Sunday, July 12, 2015

The legacy of slavery

Now that the Confederate battle flag is gone from the South Carolina Capitol grounds, what's next? Blogger Terrence Heath, in his own blog, shares his ideas.

There are the symbolic displays of white supremacy across the South and elsewhere. The first place is the state flags for seven states across the South. Some, like Tennessee have plausible deniability. But there is Mississippi, which incorporates the battle flag directly into the state flag, and Georgia, which added the state seal to the national flag of the Confederacy.

Then there are Confederate leaders sent by states for Statuary Hall at the US Capitol. And there are the names of various university and school buildings name for advocates of slaves or the Confederacy. That's the easy stuff.

The legacy of slavery is much harder erase, but just as necessary. This legacy includes underfunding schools for black kids built on a property tax system that perpetuates the problem (more here). It includes negative attitudes towards blacks where the plantation system was dominant in the economy. It includes states rejecting the boost in Medicaid offered through the Affordable Care Act because too many of Those People would benefit (a big reason why we don't have European style health and welfare programs in America). It includes a legacy of redefining slaves from those who are in economic difficulty to those who are less than human. It includes a legacy of textbooks that describe the Civil War as being about State's Rights and not slavery (And what particular right did states want? The right to own slaves.).

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