Sunday, May 14, 2017

Confederate Statues Stars and Bars

I used to have the Stars and Bars on my car in the form of a license plate on the front. I bought it at a flee market. I used to go by that old "southern pride" excuse as a justification for having it.

Then I was assigned to be the coordinator for an aircraft technical services company in Indianapolis Indiana. One day I had to pick up a new hire at the airport and get him settled in. He was a Black fellow. After talking with him for a while he confessed something to me. He said after seeing that Stars and Bars on my car he thought he was with another typical prejudiced white person. He also said he didn't think I was one of them anymore.

That encounter really got me thinking. Is it really worth it expressing "southern pride" like that? What's the whole point of it? Am I really "proud" and proud of what? I couldn't help it the circumstances of my birth. I didn't have anything to do with the confederacy. If I decided to take off that plate would it effect me in a negative way?

I also thought of that young black man. He seen that plate and automatically thought badly of me. That says a lot. That shows that the symbol does in fact have a negative connotation to a large portion of our people. Unlike the people who wish to express this so called "southern pride", there is a darn good chance that his ancestors were slaves. He and his family have been under the yoke of oppression for several hundred years. Please don't try to deny it. There is endemic racism in our nation. He and his brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers have lived under it. That symbol of the Confederacy is the symbol of that oppression for them.

I know there is massive racism in the deep south. I call it closet racism. I was raised there, so don't try to tell it it doesn't exist because I know it does, and I'm likely to call you a liar. I remember the mantra "Save your Confederate money and Dixie Cups. The south will raise again!" I lived through segregation and busing and Jim Crow and the whole desgusting lot of it. So what ever you do, lets not try to gloss over it with "southern pride". Flying the Stars and Bars is a slap in the face for our fellow Americans who happen to be Black. Every time they walk by one of those statues of a Confederate General, or Stone Mountain in Georgia it is like saying "In your face! You were slaves."

I visited some of the walls of people who are for keeping the statues. They have things on their wall that eludes to, or are veiled references to racists ideology. So again, let us not gloss over things with the "southern pride" excuse. If you love the Confederacy because you're a racists, at least be big enough to admit it.

I took that license plate with the stars and bars on it off my car. I did it and haven't suffered any ill effects. I'm still glad I was born in the south. I went to the beach every weekend when I was growing up. I seen Gemini and Apollo rockets flying overhead. I went fishing in the ocean. I ate a lot of catfish and hush puppies.

You know what I'm really proud of? I'm proud to be an American. I'm proud to be a part of something that is great, the UNITED STATES of AMERICA. I'm proud of the fact that I let go of the past so my fellow Americans who happen to be Black can live life a little bit more without fear and reminders of a terrible past. I'm proud that I've done my part to help bring us a little bit closer to being truly "United".

We have division enough in this nation. Trying to prove some point that doesn't matter any more doesn't help. Let us all bring ourselves together under one banner. One that can unite instead of divide. Try it. I guarantee you that you'll not suffer any negative effects. In fact, you may feel better and have less stress.