What Would Help?

by William Joseph Mode | 11/20/03 6:00am

To the Editor:

Well, what can a ninth-generation Southerner say? I can say thank you for those who were trying to make a point on your campus that it isn't right to stereotype Southerners. Thank you! Double standards should not be tolerated.

But what can I say that would lead anyone to another opinion of Southerners or the Confederate battle flag? Would it help to tell you that the cross on the flag is the Saint Andrews Cross, which represents the cross upon which Saint Andrew was crucified? This is a Christian symbol. Would it help to tell you that slavery existed under the Confederate flag for four years, as opposed to 80-plus years under Ole' Glory. Which, then, is a symbol of slavery?

Would it help to tell you that the vast majority of Southerners despise the Ku Klux Klan and their adulteration of the Confederate flag. We are disgusted at their use of the Bible and the American flag as well, but see no one seeking to ban them as symbols of hate or racism. Local Sons of Confederate Veterans groups here distance themselves from the Klan at every turn.

Would it help to tell you that the Confederate flag is a symbol of rebellion against a federal government that has become more and more intrusive in our daily lives? Would it help to tell you that 95 percent of the men who fought for the South did not own slaves, or that freed men, slaves, Native Americans, Hispanics, and those of the Jewish faith fought under the Confederate flag? Would it help to tell you that what we learn about the war is vastly different than what you, in the North, learn about the war, or that there is much truth in the old adage that the victor writes the history.

Would it help to tell you that the majority of the Southern population viewed the war as an invasion of their homes, not as about the extinction of slavery? Would it help to tell you that most native-born Southerners of African ancestry do not view the Confederate flag as racist or a symbol of slavery, especially the older generations?

Would it help to tell you that there are black, Confederate re-enactors, or that the majority of the population of Mississippi, blacks included, voted to retain their state flag? Would it help to tell you that it pays to read and learn more than what is presented in your high-school history textbooks concerning the war between the states?

What can a Southerner say? Would anything make any difference?

Advertise your student group in The Dartmouth for free!