Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Southern Girl here, but for goodness' sake, take down the flag!

I'm a southern girl. 

I would not like to live anywhere else. 

I love my state and its unpredictable weather. 

I love the fact that I can make a quick trip to either the mountains or the beach if I want to.

One thing that bothers me about the South is that every once in  a while, I will see a car or a truck with a confederate flag on the bumper, or even flying wildly on a pole mounted to the bed of the truck. My kids have asked me in the past what the flag is for, and why people fly it. My usual response has been that they're proud to be part of the old southern states, and they are probably really "Country" people. (Sorry to my "Country" cousins!)

I have always had in the back of my mind the fact that the flag stands for much more than just "Country folk" and "Southern heritage," and that in many cases the people who fly the flag are of a certain mind about race relations. Now that my kids are a little older, they have figured out that when they see the confederate flag on a piece of clothing or a beach towel, they usually hear racist remarks from the person wearing it. They have figured out the truth without me having to explain it to them.

I was born in the South, raised in the South, and have never lived anywhere else. I also have had ancestors who have fought for the South! I have an ancestor who watched General Robert E. Lee surrender at the Appomattox courthouse in 1865. I am proud to be a southern girl! However, I am not ever going to fly the Confederate flag. I will never defend the flying of that flag. I understand its history, I TEACH the history in 5th grade Social Studies. Yes, I still teach Social Studies, even though it is not a "tested" subject in Common Core.

The thing is - the Confederate flag looks cool, but it is a symbol for something that is ultimately uncool. It is a symbol for hate, bigotry, and racism at its core. It was created and designed in order to represent the supremacy of white people over all others. It is flown as a symbol of a failed attempt at secession from our great United States.

The man that designed the Confederate flag was William T. Thompson, the editor of the Savannah Morning News in Georgia. In 1863, after the Civil war was in full swing, he wrote: "As a people, we are fighting to maintain the Heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race; a white flag would thus be emblematical of our cause… Such a flag…would soon take rank among the proudest ensigns of the nations, and be hailed by the civilized world as the white man's flag… As a national emblem, it is significant of our higher cause, the cause of a superior race, and a higher civilization contending against ignorance, infidelity, and barbarism."

I do not support it. I will not condone it. I will not defend it.

We have come so far in this country to improve racial issues. We STILL have MORE work to do. This is the right step to take at this point in our country.

I do think it should be taken down from government buildings. It is a part of our country's history, and should be treated as history.

Take down the flags that proclaim to the world you are someone who hates others based on their skin color, even if to you, it just means you're proud to be a southerner.

Educate yourself on the facts of the matter, and don't wear your ignorance on your flagpole.

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