While waiting on and considering what our legislators will say about the flag today, take a look at my first piece for Politico:
From the piece:
Despite the headlines and rhetoric dripping from the lips of Southern politicians so white-hot they make national news and late-night comedians drool, a comfortable silence has been a more accurate description of everyday black life in my part of the South than constant, overt racial unrest.
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And that’s why it took the massacre of nine black people in a church once burned down by slavery supporters to make the Confederate flag an issue politicians have to grapple with today.
... I rushed to the TV like many people I grew up with to watch “The Dukes of Hazzard.” I cheered for Daisy and Uncle Jesse against Jefferson “Boss Hog” Davis, and with Bo and Luke Duke in an orange Dodge Charger with the Confederate flag on the roof and named after the most revered Confederate soldier of them all, Gen. Robert E. Lee.
By the time that show ended its six-year run in 1985, the Confederate flag had been flying above the South Carolina State House dome for almost a quarter of a century, placed there in 1962 in defiance of the burgeoning civil rights movement. As it was flying at our capitol to celebrate men who fought to implement a permanent form of black enslavement, we were celebrating it in our homes in the form of the good-natured Duke boys.
By night, for at least an hour every week, we were immersed in the kind of sanitized version of the ugliest period of our past that was codified by Gone with the Wind. By day, we were taught in public schools from a history book written by the daughter of a Confederate soldier that included descriptions of happy slaves and a sympathetic Klan.
We had (and have) friends who revere the flag and told us they were protecting their heritage and honoring the sacrifice their ancestors made to protect the state from an invading army.