What South Carolina needs to do for Racial equality (taking down the flag is just symbolic)

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) – –

Governor Nikki Haley announced on Monday that she would attempt to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of the statehouse, recognizing the pain it causes the one-third of the state who are African-Americans (about a quarter of whites also don’t care if it is up or not.) Haley’s initiative may or may not work out; she needs a two-thirds maority.

This step is a welcome one, and IC called for it more than once. But it is only a symbolic measure and South Carolina’s 4.8 million residents can only achieve greater racial harmony and civil rights through practical steps. Among the most pressing of these steps:

Congressional districts in the state should not be drawn by the legislature, elected on a partisan basis, but by an impartial panel. Nearly a third of the population there is African-American or mixed, but it is not proportionally represented in politics because of gerrymandering. Six of the seven US representatives are white Republicans.

South Carolina should expand medicaid as part of Obamacare. 178,000 people there have gotten caught in the coverage gap, and they are likely disproportionately African-American. South Carolina health statistics are Third World, and the state needs to address this problem. Instead, the spiteful South Carolina legislature tried to nullify Obamacare.

Some 22 counties are low-education, with 25 percent or more residents having less than High School. African-Americans are disproportionately disadvantaged educationally. The state needs more funding for high schools.

The welfare of all South Carolinians would increase with these steps.

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ABC News: Gov. Haley calls on SC Legislators to remove Confederate flag”

11 Responses

  1. It will be very interesting to watch SC’s legislature cope with the state’s race problems, given how it is now in the national, and perhaps global, limelight. I agree that removing the flag is symbolic, but legislators like SC’s are known to choke on small bones.

  2. According to interviews today in http://www.democracynow.org
    70% want the flag up there! Feels as saying: if only one person is a racist white supremacist in this country, the whole is racist. As Obama stated centuries of racist hate can change overnight. Well not until hell freezes over I believe.

    • There might have been a chance for substantial change after the passage of the civil rights legislation in the 60’s, but that was killed off by the Republican party’s “Southern Strategy”.

      That strategy embraced and coddled the white anti-civil rights populations in the South as well as anywhere they could be found. Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America” got its strength from the big winks he gave to anti-civil rights movement.

      I don’t believe that the leaders of the Republican Party were racists. They were seeking political power anywhere they could find it, and any way they could get it. But what a boon to the real racists to have a major political party watch their backs.

      • According to the book “Nixon’s Piano”, the GOP leadership always wanted to ditch Southern blacks and go after the white conservative vote, but they were hampered by an organizational peculiarity: as a “national” party, the GOP had to have all states represented as delegates at the once-important national convention. Even though Southern blacks couldn’t vote in real elections, as delegates they still were needed to win nominations. The GOP was trapped unless the Democrats did something so offensive to Southern whites that they defected en masse and took over their own state parties overnight.

        Which happened, finally.

        • The Democrats lost their bearings in the face of the Republican “Southern Strategy”. The Republicans pitted the interests of working class white against the black population. The Democrats fell into the trap by pitting civil rights against economic expansion.

  3. It’s not just South Carolina. We need a national revolution based on morality and ethics. We need to make the Pledge of Allegiance – especially “one nation, …, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” – a reality instead of its recitation being an act of national hypocrisy.

  4. Now if only Muslim women weren’t discriminated against every single day for their headscarves. That NC incident is forgotten in the media.

  5. The NRA didn’t take the heat for this mass murder because their friends in politics and the media put the blame squarely on the Confederate Battle Flag. Once the pics of the killer holding the CBF hit the news all the antigun talk stopped.

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