Turning The Tables On Racism

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As you get older, and there’s less on your plate every day, you have more time to think. And when you have a whole life to think back on, who knows what will come to you unbidden? And so it was that, recently, while thinking of the incredible events surrounding the national change of mood regarding confederate monuments, and the confederate flag, and believe it or not, I found striking similarities to another massive social and political shift that occurred during my life. It will take a bit to get there, but believe me, it all comes together in the end.

My heart soared when I saw and heard that the state of Mississippi had finally lifted itself out of the muck and became the last state to remove the confederate flag as a component of it’s state flag. This is s work in progress, but it is progress. Following the Mother Emmanuel massacre, South Carolina lowered the confederate flag for the last time from the state capitol. Confederate monuments and statues are coming down all over the country, and even NASCAR, the granddaddy of southern sports, has barred confederate flags from their events and properties. But there is an underlying social movement involved in this that I don’t think people really realize right now, and it has to do with the psychology of racism, or any other socially questionable behavior. Let me explain.

I was a long time smoker, I started smoking when I was 16, and didn’t stop until I was 58, when I switched to vaping. And I was a serious smoker, committed to my right to poison my lungs. But being an avowed smoker during that time frame, I had front row seats to the social upheaval that finally turned the tide of the acceptability of smoking.

When I started smoking, it was socially acceptable, it was done everywhere. But somewhere along the line, people who didn’t smoke got tired of having their clothes smell like an ashtray, and getting diseases common to smokers, even though they didn’t smoke. And then they got some solid scientific evidence on their sides, and it was off to the races.

It started slowly, but once it got rolling, it was unstoppable. In rapid succession, smokers could no longer smoke in restaurants, in bars, on airplanes or theaters, at indoor sporting events, and finally, even at outdoor sporting events. And the ultimate psychological effect was that it tended to isolate smokers from each other, and to minimize the places where fellow huffers could congregate and feel comfortable among other true believers. Every time you lit up a Marlboro, you felt less and less like The Outlaw Waylon Jennings, and more and more like The Outlaw Josie Wales.

Are you seeing the connection? It’s easy for a good ole boy to take great pride in grabbing his confederate flag on a short pole, jamming that pole into a holder on the back of his redneck Cadillac, and zooming off to a NASCAR event, there the same flag flies from a pole, there is confederate paraphernalia on sale at the race, and some of the cars in the race have the confederate flag decals on their cars.

It’s much easier for a racist to feel self confident in his beliefs, and to say to his son, You see that statue? That’s what a real patriot looks like! He fought for our way of life. And you know how that’s true? Because the state put up a statue to honor him, and his cause.

Every time a confederate flag comes down, or a confederate traitor monument comes down, it minimizes the warped ideology that those symbols stood for. And more importantly, it minimizes the feelings of the remaining true believers, and most important of all, it isolates them. After all, how do you validate your opinions when you have no governmental or socially sanctioned symbols to point to to buttress your arguments? Even to your children, who are hearing a different story in school?

The Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr. once said that while the moral arc bends slowly, it bends in the direction of justice. And every time that a confederate flag or monument comes down, it isolates and invalidates the racists just a little bit more, and it boxes them in just a bit further. It will take time, but we are finally winning. Take it from a former smoker. Just like poor old Joe Camel, it just isn’t cool to be a racist anymore.

To know the future, look to the past.before the insanity of the 2020 election, relive the insanity of the 2016 GOP primary campaign, and the general election, to see how we got to where we are. Copies of President Evil, and the sequel, President Evil II, A Clodwork Orange are available as e-books on Amazon, at the links above. Catch up before the upcoming release of the third book in the trilogy, President Evil III: All The Presidents Fen

Follow me on Twitter at @RealMurfster35S

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27 Comments on "Turning The Tables On Racism"

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Gale Marie AudiaThan
Guest

Thanks for helping us all understand a little bit better how change slowly does happen in this country! It inspired me and gives me hope!

Bareshark
Guest

Another example: while Muslim-bashing was oh so fashionable in the 2000s, it fell WAY out of favor last decade with the mainstream. True, some asshole racists still go there but they were always going to.

Tin woman1
Guest

Good points. I hope it ends up working.

Lil Blue Sock
Member
Mississippi will probably take Georgia’s lead when they were criticized for the “confederate flag” which appeared on their state flag. Oh, make no mistake, they were slick…..they did remove the Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia and replaced it with the 13 star First National Confederate Flag with the state coat of arms within the circle of stars in the canton…..still, it is a Confederate flag…. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Georgia_(U.S._state) Just not as many people notice except the good ol’ boys who are still winking, laughing and nodding. Sort of like what you did by quitting cancer sticks and vaping instead….same… Read more »
Seán O'Brien
Guest

There’s a practical joke for you! That IS the Stars and Bars, unlike the Battle Flag, as so many people who display it claim. Ignorance R Us. Thanks, Lil Blue Sock, I was going to mention the difference between the Battle Flag of ANV and the Confederate Flag, but I had no idea about the Georgia flag. Wow.
I always thought the Battle Flag looked like it was based on the St. Andrew’s Cross.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Scotland

Lil Blue Sock
Member

Truth be known, the “Confederate Flag” that most people think of still isn’t the actual ANV flag…..the 3’X5’ flags with the starred cross are actually the Confederate Navy Jack….the actual Army of Northern Virginia flags were 4’X4’ for Infantry, 3’X3’ for artillary and 2.5’X2.5’for Calvary all squared with a white border along the edges.

blueman
Member
I was a very obnoxious keyboard warrior on an online paper called Mississippi Today for the last few weeks. I never really expected the asshole Republicans to get rid of this stupid flag. But then damn, they did. The threats of the SEC and capitalist probably had something to do with their actions. But of course I would like to think that a small part of the reason was because this old bald fool sort of marched in a BLM protest on the 20th. I was at the back of the marchers before we had gone half a block when… Read more »
Bareshark
Guest
Being destitute in East TN made me finally turn against the diseased dream of Dixie once and for all. As I navigated through TN’s unemployment system, had to walk everywhere and thus was forced to look at my surroundings and saw the way my little town was slowly imploding (a process which predates the Great Recession and is still ongoing), it finally clicked in my head. I have NEVER had any love for the “Lost Cause” but it struck me that what I was experiencing came from the hands of its degenerate heirs. If they couldn’t keep an entire race… Read more »
old grey dude
Guest
In 1970 Mississippi public television did not want to air Sesame Street because it was too ‘integrated’. Yes, the arc is long but it bends toward justice. Joe Camel used to be one of the most recognized cartoon characters by children. Banning Joe Camel, banning sports advertising for cigarettes changed things. Winston cup became the Nextel cup. What used to be unacceptable is now the norm. Ellen Degeneres was cancelled in 1998 for being gay, but is now one of the most popular TV figures out there. The silent majority as they used to speak about is making itself heard.… Read more »
Joseph
Guest
In fairness, Ellen’s sitcom really went downhill after she came out on the show. Every single episode after the “puppy” episode (that’s the term used for the coming out episode) ended up being a “gay” episode for no other reason than to be a “gay” story. I mean, I liked the show when it first came out but, even as a gay man, I found the post-“puppy” shows to be waaaaaay too narrow. I mean, with “Will & Grace,” even when a show was “very gay,” there was still something on the show that had a broader appeal (partly because,… Read more »
Carroll Ann Robinson
Member
Nice work here!!! And more important even: absolutely true. It takes time even when sometimes time feels like it is on a short leash; today that leash is about two inches in length due to the execution before our eyes of George Floyd. But still, it will take time even now. Back in the day I was at one point a TA in Sociology, and tasked with exploring and dissecting Larry L. King’s book, Confessions of a White Racist, with my students. And now all these years later, and with King long gone from this earthly plane, this book remains… Read more »
Bareshark
Guest
We should also widen our gaze on history to give it proper context. As was true during W’s time, I have lost count of the misunderstanding and misapplication of history instances from people either peddling clickbait or so lost in their own issues as to not find their way. Let everyone else scream about the Weimar republic. I’ll be thinking about the Alhollomads (sp?) of Old Iberia, whose fundamentalist outlook not only did nothing to hold onto the peninsula but eventually drove them out of everywhere but Granada by the mid-13th Century. The history of racism as it’s practiced around… Read more »
Diane Godwin
Guest

Great analogy with the smoking. As a former pissed off smoker and recent awoken ally, I see the tide changing and am glad for it.

Bareshark
Guest
I actually had my first job around the time restaurants went smoke-free, Murf, a Taco Bell, in fact. I didn’t think anything of the smoke in the place my first six months of the job…I’m a lifelong non-smoker but I grew up around it so part of the background. But the first day the place went smoke-free, I could almost TASTE the improvement in air quality. I never realized how bad all that was until that moment. So yeah, it’s an apt metaphor for the way racism is now on the retreat. The hardcore racists are going to curse Donald… Read more »
nan
Guest

Thanks for that it’s a simple way and also to the point how we do change and yes we do change and I’m sure glad we can.

rawiga56
Guest

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dana fairfield
Member

Don’t worry. We won’t be copying any part of the url.

Scott Jackson
Guest

As we vets know, there has never been any war that is civil. We also need to stop using the language “civil war “. The US government never recognized that label. It is known as the war of the rebellion.

Meg Corrigan
Member

Excellent analogy, Murph!

dana fairfield
Member

Murf, I hope you are also working on quitting vaping.