Friday, June 26, 2015

Sweet-Home-Alabama Pride or Is He Just a Bigot?

I have an opinion about the confederate flag. Do you know the story that I'm referring to? There were nine people in a church in Charleston, North Carolina who were murdered. Nine African American people. The murderer had a confederate flag on his license plate. Now, use of the confederate flag by state governments is in question.

My first opinion is that attention has been taken away from that vile act against our African Americans and in a church no less. Now, instead of talking about mental health issues or rampant racism, our politicians argue whether the confederate flag should be a symbol in the South or not. Why can't they stay focused on the real issues?


My second opinion is that the confederate flag should go. Oh, I know those people who loved the confederate flag for its representation of redneck rebel pride, Lynyrd Skynyrd, off-road trucks, and spicy pulled-pork sandwiches.

Still, I never saw a black man waving that flag and eating a spicy pulled-pork sandwich. Never.

Did you?

Show me a black man waving the confederate flag and I'll show you a Jew waving a swastika.

Think about it. Five thousand years ago, the swastika was a Sanskrit symbol for good luck or well-being. Then, it began to be used as a symbol of 'purity' by the Nazis. Purity, really?

And that ruined the use of the symbol forever. It was used to create terror and to incite an evil pride instead of wishing people good luck. Can you imagine trying to send a swastika to anyone as a sign of good luck now? It just doesn't mean the same thing any more.

One time, I had a difference of opinion with a friend's son. He insisted that he was a 'hacker' and was completely offended when I asked if he'd done something illegal. After that conversation, I learned that a small group of computer experts were calling themselves hackers. At the time, my only comment to him after he explained that he wasn't breaking any laws was that if a large population defined a word in a negative way, a small group of people co-opting a different meaning of the word would have to live with the consequences, with the confusion, with the negative association the larger agreed meaning would bring.

Did that just make sense?

I told him that if he called himself a hacker, most people would assume he was breaking the law, that his small group of people couldn't just change the meaning and argue that the rest of us were wrong.

He hung up on me.

And so it is with the confederate flag. A large population see the confederate flag as a sign of oppression. I used to wonder why I got so nervous at a party whenever I met a guy driving a truck with a gun-rack and a confederate flag in the back window. Now, I know. That flag could either have meant that this guy liked his pulled pork spicy and would sing along whenever 'Sweet Home Alabama' came on the radio or it could mean that he was a bigoted - and that often went along with being a misogynist - man with a bunch of guns to back him up. With the confederate flag, you could never tell which man was which until the party had gone on too long and the beer was flowing freely.

Yes, I think the confederate flag should be removed from any government buildings and license plates. What you do with your own gun-rack is up to you, but don't be offended if I wonder if it means you're a bigot. Okay?

Thank you for listening, jb

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