Vail Daily column: Racism and the ignorant flag |

Vail Daily column: Racism and the ignorant flag

Richard Carnes
My View

Racism and religion, as certain pundits continue to promote on certain networks, do indeed have many similar qualities.

Both have a foundation based deeply in ancient tribal mentalities.

Both have played important roles in developing cultures, helping societies of the day move from A to B to C (and then sometimes sadly back to A).

Both are subsets of bigotry and have been used, are in use today and will be used in the future as justification for slaughtering fellow human beings.

But the defining difference is obvious, as one is physically real and the other is simply between our ears.

While bigotry remains at the top of the flow chart, no one is born a racist any more than one is born a Christian or a Muslim or a Republican — it is taught.

Whether the teaching comes from parents, cousins, friends, teachers or members of a cult is irrelevant to the point that all racism is a human emotion epitomizing an inferiority complex that is comforted only by conforming to those with like-minded insecurities.

Racism is the belief that the color of your skin dictates your superiority to others, as opposed to your nationality, location of birth, sexual preference, favorite sports team, the language you speak, the color of your hair, the type of vehicle you drive, where you work or your beer preferences.

You are convinced that, as a species, your particular race is numero uno, top of the human food chain, thus deserving the accolades that accompany such.

And this is exactly the apparent thoughts of the Dylann Roof scum in South Carolina, who murdered nine black Americans for “raping our women and taking over the country.”

This little end-of-a-cactus-needle is nothing more than an attention-starved terrorist thug, an armed and unbalanced loner, a white supremacist with conservative views (sorry for the redundancy) who loves the Confederate flag and everything it represents, and thus religion should stop trying to jump on this particular persecution bandwagon.

So although I can barely begin to fathom the uproar if he came out as a gay atheist to boot, supernatural beliefs played no role in his horrific act upon innocent people.

It didn’t matter if he chose his killing field as a place of worship or a pool party in Texas, he murdered based solely upon skin color and nothing else.

And he stood proudly with a Confederate flag to further prove his point.

The cognitive dissonance needed to revere this racist relic of the past is appalling to those with a rational conscience, even more so when you consider it is blatant institutional racism by the elected leaders that allow it to fly proudly on state buildings in South Carolina, claiming it represents “Southern pride” as opposed to the racism and hatred the rest of us see.

A few other states do the same, but to me it doesn’t matter what state they live in, as they all exist in the State of Denial.

Their so-called “Southern roots” rotted away 150 years ago, and flying this damn thing is akin to flying a Nazi flag in Berlin (which is, of course, illegal). The flag belongs in a museum and nowhere else, but as we all know, removing the symbol of ignorance does not remove the ignorance itself.

That’s what we really have to work on.

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at

Support Local Journalism