And so the discussion continues. Mark Moskowitz, the Atlanta-based southeastern director for the Anti-Defamation League, has written a letter to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, asking that he issue an executive order removing the Confederate battle emblem that is displayed on state trooper uniforms and vehicles.
From the letter:
“…The Confederate flag is a potent symbol of slavery and white supremacy, which has made it very popular among white supremacists today. This popularity extends to white supremacists beyond the borders of the United States.
“Although displays of the Confederate flag in the context of museums, historical reenactments or textbooks may be appropriate, in the 21st Century this symbol of hate and oppression has absolutely no place in other official government displays or contexts. Regardless of intent, such governmental displays implicitly convey an acceptance of racism and hatred — and hatred left unchecked can lead to horrific consequences.
“The African American community is fearful and feels vulnerable. At this difficult time, it needs reassurance that law enforcement is committed to protecting the community and treating all people equally before the law.
“The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency emblem is antithetical to instilling such confidence within the African American community and beyond. Undoubtedly, it is highly offensive to many and a cause for mistrust of law enforcement. Furthermore, the emblem is a painful reminder of an ugly period in our nation’s history when some law enforcement agencies and officials were complicit in opposing the civil rights movement. As a result, it may cause fear of Agency officials particularly for persons who lived through those times.
“Removing the Confederate flag from the Agency’s emblem would convey a resounding message that your administration is sensitive to the concerns of the African American community and committed to the public safety of all. We therefore urge you to expeditiously issue an executive order that removes the Confederate flag from the Agency’s emblem and retires all official displays of the current one.”
An executive order isn’t out of the question. Last month, days after the shooting of nine black church-goers in Charleston, S.C., the Alabama governor unilaterally orchestrated the removal of four Confederate flags from his state’s capitol grounds.
“We do not need a symbol that is portrayed by many people as racist,” he said.