Confederate Flag and N-Word Defenders Use the Same Lame Argument
In 2007, the NAACP staged a mock funeral for the racial slur, and yet today, the word is as popular as ever, as the Washington Post concluded last year. But could the attention paid to the Confederate flag cause us to take another look at the n-word, and decide to put it away for good? After all, the parallels between the two powerful concepts, one a word, the other a symbol, are clear. Both have been used — often at the same time — to terrorize black men and women and to make the case for oppression. One might even say the Confederate flag is the n-word flying on a pole.
The word has power, and President Obama demonstrated that by using it — although in a non-gratuitous way — to make a point about racism, how America is not cured of it, and how racism goes beyond the n-word and overt discrimination.
What’s ironic is that backers of both the n-word and the flag use similar arguments to justify keeping these relics of hate active in our society today. Just as supporters of the n-word would say the slur has been transformed into a term of endearment, supporters of the Confederate flag argue the rebel battle emblem has come to represent Southern pride and heritage.