Former President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday that the idea that Americans should honor racism with the Confederate flag is similar to a disease in people’s minds.
“I think in many people’s minds the Confederate battle flag is not only a memorial to our ancestors, which is perfectly OK, but also a symbol of white superiority and an inclination for people to believe that even slavery would’ve been OK,” Carter said on HuffPost Live .
“I think that’s a minority [of people], but it’s still like a cancer in many people’s minds that racial distinction should be honored in law and symbolism.”
South Carolina lawmakers voted Monday to remove the Confederate battle flag that flies at the state capitol in Columbia, after weeks of debate following last month’s massacre that left nine people dead at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.
When asked whether he was surprised about the recent shooting, Carter said he wasn’t.
“Well I think we’ve seen it coming with the revelations about police attitudes towards African-American people. We reached a high point in my opinion with the passage of the civil rights legislation and Martin Luther King’s success and the crusade of others. I think we kind of breathed a sigh of relief as if we had achieved the end of racial discrimination or white supremacy,” Carter said.
“I believe that the recent revelations of problems in Ferguson, plus the assassination in Charleston, have brought it back to us that we still have a long way to go."
Watch the video above.