In an op-ed on Friday, Detroit Free Press contributor Joe Lapointe argued that the best solution for dealing with Confederate flags is to set them on fire.
Insisting that flying the flag is an affront “not only to African Americans but to humanity in general,” Lapointe told opponents of the Stars and Bars to fight the “figurative fire” of racism with “the real thing.”
Lapointe’s comments come in the wake of the massacre of nine black parishioners at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina. The suspect in the murders, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, has known white supremacist leanings and allegedly told a friend of his that he “wanted to start a civil war.”
The shooting has sparked a debate about whether the Confederate flag should still fly on the South Carolina capitol grounds.
On Friday, a White House spokesperson told reporters that President Obama thinks this loaded symbol of Civil War America “belongs in a museum.” Groups such as the NAACP have called for the flag to be taken down. But Lapointe’s suggestion is far more radical:
There is no need to respect a symbol that is as evil and vicious to African Americans as the Nazi swastika flag is to Jews. In fact, it is important to actively disrespect the banner that represents a pure form of human evil.
The display of the Confederate flag — anywhere — is a nonverbal statement of race hate. Its burning would be a nonverbal response to its crude attitude. You’re sure not going to change their attitudes with sweet reason. Fight their figurative fire with the real thing.
Read the whole op-ed at the Detroit Free Press.