As of late America has been going through a transition of social change, no one can deny it. The thing that obviously affects me is race relations and how people are reacting to it.
The outrage of the week is the Northern Virginia battle flag, otherwise known as The Confederate Flag. I of course have been asked by my conservative friends how I feel about the flag, clearly some were looking for a pass to praise the flag, and some were looking for someone else to spit on it. My answer is it’s a battle flag, and if a group or individual want to make it represent something more than that, that burden is on them..
It is important that some understand that the flag is a symbol of race in the south. Slavery, oppression, segregation, and police brutality. Why? Because that was black experience in the south. The flag is also seen by others as simply a representation of southern heritage. Southern people are prideful and use the flag as a representation of that pride and of the south. The debate that has erupted has done so not because one side is wrong, but because one side does not understand the others point of view, which of course is nothing new for the United States.
It all comes back however to one simple fact, it’s a flag and how you use that flag is what matters. I personally have two flags in my room, the American Flag and the French Republic Flag. Why do I have the French flag in my room? I appreciate French history, art, and literature, and it’s a bad ass flag. I would ask that we as Americans don’t be so quick to assume what something symbolizes, as it can represent different things to different people.
I’ll give you one more example in closing, a few years ago at the annual Shad Planking off in the distance I saw the hugest Confederate flag I had ever seen blowing in the wind. My curiosity drew me to it, not to cause trouble or to yell at the owners but out of mere curiosity of what else was there. When I got there, there were two older white gentlemen drinking beers and hanging out, no one else had come to them and I think the big flag had something to do with it. I introduced myself and shook their hands and they introduced themselves in kind, I asked what’s up with the big Confederate flag, and they explained they were members of the “Sons of the Confederacy”, we spoke for an hour or so about their organization and even spoke how they had many black members who were active and contributed.
These were two of the nicest guys I met that day and we had a great conversation, and I am grateful that day that I was not scared off by a flag. So I ask that when you take to social media and mock those who may be offended or mock those who are offended that others may be offended, take into account different experiences and different feeling, but all in all remember that it’s a flag.