Okay, this is getting ridiculous. Because a long time ago people who used to own enormous farms called plantations used a form of servitude called slavery – which has existed for the entirety of human existence and still is used as an economic system in various parts of the world – wackadoodle, self-righteous do-gooders in modern America have decided certain symbols must go. Why? Because supposedly, these symbols are reminders to Americans 150 years after the institution existed that slavery happened. (Does anyone actually living remember slavery?)
This week, the Confederate Battle Flag, the well known standard of the army of Northern Virginia used during the war between the states that the Confederacy lost (and with it slavery was abolished in this country) was removed from the statehouse where that conflict originated. Why? Because some kid with mental issues shot nine people and he happened to have it sewn onto a jacket.
So, using that as an example, the thin-skinned history ignoramuses have settled on their next symbol to erase from American consciousness. The Fleur-de-Lis.
“As an African I find it painful, and I think people whose ancestors were enslaved here may feel it even harder than I do as an African,” said slave historian Dr. Ibrahima Seck to WWLTV.
He connects the usage of the fleur de lis, to “code noir,” or black code, which was adopted in Louisiana in 1724, and used to govern to state’s slave population.
Seck said a slave caught running away, “would be taken before a court and the sentence would be being branded on one shoulder and with the fleur de lis, and then they would crop their ears.”
So, because of that historic tidbit, the Fleur-de-Lis, the lily (some say iris) that signifies above anything else the Blessed Virgin Mary, has to go?
The symbol is also used currently in the coat of arms for the King of Spain.
Tulane history professor Terence Fitzmorris said, “The fleur de lis was the symbol of a monarchy.”
Quick history lesson: the Fleur-de-Lis was the symbol of King Louis IX of France, who, incidentally, happened to be a benevolent king (terrible crusader, though), and is a canonized saint in the Catholic Church. It is also the heraldic symbol of Florence in Italy, and graces the crests of a number of popes. The complaint here is that runaway slaves were branded with the Fleur-de-Lis to label them as troublemakers. In France, that was done for all criminals (have these people never read The Three Musketeers). Louisiana, at the time Luzianne because it was under French control as opposed to the Spanish who actually founded the place and were the sales agent at the time of the Louisiana Purchase (history learned at Destrehan Plantation), was not only named for the man who sported the Fleur-de-Lis with honor, but was French when that was happening, so the laws were similar. Of course, no one seems to remember that.
However, that is in the past. We don’t brand criminals anymore, least of all with a symbol of the Blessed Virgin Mary. That is cruel even if some black fraternities are known to do it on a regular basis with Greek letters. Multiple locales worldwide use the Fleur-de-Lis as part of their symbolism and crests, not just monarchs and popes. So it will never go away. Not completely. It’s not like the Confederate Battle Flag that was developed by rebels on this side of the pond. The Fleur-de-Lis is a completely different kettle of fish. It is an international concept.
The focus of erasing the Fleur-de-Lis seems to be ridding it from the City of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana where it is the official symbol. Is this really about not wanting to remind all of us about the shame of our past, or, in this case, about something deeper. Whatever is the case, this targeting of symbols is not advancing any cause of greater understanding other than weak-kneed people can be cowed with guilt.