The Plight Of Southern Ignorance

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I woke up this morning to news of an iconic symbol making its way back into the faces of Georgians. A symbol usually reserved for trailer parks, pit stained T-shirts, beat up pickup trucks and up until recently state capitol buildings. The group, Sons of Confederate Veterans, just received approval to have the controversial Confederate battle flag placed on Georgia specialty tags. This, of course, has caused some uproar with civil rights activists; however the obverse continue with the tired old saying, "It's heritage, not hate." There is something about that saying that just makes me cringe. Maybe some have forgotten about the history of hate that flag represents, essentially more bad than good. I am often curious how much weight that argument actually holds and actually how many really believe that.

As a child I have lomography memory of driving through a military base neighborhood in Savannah, Ga. Each residence was a mirror of the other and not just because of its construction, but nearly every home was adorned with a flying flag. Take a guess which flag was not flying? That's right the ole "Southern Cross." The same flag that was referred to in a newspaper as a flag that embodied "The destiny of the southern master and his African slave,"  the "White man's flag," as it went on to say. 

I find it interesting that after Georgia's fall after the Civil War the use of the Confederate flag had disappeared until 1956. The state flag was changed and adopted the Confederate battle flag element. The reason given is that it was in preparation of the Civil War centennial. Maybe it was a sly gesture given the fact that Brown vs. Board of Education was just two years prior to this change. Was this racist Georgian politics showing their opposition to the supreme court case? I believe so.

Where the argument really falls apart really could not be any more well timed. A story out of Mississippi on the tail end of the Georgia tag story really shows the underlying truth to what this symbol means. On the campus of Ole Miss University is a statue of James Meredith, the first black student to attend there. To earn a statue on any campus means that you have must do something extraordinary and Meredith did just that.  Imagine your first day of school, as you went to enter the building you were greeted by the governor of the state along with a throng of students, some of which are holding a Confederate flag, all in opposition of you being there. The amount of pressure and racial bigotry would conquer most people within that very moment. James Meredith, he withstood it for four years and obtained a degree.  Mr. Meredith's statue was disgraced by someone placing a noose around the neck and attaching a Confederate flag to it. Is this a message of heritage? Or of hate?  

If you still can't decide let me throw this at you. I have been thinking of opening a store in Borough Park (a section of New York with a large Jewish population). As for advertising I have been thinking about putting the name of my store along with a Swastika symbol. As you read that last sentence you came across the word "Swastika," I have a pretty good idea of the negative imagery that popped into your head. Okay, now imagine the fruitless argument I would have on my hands as I tried to explain to that Jewish community, "No, no, no, I mean it in a good way. I mean it in the sense that it means, good luck."  There is no doubt my claims would be dismissed instantly as that symbol will always have a meaning of hate. When African-Americans see that Confederate flag flying or posted it means no less than symbol that represents a heritage of hate.

My Georgia friends, rethink this one. 

Timothy Bryce


Send Your Opinions To Chattanoogan.com

We welcome your opinions at Chattanoogan.com. Email to news@chattanoogan.com . We require your real first and last name and contact information. There is no word limit, but if your article is too long you may lose your reader. Please focus more on issues than personal attacks. (click for more)

David Carroll: Who Rescues People From A Burning House? These Guys!

I’m as bad as anybody else.  Sometimes I get into a lazy, stereotypical mindset. I start believing that most 17-year-old boys stay out late, wake up really late, and have only one thing on their mind.  I love it when I’m proven wrong. Let me tell you what happened Thursday night.  Central High junior Jacob Gray and Ooltewah High junior Mason Chamberlain ... (click for more)

Signal Council, Residents Concerned About Unsafe Driving En Route To Schools

The town council of Signal Mountain is dealing with a traffic problem caused by increased traffic to and from Signal Mountain Middle High School and Nolan Elementary. Mayor Dick Gee said, “This is a tough issue that we wouldn’t have to deal with if everyone would drive responsibly.” The main concern is for safety and in November the council agreed to try to fix the problem by ... (click for more)

88-Year-Old Woman In Bradley County Severely Burned After Going Back In Burning House For Pets

Two people were injured in a house fire in Bradley County on Friday.   Shortly before noon, Bradley County EMS responded to a reported house fire on Hancock Road.   Two ambulances and a shift commander responded. Initial reports were that there were two people injured. When EMS crews arrived, Bradley County firefighters were performing resuscitative ... (click for more)

Henderson's Heroics Lead Warrors Past Bears, 53-45

Kordell Stewart’s broad shoulders were more than enough to carry his White County teammates on a mind-boggling, second-half offensive assault rarely seen on basketball courts in the Chattanooga area, or anywhere else for that matter. Henderson scored White County’s first 16 points of the second half and powered the District 6-AAA champion Warriors to a 53-45 come-from-behind ... (click for more)

Brainerd, Central Boys Advance To Region 3-AA Hoop Finals

LOUDON, Tenn. -- Brainerd won both regular-season matchups while Central won at the Best of Preps third-place consolation game before capturing the District 6-AA title last week at Red Bank. The season tally is now two wins each against each other and now they are ready for Round 5 following the Region 3-AA semifinals here at Loudon High School Saturday afternoon. Brainerd ... (click for more)