blueollie

The Confederate Flag and my shame…

Yes, I know; this flag:

Confederate

I’ll call the “Confederate flag” though it never flew over any capitol in the Confederate States. It was a union jack, the battle flag for the Tennessee army and a square version was the flag for the Northern Virginia army. (more here) But this is what went up over the state capitol in South Carolina and that is what is frequently used in many other settings.

And, when I attended (1975-1977), it was the flag for my High School, William B. Travis High in Austin, Texas. It was on our uniforms and it decorated the door to the football locker rooms.

And yes, as a high school student, I had these flags crossed on my bedroom wall, with a photo of my Yokota High School football team in between them. It was a “school spirit” thing.

What did it symbolize for us? Well, we were a working class high school (55 percent Mexican American, by the way); we saw ourselves as being looked down by those snobby “silk stocking” high schools in the wealthier parts of the city.
So, for us, it was “spunk”, “overcoming the odds”, fighting back against “the snobs who looked down on us”. “Rebel Pride”; “Your durn tootin I’m a Rebel” we said.

Yes, blacks were hated in my high school (the ones who were good at sports were tolerated); I remember the old “lunch lines” where many black students cut the line (no, I didn’t say anything) and sometimes fights broke out. The teachers did nothing to stop it. This was in sharp contrast to Yokota High School, where the mixing was far easier and I had a lot of black friends.

So I carried this flag stuff with me a bit..no matter how much it really didn’t fit me. I outgrew it.

I began to see the flag…well, I am being honest here; not so much as a sign of bigotry (which, it is) but more as a sign of uncultured ignorance; for example I would die of embarrassment to be seen riding in a car with such a decal.

I felt the same way about Dixie (the song) too; in fact, I blew a gasket when the church I belonged to sang it; in fact we had a big public dust up over it. (ok, it was a UU church).

But I remember seeing it fly over the capitol building in Columbia, South Carolina when I visited there.

So, let’s just say that I was pleasantly surprised to see Lindsey Graham, Nikki Haley, Mitt Romney call for South Carolina to take it down.

But…now WALMART???? I suppose they have a lot of black customers…(sorry to be so cynical).

Yeah, I continually read all of the dumb “it is about heritage” stuff. That is backward looking. The Civil War is over. The traitors lost. Personally, I would have voted to let the south go; it isn’t as if they add that much to our country anyway. But we didn’t and they are a part of the United States.

Put it in the museum and move forward.

Regional pride is fine but I hope they come up with something more positive. Remember that the flag went up over the capitol in Columbia in 1961. More on the history here.

June 23, 2015 - Posted by | Personal Issues, racism, social/political |

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