The fight over the Confederate battle flag is serving as a visible proxy for a greater issue. What is needed today is a serious dialogue about the state of race in America today.
Whether the flag is offensive or not; whether it serves as a symbol of hate or heritage; whether it should fly next to monuments to Confederate dead or whether it has no place at all on public grounds are, in the end, merely distractions. A side show of the big show.
A century and a half after slaves were set free in the U.S., the black community is still bound by economic and social shackles. To some extent, those shackles, it could be argued, are self-imposed. But they are also the result of generations of systemic, deep-seeded prejudices that are slow to change. Electing a black president didn’t magically transform the nation overnight.
In 2012, 9.7 percent of non-Hispanic whites (18.9 million) were living in poverty, while over a quarter of Hispanics (13.6 million), and 27.2 percent of blacks (10....
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