There once was a little girl. And her Grandma had this awesome apron. It had a very distinctive style and cut to it. Grandma always wore it. “This apron belonged to *my* Grandma” the old lady said. “And she said it belonged to *her* Grandma. This apron has been here for all the new babies and graduations. This apron means family and home.”
The little girl never forgot that, and she loved that apron.
The girl grew up, and when Grandma died, she took the apron back to college. Her roommate looked at the apron in horror.
“How could you have that thing here? Don’t you know that aprons like that were used for hundreds of years to kill people? Those aprons were designed with that exact cut and style to make the gory job easier and less messy!”
The girl was shocked and angry. Her Grandma never hurt anyone! How dare anyone say that Grandma was evil and killed people!
So the girl, not so little anymore, refused to read the books, or listen to the facts, because she could not separate the horrible history of her apron from the loving person who gave it to her.
Not an especially subtle metaphor, I know, but a useful one for me. Now, lets switch gears just a moment.
I know it is hard to separate people you know from an abstract history you only read about. But lets fix some language problems here. A lot of well meaning articles and news outlets and politicians have stated their negative feelings about the confederate flag couched in terms to pacify.
“it has come to mean hatred…”
“to some it is a symbol of heritage and history, while to others it is a symbol of racist views…”
I call bullshit.
It has ALWAYS been a symbol of a white suppremacist view. Always. To deny that is to deny the written words of the founders of the short-lived Confederate States of America – the very heritage of that flag. No reasonably sane person can say the confederate flag is one that represents “history and heritage” and it “isn’t racist” once they revisit the words of one of the founders of the confederate states:
“Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth…”
And this is not an abberration. This is the norm. The confederate states *were* fighting for states rights. The states rights to own other people. Slaves. The confederate states *were* fighting for economic principles. The economics of owning other people. Slavery. Multiple historical documents exist. It is inarguably the truth. Yet somehow, we are still having the debate. Why?
Some of it is because Grandma gave her that apron. And she loved Grandma.