 

Army Bases:
Ft Lee (VA):  Named after General Robert E. Lee
Ft. Bragg (NC):  Named after General Braxton Bragg, who I understand was one of the absolute WORST!
Ft. Hood (TX):  Named after General John Bill Hood
Ft. Benning (GA):  Named after General Henry Benning (lawyer turned soldier)
Ft. Gordon (GA):  Named after General John Brown Gordon (who went on to be elected to the U.S. Senate in 1872 and reportedly the head of the GA chapter of the KKK)
Ft. Rucker (ALA):  Named after Colonel Edmund Rucker

A side note:  A law passed under former NC Governor Pat McCrory restricts moving confederate statues on government owned property.  An Alabama law makes the removal of confederate monuments illegal.

If you want to know how many colleges and universities are impacted, click here: Schools

 And while we're talking about statues, let's not forget about the one located at the Supreme Court Justice building of Former Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, who was famous for his argument in the Dred Scott vs. Sanford decision in 1857.  In his opinion (as part of the majority) he wrote: Scott was a slave and as such was not a citizen and could not sue in Federal Court.  Taney's further opinion was that Congress had no power to exclude slavery from the territories and that Negros could not become citizens.

Now I am certainly not advocating that all statues be removed and destroyed (even though the South lost) but they can be put in a Museum similar to the artifacts in the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Perhaps it's time for those white southerners, who believe their heritage is tied to the confederacy, to re-think how they view their heritage and what TREASON really means.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

The Marriage Between NASCAR and the Confederate Flag is Over

As a 60-something year-old woman, I used to say I never thought I'd see the day when we would actually elect a black man for President.  Then, lo and behold, young people in this country decided it was time for REAL CHANGE and galvanized to elect Barack Obama as our 44th Commander-in-Chief.

Another thing I never thought I'd live to see was the dissolution of the relationship between NASCAR and the confederate flag. That happened on this date June 10, 2020.
The move came after the only black driver on the NASCAR circuit, Bubba Wallace, came out two days earlier urging officials to ban the flag from all events. (I have to admit I didn't know he was black with a name like Bubba) But it's like that old E.F Hutton commercial, remember:  "When E.F. Hutton Speaks, people listen..."

NASCAR statement

"The presence of the confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry. Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sport special. The display of the confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties.”

What I found interesting about this statement is that it called their events a "welcoming and inclusive environment for ALL fans..." and that the flag was a deterrent.  I don't know about you but I never thought of NASCAR as a welcoming environment for anyone other than lower class and rural whites.  I certainly could be wrong about that but at the one and ONLY race I ever went to I felt like I was in the midst of a KKK rally and everyone communicated  like they only went as far as the 6th grade. I've never understood why the flag was always associated with their sports racing events. 

But now NASCAR has jumped on the bandwagon of those companies who are attempting to march in step with the current climate of the country.   For more than two weeks (as of this writing), people have taken to the streets all over the country and around the world to demand justice for the police killing for George Floyd and against systemic racism.  Young, old, black, white, Asian and Latino are raising one shared voice, which hasn't been heard in more than 50 years.

This is a good move for NASCAR but I'm wondering what the fallout will be.  You see, the confederacy still has a stronghold in some places, primarily the South. And NASCAR is REALLY BIG in Darlington, SC, Ridgeville, VA (Martinsville Speedway), Charlotte, NC (Charlotte Motor Speedway) to name a few.  

Stay tuned for the next episode because as well all know there can be something called "reconciliation." After all, when you have a 70 plus year history with something, is it really that easy to just walk away?

Saturday, June 06, 2020

The Millennial Uprising

Uprising:  An act of resistance or rebellion; a revolt

More than 40 years ago I was a member of a young generation who took to the streets to protest for affirmative action and against the Vietnam War.  Before me, my parents were part of the March on Washington---that eventually led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Now the torch has been passed on to my millennial daughter and Generation Z grandson who are among tens of thousands (perhaps millions) of people who have become part of a new uprising:  Equal Justice under the Law. 


Who wasn't stunned, appalled, outraged, hurt, sad, or horrified by what they witnessed for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in a video on Memorial Day 2020?  How many white people were downright ashamed or embarrassed by the actions of the white police officer?  How many blacks were terrified that they, or someone they know, could become the next victim.  The whole world has seen the video of Derek Chauvin pressing his knee on the neck of George Floyd (They called him Perry, Jr.) as he lay face down, handcuffed, and grasping for air.  As a mother and grandmother of a young black male, I burst into tears upon hearing him call out for his "mama" after learning his mother had passed away two years ago.

26-year-old Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in her own home by police after some phony drug sting and shot her eight times.  25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was jogging when he was hunted down like an animal by two white vigilantes who claim they saw  him steal something from a house under construction in their neighborhoods I was on grief and anger overload---just like the overwhelming majority of blacks.  I felt compelled to pick up where I left off in the 1970's but because of COVID-19 and my underlying condition, I was limited in my outside activities.  But then I started to see a shift.  Young people everywhere were starting to take a stand against the injustices they were seeing, reading, and hearing about.  Since the murder of Floyd, they have taken to the streets in droves and the beautiful thing is, depending on what city the media shows, young whites outnumber other races. And surprisingly, some of them are rising up against their own parents.  While donald trump is running around professing to "make america great again" Millennials are saying the way to do that is to move forward not backwards.  GenY, by the way, is the most racially and ethnically diverse population ever. 

It will be up to our young people to carry the torch for REAL change.  It will be up to them to be the change we all wish to see in this world (everyone except the white supremacists and evangelicals).

In 1971, Gill Scott Heron recorded a song called "The Revolution will Not be Televised."  Here's a portion of those lyrics...

"You will not be able to stay home, brother
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag (heroin)
And skip out for beer during commercials, because
The revolution will not be televised..."

In 2020, the Revolution IS Televised!