“If James Baldwin didn’t change fucking America, what’s a comic essay going to do?”
The Nib
1184

Hi — it feels like such an important privilege to be able to read through your dialogue here. Thank you for sharing.

I have just, today (finally) been feeling like this was not “just” a gun control issue (although I do believe gun control continues to be an issue for our country). I am feeling today like Charleston was a gun control issue (instantaneously), a racism issue (in the lead up to, instant of, and follow up of the issue), and also an American incident that sheds light on our profit-driven media culture of violence- and grief-porn [for those of us who watch BBC, or even Al Jazeera, where ratings are theoretically less essential to their funding models (moreso for BBC), the investigation is deeper, the interviews and panels more thoughtful, and the stories more numerous (less time on porn, more time on content)].

Initially, I had this feeling that a “human” response to Charleston was to say that it wasn’t about race — that it was about murder and about gun control, because life and human existence matter so much, regardless of race. And so, the flag thing was all trumped up, and a diversion from the gun control issue.

I feel wrong about that on many levels now (thanks in part to your dialogue here, which I haven’t fully processed). But I also feel that, as an instantaneous step, the flag thing is so important. As a nation of Americans, how do we tolerate governmental elevation and sponorhsip of a symbol that, to so many of its people, validates their racist views, and to so many other people, symbolized the very oppression that set them on a centuries-long uphill battle as a population? Maybe it’s a slight to heritage, but isn’t blackface heritage within entertainment, and segregation heritage within architecture, city planning, and transportation?

Symbolism has a place in the monumental challenge we face as a nation, and I just wanted to share that I’m glad the flags are coming down.

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