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.