You know the flag — the one that has waved as government officials in the U.S. have built the country on the backs of slaves while stealing land and slaughtering Native Americans, created an apartheid against African Americans, imprisoned Asians in Japanese internment camps, denied women the right to vote, tortured and imprisoned Arabs, arrested, beat and killed brown and black people and incarcerated poor folks in the millions?
That flag — the United States flag — is still flying over state capitols nationwide.
Today, people are celebrating that South Carolina finally took down that other flag — the flag of the Confederacy, the flag of the Civil War losers, the flag that has distracted our Union from reconciling with its own ongoing racism, a racist legacy that has little to do with the Civil War and a lot to do with still enjoying a thriving economy built on the backs of slaves.
While the country pats itself on the back for removing an antiquated racist symbol, haunting questions remain.
Do lawmakers actually consider addressing reparations for descendents of slaves? How does the country respond to current charges of racist murder and policing raised by the Black Lives Matter movement? What can be done to stop the disparity in economy, education and imprisonment faced by people of color?
Now that South Carolina has stopped honoring its racist past and we can finally stop talking about that flag above that statehouse, the country has an opportunity to talk about the other one – the flag of the Civil War winners, the flag of the United States and the flag that waves above our nation’s capitol as the U.S. still has a long, long way to go reconciling with the past, present and future of how our government addresses race.