The Crusader Newspaper Group

Modern day Germany can teach America a lot about sins of the past

By J. Coyden Palmer, Chicago Crusader

I’ve never been to Germany but I’m planning on going there if for nothing more than the beer during Oktoberfest. Another good thing about Germans is that they know how to deal with a country’s original sin the right way.

If you fly a Nazi flag in Germany, you go to jail. If you do the Nazi salute in Germany, you go to jail. If you display a swastika in Germany, you go to jail. If you display any symbol or start talking anything promoting Nazism in Germany, they basically throw you in jail and according to many in Germany, they whip your ass on the way to jail.

That’s how a country deals with hate and acknowledges a past it never wishes to repeat. But here in America, the Confederate Flag is protected and can be flown with pride, put on t-shirts, refrigerator magnets, even made a part of an official state flag. (Mississippi) You name it; there is a market for Confederate and Nazi gear in America with no consequence. Regardless of them both being symbols of sides that lost the wars, wars that were waged over the slavery of Black people and white supremacy of a so-called master race. You can show your racist, ignorant pride with no government consequences here in the USA.

So I found it sadly ironic during the mayhem in Charlottesville, Virginia that the alt-right, White Nationalist, racists were not only flying the confederate flag with pride, but also the Nazi flag. Think about that for a second, the country where Nazism began, is so embarrassed by it, that they’ve banned it from the country and made any public showing of its symbols illegal. But here in America, it is welcomed. How alarming.

But some foreign visitors to Germany still don’t get it. According to a news report in The Jerusalem Post this week, a white American tourist in Germany was beaten by a citizen after he gave the Nazi salute. It comes a week after two Chinese visitors were arrested by German police after they gave the Nazi salute in front of the Reichstag German parliament building. The pair posted almost $600 in bond and could be sentenced to up to three years in prison if convicted. This is how you deal with stuff. America plays around with white nationalists and it could cost the country dearly.

Former syndicated columnist Carl T. Rowan wrote a book I read in college in 1997 called “The Coming Race War in America.” In the book Rowan describes a race war brewing because of the following factors:

  1. A race war in America will be started by angry, asocial, uneducated white men. (check)
  2. Corporate downsizing. (check)
  3. A growth in armed right-wing militia. (check)
  4. A war on affirmative action and welfare. (check)
  5. And racial polarization due to the O.J. Simpson trial. (check) and (double check)

All of these factors have been on display in 2017 some 17 years after Rowan’s death. Ironically Rowan was against personal gun ownership, although he felt a race war was imminent. Yet all across social media and in barber shops and hair salons in Black communities across the nation, more Black Americans are talking about arming themselves because they feel threatened. And they feel threatened because they see a President and federal government that is refusing to denounce symbols of hate like confederate flags, statues and men dressed in militia uniforms carrying semiautomatic rifles with confederate flags adorned on them.

But some Black Americans have to also take responsibility for some of this stupidity. While I’m going to Germany, I’m never stepping foot in Mississippi until they take that confederate flag off their official state flag. Per capita, the state of Mississippi has more Blacks in it then any other state of the union. Yet Black people in Mississippi are doing nothing to demand action be taken to stop the overt disrespect that is given to them on a daily basis. What are they waiting for? It seems as though now would be the perfect time to bring the issue up on a national stage, yet all I get from Black Mississippians is how proud they are to know that Tori Bowie is the fastest woman in the world in the 100 meter dash. This sort of sheepish, cowardly behavior by our people must stop. The time to standup is now on many issues, but this is one we could actually all unite behind.

If an American born citizen of Yemen ancestry were to walk through the streets of Hattiesburg, Mississippi with an Isis flag just because they have the 1st Amendment right to do so, would those who are protecting white nationalists defend them as well?

We know the answer to that because we’re not that naive.

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