Thought for the Day:
“Inclusion is not bringing people into what already exists. It is making a new space, a better space for everyone.”
Question for the Day:
Do you support changing the Mississippi state flag?
For those who may not know, I was born and raised in California though I’m a current resident of Mississippi. I know y’all are probably wondering what I was smokin’ when I chose to come here, but alas, I was in my right mind and the move was intentional. Actually, my roots are here in Mississippi and my mother’s story begins in a small rural town in Perry County called Beaumont. Many of the people that I’ve loved most in this world were born and raised here, so though it gets a bad rap, I will always have love for this state. When I was coming up, my family would travel from California most summers to visit. Sometimes if my parents had to work, I was put on a plane by myself to enjoy my Grandma Julie, aunts, uncles and cousins who somehow managed to make a Cali girl envy country living.
I’m telling you all this to explain why I care so much about the future of Mississippi. My concern for this state is also why I’ll remain an outspoken critic of its legislators who seem to enjoy keeping it perpetually stuck in the 1860’s. Unlike any other place I’ve lived, I feel most connected to the spirit of my African and Native American ancestors in Mississippi because I know that it was their shed blood that makes the soil of this land so rich. The strength, heart, and spiritual power of the black people of Mississippi is pure and as close to what I imagine the spirit of Africa to be.
This is why the Mississippi state flag, which in 2020 still bears the confederate emblem, must be replaced! As a transplant, I’ve tried not to buy into stereotypes about Mississippi. In general, the wider world sees Mississippians as poorer, fatter, less educated and less intelligent. I personally know that these assumptions don’t hold up for many. But there are some…. let’s just say, they’re not helping matters. And right about now, these indignant, confederate flag defending, Dukes of Hazard wannabes and sweet tea drinking Karens are all that is wrong with Mississippi.
In 2001, the issue of removing the confederate emblem from the Mississippi state flag was put on the ballot and as expected, “the people” voted to keep the current flag. Opponents of changing the flag whine that replacing it silences their vote. Never mind the fact that the hate attached to the confederate emblem has been silencing black people for generations. So, here’s the cliff notes version of the history behind it.
White people stumbled upon North America, and “discovered it” by murdering and displacing the native people who were here. Those same white people realized it would take a lot of work to cultivate that newly “discovered” land so they decided to steal people from Africa to do all the hard work for them. They would reduce the humanity of those stolen Africans by terrorizing them and using all manner of violence to control them. These “very fine people” justified their evil by projecting it onto their victims and convincing themselves that those Africans were no better than animals and their lives didn’t matter.
Of course, America grew and became an economic force in the world all on the backs of enslaved Africans. But as America grew, other parts of the country had a problem with all the money southern states were making. They decided it best to dismantle slavery not because it was immoral, but because they didn’t like the monopoly on certain markets free labor afforded the South. So when Abraham Lincoln, who had a plan to abolish slavery, was elected in 1860, eleven southern states banded together to form the Confederacy of the United States.
The Confederacy’s whole mission was to give individual states the right to keep slaves and they planned to accomplish that mission by any means necessary. They formed their army and fought the Union in the Civil War. They lost and are still butt hurt about it which is why they cannot let their illegitimate flag die!!
These confederate flag riders like to entertain delusions about the Confederacy representing “southern pride” when it was quite literally about protecting their right to destroy black people for profit. They will boast of it representing “history” as if that history does not include the rape, whipping, beating, lynching, and killing of black people and the cruel and inhumane separation of black families. Yet, Mississippians remain slow to accept that this “history” is something no decent human being should ever want to preserve. They’ll also tell you that the emblem has nothing to do with hate. Yet if that were true, surely it wouldn’t be the Ku Klux Klan’s flag of choice.
And PLEASE miss me with the “we voted for it” argument because if we’re just talking numbers, there are more white people in the state of Mississippi than black. So, even if there was no voter suppression and every black person in the state voted, we would still not have the numbers to remove a flag that dehumanizes us.
My question to all the good Christian white people of Mississippi who oppose changing the state flag is, what’s up with you? Never mind, because I already know. Advocating for a state flag bearing the confederate emblem is just another example of a racist American system that is willing to disregard black lives, feelings, thoughts, and perspectives. And if you claim to not believe that the Confederacy stood for racism, let’s be clear. Vice President of the Confederacy Andrew Stephens ‘described its ideology as being centrally based “upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man and that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.’ ” (straight from Wikipedia) Still unsure if it’s racist, or nah?
Forcing a black person to be reminded of the atrocities of slavery and how much the country WE BUILT hates us every time we pull up to the post office is spiritual brutality. So to all the nice, church-going white Mississippians out there who just don’t know what us radical colored folks are in such a tizzy about, please….just stop. Stop playing crazy and pretending that you didn’t realize what that flag meant and admit that you just don’t care so long as YOUR interests, YOUR history, YOUR traditions, and YOUR state flag continue to be protected.
The irony here is that many white southerners consider themselves conservatives and are always very leery of anything that goes against their narrow frame of reference. They generally loathe diversity and seem to avoid the concept of inclusion like the plague. America is THEIR country, Mississippi is THEIR state, Christianity is THEIR religion and anyone who challenges their worldview is a rebel rousing freak. Recently, the city of Gulfport where I live took a bold step to remove the current flag from government buildings and BABAAAY….. these folks were hot! People were commenting on social media suggesting that Gulfport should secede from the state if they can’t honor the current flag. Well in my opinion, people who refuse to let go of an 1800’s mentality by using words like “secede” in 2020 are the real freaks.
I know you love YOUR flag, but Mississippi needs a flag that represents ALL of us. You might believe holding on to relics of “old glory” is making America great again, but you better enjoy it while you can. Black people are NOT, I repeat, ARE NOT returning to the plantation, so your freak flag won’t be flying for long.