Letter: Southern pride needs a new symbol

ltr_makela-2We were all horrified by the senseless shootings in South Carolina. The number of hate crimes in this country is growing and we need to do whatever we can to stop it. The young racist who carefully planned and carried out this event took great pride in posing on his Facebook page holding the Confederate flag.

For many in this country, this was the last straw in a controversy that has been going on for as long as I can remember. Since that day, major retailers have removed items from their shelves, many of the states that still use it in an official way are taking steps to have it removed and the National Cathedral is removing it from two of their windows. The time has come to limit its use to historical events and museums.

The day the governor recalled the Sons of the Confederacy license plate, I was passed on 211 by two young men in a pickup truck with two large Confederate flags on poles in the bed. I wondered what point they were trying to make.

The flag has been used to symbolize 3 ideologies; Southern pride, racism and white supremacy. My question of the two young men would be: Are you racists, white supremacists, just showing your Southern pride, or all of the above?

Southern pride is a valid concept. We all like to take pride in our family histories, but why would Southerners choose to honor theirs with a symbol that also stands for hatred and bigotry?

Recent events show that in the eyes of a majority of Americans racism has overtaken Southern pride as its primary symbolism. The time has come to create a new symbol that clearly shows Southern pride without sending a mixed message.

As we celebrate the birth of our nation on July 4th, please show your American pride and your Southern pride with the U.S. flag.


Ron Makela

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