What does the Confederate Flag Mean to You?

I was in the third grade.  It was my first year in public school when my friend Yvonne came over to my house.  She’d come over a few times and I had started to pick up on the fact, I’d never been to her house.  So I remembering saying something like “next week maybe I can come over.”  And she said “No.  My grandmother doesn’t like black people.” That was the first time I realized I wasn’t like everyone else.  That was the first time I began learning what racism really was.

But rewind the clock.  My first racist experience happened two years before on the playground at my private Christian school.  “Little Boy Smith (I can’t remember his first name for the life of me) told me his best friend would never be my boyfriend – even though he liked me – because I was a n*&gg#r.  I never even flinched when the word came out because I had no idea what he meant by that.

So why bring all this up?  Last night a Facebook Friend told me I must have to “friend” everyone on my work account because they noticed that a few hours before I accepted someone’s friend request and they had a confederate flag as their profile picture.  I saw that profile picture when I made the decision.  And YES it was my decision.

I learned a long time ago not everyone is going to like me.  As for the confederate flag, how do I feel about it?  I don’t like it.  I understand the argument that it’s history and many people display it as such.  However, I know my experiences and the experiences of my parents and grandparents for that matter.  I know what that flag represents to them.

Here’s the deal, I’ve worked in West Texas where that flag means stay away if you are not white.  In parts of Virginia, I’ve also had that same experience (the last one was about 2 years ago).  I know that not everyone who fly’s the flag is ignorant but many are.  As I said, I don’t like confederate flag.  As a Black woman, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  There’s a lot of our history that needs to stay in the past.  But, as a journalist, the confederate flag doesn’t really ruffle me anymore.  Trust me, I see and hear a lot more outlandish things when I’m in the field.


5 responses to “What does the Confederate Flag Mean to You?

  1. I understand where you are coming from. I am white and by no means am I racist. I have to say I am proud to be from the south I guess because of all the history and things associated with the south. I know some people use the flag as a hate symbol but sometimes we have to overlook the stupid people in this world, look at Congress.

  2. i nevr have had a problem with the flag my first time even seeing it i was in 3rd grad our clas went to dixi caverns they sold them i just remember feeling it was some how a very special part of this countrys heritage but hen i was no black either but in schoool i had black friends my nannny was a black lady i loved her dearly im hurt when i see that word even when writtten by ablack person if my reserch is corrrect my wonderful lord and savior will be of a dark complexion on the litter side i was preaching a messsage one morning in church and mentioning howweas a people are never happpy michael jackson tried to loook white white girls tan and try to loook dark holllian you are truly a very beautiful women oh when we judge people by their charoctor and notthe color of their skin mlk what a wonderful day we are closer to that noe then ever befor in this country thank god

  3. When it comes to the Civil War, I don’t “blame” the soldiers, many just poor farmers, for the war, and no, there was no shame in their service. Given the ruling class and the decision makers, many, had no choice but to fight, I am more than well aware of that. They were, in many ways simply victims of their times.

    I also do not “blame” the descendents for appreciating their ancestor’s sacrifice. BUT who is kidding whom, many of these folks go far, far beyond that notion and that whole “South’s gonna do it again” crap is something I refuse to accept or feed. I understand anyone’s reverence for history and heritage, I feel it myself. I am deeply proud of my southern heritage and my ancestors who paved the way for me with hard work and humility. There is a world of difference in honoring sacrifice and appreciating heritage and what some of these folks feel, believe and say.

  4. I am touched and impressed with your willingness to acknowledge the Conferate Flag and explain what it means to you. I believe there needs to be more frank discussion of the symbol and the local history for the black population. It is only one generation back where discrimiation was flagrant and expected. Freedom Riders 50 years ago. I felt bad that I could not ride a bus but then my city did not have a black population. I was not stupid but I was ignorant. Now I know better. It still makes me sad to see and hear what you have gone through. White privilege can be blind and deaf. And symbols can be a hurtful reminder. I commend your courage to speak. I enjoy seeing you on the news each night.

  5. Spoken wisely!

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