God of Thunder and Rock'n'Roll (archmage) wrote,
God of Thunder and Rock'n'Roll

Flag Thoughts

With all the debate and news going around about the Confederate flag, I've wanted to say something about my own sigtuation. Hell, i think there are some that kinda expected me to do so, but I was truly torn about what I felt and wanted to do. On that discussion, I read a post on FB from a black farmer, the short version of was this: coming up to a house where the flag was displayed, they knew that the person inside had just as much chance of being a wonderful, hospitable, best ol' Southern buddy, as they they had of being a racist bigot with desires of violence. Regardless of what the post writer might want to do, taking a chance on the resident being great meant also taking a chance that their wife would be a widow that night.

Now, I try to be that "Southern Gentleman" type. I want those I interact with to feel the hospitality and gentility that the idealized South should be known for offering. Sure, I'd love to have that flag mean these things, but I have to come to terms with the fact that it doesn't, at least, not exclusively. if there was a way to strip that association, to 'take it back', I would in a heartbeat. Alas, I accept that someone seeing it might not be able to afford to give me the chance to show who I am. Well, folks, i can't have that.

So, here's my response to them:
Growing up in the South, I got used to the flag. it was just another thing to see, y'know? I took it as a symbol of my heritage, and left it at that. My Mom and Grandmother would have slapped the dirt off my head for making racist remarks, so I never took it to mean such a culture of hatred; I was raised to be a 'Southern Gentleman'. Sure, as i grew, I discovered it, saw the types of people with bad attitudes that revered it, but I always strove to rise above that, to show that it could represent that sense of community, of "Southern Hospitality".

With all that has happened over the last few months, I've been a little torn. Of course, I don't want to cause unease, but how could I try to 'take it back' if it wasn't around? I hemmed and hawed, thunk and debated, but in the end, it came down to one thing: priorities. What was truly important, that I show who I was to those around me, or that I try to let a symbol...one under a lot of scrutiny and argument, at that...make that call for me?

I'll always be proud of where I came from, and I'll always be proud to be an example of the goodness that can come from The South, but I doubt I'll ever display that flag again. I'll not risk losing out on what could be a friend, business partner, or opportunity because they couldn't take that risk of knowing if I was a racist asshole or not. I'll let my actions speak, thanks a lot.
Am I going to throw my flag away, burn it, destroy it? No, but I'm not letting it into the light of day, either. I'll always be a Southern Boy, but I'll let people discover that by coming up to meet me, not by seeing me a mile away and having to guess.
Tags: better days, fight back, frustration, musing

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