As evidenced by the state of the US, there are still ongoing racial tensions and age-old hatreds that the dinosaurs simply can’t let go. The fact that we still need programs like Affirmative Action here indicate that there’s still a problem, and there’s still the dinosaurs who still think a black man is two-thirds a man (or less) or somehow less qualified or intelligent based solely on their ethnicity.
A lingering symbol of white supremacy is the Confederate Battle Flag, the flag held aloft as Southern states seceded from the United States over slavery. Many died in the ensuing civil war, and I cannot envision a greater reason to shed American blood than for the purpose of spreading freedom and equality. In my estimation, aside from self-defense, there really is no justifiable cause to die for. Freedom is in man’s heart, irrespective of their nationality, ethnicity, or background. People yearn for it. And yet, even today some states still fly this flag over their statehouses and public buildings. It’s just a little bit sickening to me.
Several states’ courts, such as Louisiana, have ruled that the flag is, in fact, offensive and have ordered these flags removed from public buildings. I am all in favor of freedom of expression, as you can surely imagine, but in the case of imagery, one must weigh the use of the image against the impact that it can have on people, as well as the reasons for displaying it. In the case of the Rebel Flag, it is almost universally abused by racist organizations for the sole purpose of inciting racial hatreds. There are few legitimate purposes for the display of this emblem, in my opinion, and the bar with which to display it is set very high due to its inherent nature.
A few months ago, in a heated discussion (read: dust-up) over the new game, Tomorrow, which is all about trying to save the planet from overpopulation, I noticed that a user had proudly displayed his Rebel Flag microbadge. I was surprised that such an emblem would be so causally displayed, especially with a “Thought Criminal” icon as his avatar. In any event, I was given a couple months off in the form of “user moderation” for being a little bit disruptive and pointing out some things that made people uncomfortable. I know, shocker.
Shortly thereafter, I contacted the admins about removing the micro-badge, because it doesn’t represent “Southern Rock” as much as “Redneck Racist Values”, despite Lynyrd Skynard using it as a backdrop for years. In fact, in 2012, Skynyrd dropped the use of the Confederate Battle Flag specifically because it recognized that it had been appropriated by racist factions and wanted no part of it. When the guys who popularized its use take a step back and realize that it was harming people, there’s just no real argument to be made that it’s valid anymore.
So, after two months of back and forth, I was sent the following by the admin responsible for microbadges:
Badge is now unpurchaseable, and the creator has been contacted to update the image.
I thank the admins at BoardGameGeek for taking this issue seriously, and most especially “skelebone” and “cscottk” for understanding that this wasn’t just me being a dick, as usual, but a much more important issue.
In short, there’s now one more place where people can’t hide behind a racist symbol.