In an era where there is little bipartisan accord, it is significant that many on the right are joining the chorus of voices on the left demanding that the Confederate battle flag be removed from the grounds of South Carolina’s statehouse. During a press conference yesterday, Republican Governor Nikki Haley herself made the case for relocating the flag to a more neutral location.
For some this is just a beginning. According to Stars and Stripes, there has been talk for years about whether military bases named for Confederate generals, of which there are nine, should be renamed. The newspaper’s site is even conducting a poll asking whether Fort Bragg, Fort Hood, Fort Benning, and other such posts should be rebranded in line with the decision to deep-six the Confederate stars and bars.
So far, the voting is running heavily against the proposition with (as of this writing) 2,094, or 81%, voting nay while 500, or 19%, say yea.
Among the arguments advanced for eliminating all symbols that stir memories of the Civil War is that they divide, rather than unite, us as a nation. But they are not the only ones, as Victor David Hanson observes in a post today at National Review Online. What are some of the other racialist icons that separate Americans?
One is the prominent use of La Raza, “The Race” — seen most prominently in the National Council of La Raza, an ethnic lobbying organization that has been and is currently a recipient of federal funds. The National Council of La Raza should be free to use any title it wishes, but it should not expect the federal government to subsidize its separatist nomenclature.
The pedigree of the term La Raza is just as incendiary as that of the Confederate battle flag. The Spanish noun raza (cf. Latin radix: “root” or “race”) is akin to the now-discarded German use of Volk, which in the early 20th century came to denote a common German racial identity that transcended linguistic and cultural affinities: To be a real member of the Volk one had to “appear” German, in addition to speaking German and possessing German citizenship.
Then there is the Congressional Black Caucus, which is not only an anachronism — the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed over fifty years ago — but exclusionary, which should raise the hackles of any liberal in these “inclusive” times. In 2007, the caucus famously denied membership to newly elected Tennessee Congressman Stephen Cohen of , who had all the qualifications — he was liberal and a Democrat — save one: the color of his skin.
(h/t reader M. Potto)
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