The Flag Debate… Another Sidestep For Racism, Guns?

There’s a definite ebb and flow to the race debate in this country.

Or wait, maybe ebb and flow doesn’t provoke the correct image.  Instead let’s try a minefield.

Most of the time, Americans go about their business quite well by dodging the subject.  For white Americans, this is done by simply not bringing it up (see no evil, hear no evil, right?).

For communities of color however, racism at multiple levels is reality.  While the daily slights of discrimination and prejudice continue, Americans go on with their lives, try not to “blow things out of proportion”, and pray that whatever they just endured will be the worst of it.

This system of duck-and-cover largely works for the country… that is until we hit another minefield.

Thus was the tragedy that befell Charleston, South Carolina last week.  A young white male, welcomed into the historic Emanuel AME church, joined worshipers in bible study, looked into their eyes, and proceeded to murder 9 people  in cold blood.  As families and friends of the mass shooting try to pick up the pieces of their lives, people across the country are also left in a state of shock.

As further details of the mass shooting were revealed, we learn that not only was it not some isolated incident, but motivated by deeply-seeded racism.

Yet one week later, more Americans are talking about this, than a brutal and heinous act of domestic terrorism…

Caonfederate Flag Mine Field

Why you ask?  Because convenience.  It’s a lot easier to discuss minefields surrounding a piece of cloth than it is to begin the real work of tackling the conditions that led to, and fed into such hatred.  To be clear, I’ve never been a fan of the rebel flag either.  Given the choice, I would gladly take them down, along with many painful relics of our nation’s racist history.

But if we think that cleansing the country of rebel and Confederate memorabilia is going to “fix” our issues with race, we are sadly mistaken. It’s true that this killer ultimately made an individual decision to walk into that church, and take the lives of those people.  Only he is responsible for that.  But at the same time, it is all of society that has helped to shape impressions of different races.

It’s also society, at least in states like South Carolina and Texas, that constantly lifts up the gun wielder as some ultimate hero that will save “us all” (who is us?  who is all?) from danger in the face of an unknown enemy.  You’ve heard the phrase “the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”  which as it turns out, is a complete lie.  Whether one agrees or disagrees with the constitution’s right to bear arms, we should all at least agree that a gun is in fact a deadly weapon. After the December 2012 mass slaughter of children in Newtown, Connecticut, studies showed that a full 92 percent of Americans supported a federal law requiring background checks before the purchase or transfer of a gun.  Yet politicians in Washington, caving to political pressure from a few fringe leaders, could not pass a law on requiring background checks before the purchase or transfer of a firearm.  It’s not possible to know what a background check could have discovered about the killer in Charleston, but we do know that he was able to obtain the weapon without one being required.

With such hard truths surrounding the needed conversations around guns and race, it’s not surprising that the media and politicians have focused on the removal of the rebel flag.  And yes… the removal of many of these symbols is a most worthy discussion.  But hopefully one day, we will also stop fearing the minefields around race and guns in America, and learn how to truly make this country safer and more equal for all.



Texoblogosphere: Week of June 22nd

The thoughts and prayers of the Texas Progressive Alliance are with the families and friends of the victims of the horrible shooting in Charleston as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff looks at the latest developments in the ongoing investigation against AG Ken Paxton.

Letters from Texas advises Capitol staffers how to respond to the Texas Monthly Best and Worst Legislators list.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos spanks the GOP for its craven use of dog whistles and thinly veiled racism. Come and Take the Truth About Playing the Race Card, GOP.

Will the outcome of Houston’s mayoral race be similar to San Antonio’s — abysmal turnout, two Democrats in a runoff, one going after Republican votes in order to win? PDiddie at Brains and Eggs would prefer almost any other scenario besides that one.

Moving towards offering an accessible and comprehensive way to view all of life, Neil at All People Have Value added a page of pictures he has taken out in everyday life to his website. APHV is part of

Socratic Gadfly says that, although the symbolism of the Confederate flag is offensive, the First Amendment protects offensiveness, and the Supreme Court got it wrong in ruling Texas can ban Sons of Confederate Veterans vanity plates.

With municipal elections looming large in the background, Texas Leftist tried to keep up with intense political theater that was this year’s Houston City Budget… the last ever of the Annise Parker Mayoralty.


And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

The TSTA Blog has plenty of reasons to fear a Scott Walker presidency.

Better Texas Blog measures the impact in Texas of an adverse SCOTUS decision in King v. Burwell.

Juanita Jean marvels at the story about Texas’ own Fort Knox.

Texas Vox calls on the CFPB to end forced arbitration.

The Lunch Tray bemoans Ag Commissioner Sid Miller’s decision to lift a decade-old ban on deep fat fryers in schools, ironically done as part of an initiative to fight childhood obesity.

And finally, the TPA congratulates Scott Henson of Grits for Breakfast on his new gig as Executive Director of the Innocence Project of Texas.



Today’s feature photo is a screenshot from an Opportunity Houston video.