I live in a rural Upstate NY town. Most of the residents are middle-class, Anglos who have never interacted with minorities or people of color. And, as is often the case, when people aren’t exposed to different cultures these residents can be ignorant to the prejudice they unknowingly harbor. I use the word ignorant because, for the most part, I don’t think these people have a clue that some of the things they say are racist. To be ignorant simply means to be uninformed or lacking knowledge.
In our local newspaper there is a column called “30 seconds”. The idea is that readers write online comments about issues that affect them and their community. Unfortunately, some people submit some very misinformed, rude and ignorant comments. Case in point. Here is a recent online submission: “The confederate flag was designed and specified by the Confederate Congress . It represented the Confederate States of America. Your so called American Flag was the flag the KKK carried till 1966 in all of their parades. Black and proud”- Nothing wrong with that right? This man is offended by the meaning of the confederate flag and says he’s proud to be black.
Here’s the response to his submission: “A flag is a flag,don’t use it to show your prejudicism. Surly you can find another reason then a flag to complain about.Rebel and proud of it.” Note the misspellings. What the hell is prejudicism? If you’re going to write a critical response to a comment then at least make sure you sound somewhat intelligent.
Here’s my response to him, “The KKK has always waved the confederate flag as a symbol of their hatred for African- Americans. And since when is being proud of your heritage PREJUDICIAL? Is prejudicism a skin-head term? Don’t look now, but your ignorance is showing.”
Registered readers have the opportunity to either “vote up” or “vote down” comments and guess what? My comment, so far has more downs than ups. What a surprise. Call it what you like, but it’s still prejudice in my eyes. Anglos can’t possibly be sympathetic or understanding of the difficulties and struggles that minorities go through on a daily basis when they aren’t exposed to other cultures. I’m not saying we should bus Anglos to inner-cities so they can get some first-hand experience living with other cultures. Although that might be somewhat comical. But what’s wrong with attempting to be more open minded?
And, incidentally, the confederate flag has been and still is a symbol of white supremacy and prejudice. It’s been paraded shamelessly by hooded members of the KKK to display their hatred for decades and is offensive. Hiding behind a confederate flag and excusing it by calling one’s self a rebel is cowardly. Just call it what it is-rebellion against anyone different than you.