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The Root 100—A Celebration of Black Excellence

Jay Smooth: 12 symbols of Southern pride actually worth celebrating

In this installment of the Illipsis, Jay takes on the Confederate flag and considers the ways in which Southerners can take pride in their culture without celebrating symbols of white supremacy. Jay has a message for Northerners too, namely, that they aren’t exempt from the need to grapple with the uglier parts of United States history. “That legacy of racism is not a southern legacy, it’s an American legacy, and all us Yankees are very bit as complicit and connected to that history,” he explains. “But one side effect of the persistence of the Confederate flag down there is that it lets us go under the radar with our denial of history up here…lets us keep getting away with Ben Afflecking that history away instead of wrestling with it like we need to.”

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