Saturday, June 27, 2015

A couple Thoughts on Confederate Battle Flag Hysteria

-The following text was begun as a comment on a thread to a liberal group I follow on Facebook.  As it got longer I realized it wasn’t appropriate for that venue and decided to post it here and invite a friend to read it and give me his feedback.  This post is not as complete as I would have written it if I had been writing expressly for this blog.  -thanks

Am I the only one that sees this flag uproar as a diversion? It's the same as saying "there's no racism, I’ve never seen a KKK burning cross"... or, we could say "you never see news reports of black folk getting lynched anymore, we can't be racists". Anyone who comments on the Confederate Battle Flag, IN MY OPINION, is aiding in diverting attention from the true issues/problems. White folk and black folk don't know each other. By avoiding each other we keep the walls of fear and ignorance high. The national sentiment that has swept the country to where most people support gay marriage, or at least enough folks to impact policy, is amazing, but it's troubling in that in the time this has swept our nation, we still don't understand each other across the races.

I have a few questions that can help. Someone says "I have a black friend", ask that person "when's the last time you had him over for dinner? Went to dinner? A picnic? Were there more than 1 of your black friends families at that picnic". Don’t leave it as a test but maybe ask "why not do it sometime". We need to socialize; we need to be able to ask questions of each other that matter. We need to learn, at a personal level, what we have in common and also what is different in our experiences and lives.

When I was a boy, my dad ran the company picnic. We had a group of his coworkers over for a planning meeting. One guy and his wife were there with their newborn baby (they were an African American family, Darryl and I can't remember the wives name) during the night my mom asked "why isn't the baby's hair curly, like yours" ... 5 white faces lost all expression. As if it were ridiculous to ask a person why they are different. Perhaps they feared Darryl would lose it. Darryl and his wife smiled and explained it takes some time to become curly, that babies’ hair is straight. And we moved on. It was no big deal to them. But I always remembered to looks on the faces of the white grownups in the room. It was like some secret rules existed that you don't ask about differences. We only learn, like and accept people by learning about them.

Not all of my friends are "like" me. One of my dearest friends holds the diametrically opposite political beliefs to what I have. We tease each other, we question each other. Our different viewpoints lead to learning from each other. Not every city/town in America is diverse enough for what I'm asking. WE really aren't very much developed when compared to where we were as a society in the 60s when change swept through the society. Martin Luther's dream, was a dream, he died, we all think the change has happened, that just shows how devoted we, AS A SOCIETY, NOT YOU READING THIS, are, and have been, to keeping the races separated. I could be wrong of course. the force that keeps our black and white Americans from understanding each other might just be that silly flag.

White America has found a way to avoid the real issue, hate, fear, and ignorance, and we've found a 150 year old piece of cloth to hide behind. If I were a black man, I'd be constantly slapping my forehead and shaking my head in disgust.