South Carolina Finally Gets It Right

When I was growing up in rural South Carolina, where I still reside today, we had a Confederate flag in our home. We were taught that anyone from the North–and thus a Yankee–was bad. We heard the “N” word quite a few times and were given the whole “separate but equal” spiel. We even had Civil War battles in the pasture behind our house with paintball guns.

My dad shoved so much North vs. South crap down our throats that my brother (whose mom is from New York) would greet people at our door with “Are you a Yankee or a Rebel? We don’t want no Yankees here.”

Being the black sheep in my family, I wasn’t about any of that. Further, I detested the Confederate flag. I saw it as a sign of racism, much as I do today.

Early in my sophomore year of high school, I became aware of the fight to bring the Confederate flag down from the top of our state house. I wrote an editorial in our local rag about why it needed to be removed from our State House, which got me branded as a “traitor” and a “carpetbagger” by a few family members. A “compromise” was struck a short time later and it was indeed removed from the State House, but was put right in front of it on a “memorial” instead. Not much of a compromise.

The "compromise"

The “compromise”

At best, that flag is a symbol of treason. At worst, it’s a symbol of racism. Some people like to talk about embracing Southern heritage and whatnot, and I’m not going to tell anyone that they shouldn’t fly it on their personal property or tattoo it on their forehead–I’ll just think it–but I sure as hell will say that I don’t want that garbage on state grounds, representing everyone in SC.

Now, finally, 15 years later, our House of Representatives voted 94-20 to remove it. This was set into motion by the Charleston shooting last month, where the shooter and white supremacist Dylann Roof killed 9 black people at a church. Shortly afterwards, the call came for the flag to come down.

Some people have criticized politicians for asking for it to come down, accusing them of manipulating the situation to their own advantage. It struck me that way at first, too, as much as I wanted it down, but let’s get real–SC has a muddy enough racial history as it is. With that hate crime occurring now, a gesture needed to be made to show that our state isn’t living in the 1800s anymore, that Roof’s beliefs aren’t a reflection of the majority. And where better to start than with what many consider to be a symbol of racism that’s flying on state grounds?

It’s a shame that it took such an awful tragedy in order for this to finally happen, but I’m glad that flag is coming down. Even if many of our citizens can’t quite grasp how removing that flag isn’t an attack on their Southern heritage at the moment, I hope that maybe they’ll understand that in the future. And if they don’t, maybe future generations will.

South Carolina doesn’t get a lot right, but we got this one right. Finally.

[FYI — I won’t be entertaining any pro-Confederate flag discussions on this blog. Like I’ve said before, this is my slice of blog heaven, and I see enough of that garbage on Facebook without it cluttering up my comments section here. 🙂 ]


29 thoughts on “South Carolina Finally Gets It Right

  1. Here in Canada, all Americans are “Yankees”. Everyone from Florida to Maine and Delaware to California is a Yankee. I laugh because I’m from Maryland… a boarder state, though technically south of the Mason Dixon line.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I was so glad when I heard the news that the confederate flag was coming down in South Carolina. The times are changing. We are far from being a post-racial society, we are clearly far from being a racial democracy, we are sadly far from done dealing with racism, but this is a good step. The flag belongs in a museum, not the public square.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was born in the South but later raised in the North. My Northern family has always called me a “rebel” and my Southern family always called my a “yankee” when I visited. It seemed so stupid to me because we don’t have “northern pride” the way y’all have Southern Pride. I was so pleased to see SC make this vote. I cannot even imagine what your social network feeds must look like. Yikes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ugh. I so do not get Southern pride. I’m supposed to be proud that I was born in a part of the country where people are generally poorer and less educated? lol. 😉

      Yeah, there is a lot of the butt hurt going on. Apparently this “will create a new war.”

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post. I think you are spot on in that a gesture needed to be made. The flag has long been a symbol of such historical ugliness I can’t understand how it lasted as long as it did. Good for you for taking a stand at such a young age.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hmmm…interesting since I recently had a conversation with Southerners who told me the North/South hate doesn’t happen anymore beyond the occasional “Yankee joke.” The “Southern Heritage/Pride” defense doesn’t make sense to me since A. nobody started flying it in public spaces until the 60s and B. my state (in the North) has been at the forefront of states-rights advocacy for…like…ever, but we don’t fly treasonous, racist symbols at the statehouse. Apparently that’s a southern prerogative. Anyway, I’m glad it’s come down.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As a Canadian, looking down from my igloo at all y’all Americans, gotta say, you guys are a confusing bunch. You’ve such pride in your past, but often seem to mistake pride in history as being justification for keeping things the same as in historical times.

    I`m happy about the flags, and happier this comment section remains a bit of heaven. There is nothing like reading the comments discussion any major American issue to zap all my hope in humanity.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Love the post. I get a lot of that “The South is so great” here – because my husband is from Mississippi. So can you imagine what his family did, when he came back from Japan with me, a red-headed person from Australia with British parents who grew up in Chicago and talked like a Northerner. I think it took them about 5 years to really start trusting me, or maybe they realized I just wasn’t going to go away.

    Liked by 1 person

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