Man and His Symbols : Bemusements
Barbara Kapetanakes, PsyD
239 North Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY

Man and His Symbols

by Barbara Kapetanakes, PsyD. on 06/23/15

I belong to a few therapy list serves.  Mostly we post things on there when we're looking to make a referral, for help with a difficult issue, looking for office space, etc.  Sometimes people post interesting articles, or let us know that a workshop or presentation is coming up.  

On occasion, someone writes how they feel about a current event, how it may relate to psychology/sociology, or how it is affecting them and their work.  

I responded this morning to a thread regarding the Confederate flag and the recent events in South Carolina.  Because I have gotten a lot of positive feedback from members of the group, I wanted to share it here.  Food for thought:

We must remember history or we're doomed to repeat it.....but making black people live with a confederate flag here, there, and everywhere is like putting a swasticja in NY and telling the Jews it's just part of history.   The comparison I always make is that I've been to Munich, there's no statue of Hitler in the square, no Nazi flags, but I've also been to the south, I've driven across the country through the south, been to Charleston, Savannah, etc.....and everywhere you look there's a commemoration of the Confederacy.  Savannah, for example, has squares every few blocks that act as traffic rotaries.  They all have monuments to the confederate generals and leaders.  The fact that the south committed treason and seceded and fought the government is conveniently forgotten.  The fact that they did that to preserve the right to buy and sell human beings is forgotten.  Black people walk through these squares and sit on benches by monuments that commemorate those who lynched their grandfathers. Talk about microaggressions.  

Savannah is considered the most haunted city.  They capitalize on that and do zombie tours and the like.  Lots of spooky stories and bizarre deaths etc.  But the sad corollary to that is it's considered so haunted because it's built on dead bodies.  Literally any time the utilities have to dig, or someone builds a home, they find bones.....because of all the slave ships that landed in Savannah with dead and dying slaves whose bodies were simply thrown into the ground and forgotten about.  I was told on my tour that virtually everywhere you walk in Savannah you're walking on sidewalks that are built over bones.  

Remember, yes....glorify, no.  We have so many Jewish colleagues as professionals in NY.....would any of us put a Nazi flag up and expect them to feel comfortable driving past our house?  I doubt it.  Why should anyone be allowed to fly the stars and bars or put it on a t shirt or condone its existence by putting it up at the State House, officially there with the U.S. and SC flags?  It belongs in a museum and should have been banned in 1865.  It shouldn't take 150 years to do this.  

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