Friday, June 26, 2015


Sometimes, this is what you have to try to do:
To focus more on understanding, and less on being understood.

Its easy for me to try to understand why people would want a Confederate Battle Flag flown at a State Capitol. The unity experienced by the South, and the pride it inspires is immeasurable. Damn, it’s a good looking Flag too, Ol’ Dixie, and I can remember the swelling in the chest I would get when I saw one. I remember as a boy in Detroit we would sing "Dixie" in Music class, and I would almost tear up as we sang it. I was the only person in my grammar school class from the south, and my buddies would all look at me and smile as we sang it. I read a lot of history books way back then, and could tell you all about Fredericksburg and Stonewall Jackson by the time I was in the Fourth Grade. On vacation trips back to Texas and going to Six Flags, I was always delighted watching the Confederate Army march past, with the black drummer boy bringing up the rear.
It filled me with an enormous sense of southern pride, and when I got back to Detroit and would try to tell my friends how wonderful it was, the story always fell a little flat.
There is no way you can explain that feeling to a Yankee. There is no way they can feel it themselves. I should not expect a Chinaman, or an Israelite, or a Negro to feel that way about Dixie.

Likewise, it’s a little harder for me to completely understand the other side. But I can try to put myself in the shoes of a black parent, with their four year old child, walking up the steps of a courthouse to register my car and seeing that flag. It just might give me a chill. It just might remind me of my Great-grandfather, who died in bondage. It might remind me of my grandfather, who was lynched. It might remind me of my father, who experienced the harshest effects of Jim Crow south. It might remind me of the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle form of systemic discrimination and racism I had experienced in my life time.

And I think how I might feel, standing there with my four year old daughter, and watching the flag be lowered from the State Capital for the last time and forever. Its difficult for me to imagine all this.

Its even more difficult to imagine what that four year old might think, presently and some twenty years into the future, as America plays out this long history of dysfunctional race relations that began as our country was born.

I also remember that at Six Flags I was afraid to ask mom and dad could i have a Dixie Flag, because I thought they would say no. I thought they would say no, because I always sensed deep inside that there was something a little wrong about wanting that flag.
But damn, its a handsome flag!


SL said...

Love this post Bullets. Yes! Yes! Yes! More putting ourselves in another person's shoes, more trying to see the world from each others perspective. I believe with all my heart, we can change the world.

bulletholes said...

I cant believe how much I've learned about this flag and the causes of the war this week. I wonder how long it will take to unlearn it. I think the best one was that the 13 stars on the Confederate flag stood for the original 13 colonies. Haha. Thats funny.

Bulletholes said...