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I was born in Ferriday, Louisiana and raised in one of the most racist areas of the United States, Tensas Parish, Louisiana. Waterproof, Louisiana sits adjacent, literally, to the Mississippi River levee. As a kid growing up there, I can distinctly remember Ku Klux Klan pamphlets being spread all over the streets, as well as seeing crosses set fire on the way home from football games.

Most of my family would be called, at the least and politely, segregationists. Though my parents seldom if ever spoke of racial issues, when they did they referred to blacks as niggers. My mom tried on occasion to take a more middle of the road stance, often saying, “I’m not going to associate with them, but I’m not going to mistreat them either.” Of course, she was never in a position to mistreat them, so her words were somewhat hollow.

Tensas Parish was one of the last parishes/counties in America to integrate their school system in 1970. By that time I’d already graduated from high school in South Louisiana (South Lafourche High School, 1968), where my parents moved in 1965. South Lafourche High School integrated in 1966. Going to school with blacks my junior and senior years of high school was not a problem for me, my parents, or anyone I knew. In Lafourche parish, at least as I remember it, integration was really a non-issue.

I will be 65 in a couple of months, and I only mention the above as a reminder to the reader that I’m speaking from experience, having lived for a great portion of my younger life in a racist strong hold. And, with that backdrop, I’m brought to the issue of the Confederate Battle Flag, the Stars and Bars…the flag that has much of America in such a turmoil.

On the one hand, I suppose I can see the position of those who support the Confederate flag…it is their right to fly it if they want to. While, on the other hand, it doesn’t take a scientist to understand what this flag represents to African Americans and how offensive it is.

I’ve listened to all of the blather about the South’s heritage, the flag being a part of American history, etc. All I can say to that is bullshit. The Confederate Battle Flag, the Stars and Bars, represents the American Civil War and the primary reason it was fought – black slavery. It represents the South’s desire to continue a policy of slavery, racial segregation, and keeping blacks in their place, if not de jure, then de facto. It represents the Ku Klux Klan and all of the despicable acts they committed against the black race. It reminds black Americans of Emmett Till and the three Freedom Riders murdered in Neshoba County, Mississippi (Mississippi Burning).  It reminds black folks that there is still no real equality in this country. It is a constant reminder to blacks in America that decades after the civil rights movement a whole segment of society still view the black race not that much differently than they did before.

So called “patriots” go out of their way to retain all of the rights they claim they no longer have. They are big on words like tyranny, freedom, the constitution, conspiracy, taking back America, etc. Recently, I had a discussion with a gentleman who was all concerned with the rights he was losing under Obama and the liberals – now days it’s always about Obama and the liberals. He feared his right to gun possession was under attack and was somewhat concerned with Jade Helm 15. He went on and on and on about his rights being taken away. Somewhere along the line I told him I lived in the same country he did and I didn’t feel my rights were under attack at all. Oh, but he did and was most emphatic about it. So, I asked him point blank what rights had he lost. Predictably, he couldn’t name even one. Cornered, he then countered with “but they are trying to.” They, of course, being the federal government, Obama, the liberals, blah, blah, and BLAH. At that point, I may as well have been in a discussion with a two by four and disengaged.

Ah, the white majority, offend their sense of American pride or sense of freedom or rights and there will be hell to pay…but, when offending the minorities of our nation they are callous. They come unglued at the thought of a Muslim moving into their neighborhood. The building of an Islamic mosque almost anywhere causes them to go ape shit. 911 caused much of uneducated America to paint all Muslims the same way Hitler painted the Jews in 1930s Germany. Perhaps these patriots would be a bit more understanding of the black race’s plight if they had lived, and continue to live, under the thumb of the white man since before the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

I in no way support making the Confederate flag illegal and defend any individual’s right to fly it. And, that brings us to political correctness.  If a person wants to violate the sensibilities of another, a group, or an entire race of people, or exhibit a total lack of respect for another point of view, and generally show themselves to be a low class, ignorant horse’s ass I fully defend their right to do that. In fact, I hope they do…so as to make my decision to associate with them easy. What some see as political correctness I see as being polite, considerate, understanding, and compassionate.

The display of the Confederate Battle Flag over public/governmental grounds or institutions should be prohibited. The flag is generally offensive to an entire race of Americans. The flag simply furthers the division of our country. Certainly, it’s a state’s right issue. Let’s hope the citizens of those states come to their senses.

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2 Comments

  1. I’m a republican and southern but I agree with you. It is time to bury that damn flag. That war is long gone, as it should be. It represents something I don’t represent as an individual. I came up in the same era as you. They can still put it on the graves of rebels soldiers at Vicksburg and be proud of it but it doesn’t mean that I have to agree, and I don’t, but it is still their heritage and their right. Some day that tradition and heritage will be gone too, when that ugly history is finally forgotten. Some traditions are hard to kill. Look at the middle east. They have been doing it for hundreds of years. Hopefully we don’t have to go through that. I have been over there, it is stupid.

    • I couldn’t have said it better, Claude.


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