A tipping point
Momentum against state-sponsored racist symbols continues to grow, beyond just South Carolina. In Alabama:
On the order of Gov. Robert Bentley, the Confederate battle flag which stands at the foot of the confederate memorial on the state Capitol grounds was taken down this morning.
Meanwhile, another prominent voice was added to the call to change Mississippi's state flag
. Republican Sen. Roger Wicker said in a statement that:
After reflection and prayer, I now believe our state flag should be put in a museum and replaced by one that is more unifying to all Mississippians. As the descendant of several brave Americans who fought for the Confederacy, I have not viewed Mississippi’s current state flag as offensive. However, it is clearer and clearer to me that many of my fellow citizens feel differently and that our state flag increasingly portrays a false impression of our state to others.
And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who represents Kentucky, said Tuesday that the statue of Confederate president Jefferson Davis should be removed from the Kentucky Capitol.
But let's be clear: Removing racist symbolism is important, but it's not the same as ending racism, and these are far from the only government-sponsored symbols of racism out there. In Alabama, three other Confederate flags still hang at the Confederate monument at the Capitol. The U.S. Capitol building's Statuary Hall remains full of white supremacists with whitewashed biographies. And as Meteor Blades wrote Tuesday about South Carolina's flag:
If disappearing from public view this flag—which was dragged from obscurity by advocates of Jim Crow in the 1950s—is really to mean anything significant, it must mark the start, not the end of reforms needed to crush racism. [...]
I'll be impressed with Nikki Haley and Lindsey Graham and their ilk when they move to end racist voter suppression, racist police brutality and our profoundly racist criminal justice system. When they and others deal with the outrageous levels of black unemployment. When they go head-on against racist housing rip-offs like this one documented by the American Civil Liberties Union.
8:49 AM PT: Workers have now removed the three additional Confederate flags from the memorial at the state capitol.
12:10 PM PT: Another Republican politician calls for the Mississippi state flag to be changed: Sen. Thad Cochran says "As a proud citizen of MS, it is my personal hope that the state government will consider changing the state flag."