Thing I saw today: A French black man wearing a confederate flag

In St. Louis, France.

Me: There is a black man walking down the street with a confederate flag tee shirt.

French friend: The confederacy is the north or…

Me: South.

FF: Why?

Me: I have questions…(Aside: Is it some kind of protest or is he just doing that thing young people do, where try to be as radical as possible? It was vertical, does that mean something?)

FF: Is Racism still a problem in the US?

Me: [Updates friend on current US news]. (With respect to Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, and the Guardian’s database) Can you imagine that happening in France???

FF: Sometimes people die in police custody and they don’t know what to say. There isn’t any explanation.

I did some research and found one death and a HRW article on violence against asylum seekers. The scale doesn’t seem the same.

I have the strong impression that Europe’s biases aren’t any better than ours. In the UK there is more evidence of a problem. In the wikipedia list of police violence only ArgentinaCanada,, IndiaIranPakistan, the United Kingdom, and the United States get their own lists.

I’m not from here. I don’t know. I just saw a black man walking down the street wearing a confederate flag, in France.

Europe Friends: The confederate flag recently made news in the US after a man gunned down 9 people at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church, in South Carolina. There were pictures of the man wearing the flag. There was still a confederate flag up at the state capital in South Carolina and calls to take it down became a way of symbolically dealing with the attack. Before I lived in the South I’d say it was always associated with racism. I heard varying information from black friends in the south.

Before the flag was voluntarily removed, in an act of civil disobedience, Bree Newsome, a civil rights activist and black woman took down the flag from the state capital. Here is what she said on the matter: “The Confederacy is neither the only legacy of the south nor an admirable one. The southern heritage I embrace is the legacy of a people unbowed by racial oppression.”

Life Update: I’m back in Rome, from a three week math class in Germany and packing up to go back to the US. My project is on-going, but I need to go home for personal reasons. I haven’t decided what to do with the blog, in the mean time (finish it when I finish traveling or finish it when I finish my project). I will let you know in the next post. 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s