The right-wing blog, Young Conservatives, does a pretty good job of making really terrible points. Today, Allen West made a Facebook post about the decision to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse. It was very sarcastic, saying, more or less, that liberals think removing that flag will solve all our problems with racism. Young Conservatives agreed, and then went on with what they no doubt thought was a well-meaning rant. Instead, it turned out to be more of the same racism we can expect from the right when it comes to discussing that issue.
First, some context. Below is Allen West’s full Facebook post:
Young Conservatives, predictably, praised this, and said:
“Delusional liberals seem to think that the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State Capitol is going to somehow end racism and fix all of the problems within the black community.”
No, that’s not what liberals think. Liberals, and even many conservatives, wanted the Confederate battle flat removed because it’s a symbol of hate. It was always a symbol of racism, as its designer said, but even if it wasn’t originally a hateful, racist symbol, white supremacists and groups like the KKK have taken it and made it such. Continuing to fly it at the statehouse is tantamount to state-sanctioned racism.
Young Conservatives did get it right when they said, “Removing the flag might be treating a symptom, but it’s not curing the illness.” But then they went on to say this:
“It won’t fix the issues facing the black community from within.”
Sure, by all means, let’s blame black people for their problems. It’s all their fault; if they would just work harder, if the men would just stick around to raise their children, if they would just go to college, if they’d stop turning to crime and gangs, if if if if…
And let’s completely ignore the oppressive structures our society has in place that favor white people. After all, reverse racism is also a thing, and white people, especially white men, experience discrimination worse than any black person these days. The white men are the real victims, people! We liberals have it all wrong! We should hang our heads in shame.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Young Conservatives ends their ridiculous piece with this tidbit:
“Racism will always exist — until the Good Lord comes back — because men are sinful and wicked, however, we can encourage better unity among races by ending this oversensitivity and focusing on a person’s character, not their color.“ [emphasis mine]
Wanting to remove racist symbols is not “oversensitivity,” and judging people only by their character will only become a reality when oppressive structures are torn down, and equal ones put up in their place. The Confederate battle flag is not a racist structure, but it’s a symbol of those structures. Fighting to keep it up says we, as a society, are not willing to move forward. It says we are not willing to acknowledge that racism is still a real problem. That’s something that Allen West, Young Conservatives, and everyone else mourning the removal of that flag, need to figure out.