Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Confederate Flag, my son, and Kanye West

We were at the carnival in my South of the Mason-Dixon Line town and we were playing games. My son won at shooting a stream of water through a bull’s-eye and being the first person to reach their thingy to the top. The man asked him what prize did he want and he pointed to an inflatable toy that had the Confederate flag on it. The man looked at me askance as if asking my permission for him to have it.

You see the Confederate flag flies around my town a lot. They’re visible on the back of cars in the form of bumper stickers. And the guy around the corner and down the street flies two of them on his property, just in case you missed the first one. I've run into women at Wal-Mart with it tattooed proudly on their arms. I've even seen ones that proclaim, "Heritage Not Hate”. But my son at four didn't know about any of that, he just saw a toy that was red, white, and blue like the American flag.

His grandfather said to him, "Naw, you don't want that", but he insisted without the heavy baggage of history informing his purchase. And right then at that time, I just wanted my son to be happy. My black son who I knew would one day know exactly what that flag symbolizes, but that day he just wanted a toy. I told my father to let him have it and nodded to the man running the game to acquiesce with his request. My son proudly held his toy and walked around the carnival with it for the rest of the day.

My son at four knew nothing of that flag, but Kanye West does. Kanye claims that he's making the Confederate flag his own in homage to his single "New Slaves", but I don't buy it. I think he sees the money in it and like he and Jay said on N***as in Paris, "It gets the people going".