I am so done with the Confederate flag. As you all should know, I’ve been complaining about it for years. It is not just because it was retrieved from the dustbin of history for specifically racist reasons. It was the flag of treason. Yet we did not punish the south for this horrible act of treason. We looked forward, but there are certain people in the south who have done nothing but look back. So I’m glad that there is a more concerted effort to get rid of it. But I hadn’t figured that I would be writing about it again — at least not so soon.
But this is just too amazing a story not to pass along. David Edwards over at Raw Story wrote, Man Calls Cops After Mostly Black Town “Hurts” His Feelings by Disrespecting Confederate Flag Parade. The man in question is Chris Oliver. He, his wife Angela, and about 100 other people in Virginia took part in a Confederate flag “parade.” Basically, they outfitted their cars with big Confederate flags and drove around. The problem is that they drove through Petersburg, a majority African American town. And not surprisingly, the people of Petersburg did not appreciate this display of “southern pride.”
According to Oliver, “There was people protesting, throwing bottles, hit my truck, hit numerous other vehicles, people yelling, yelling racial slurs.” His wife noted that they had brought their Confederate flags to Petersburg as a “peaceful ride.” And the result? “People throwing bottles at our vehicles, our property that we worked for.” Apparently, the local police weren’t too keen to help when Oliver went to the police. After all, a few plastic bottles thrown and some unkind words? The Olivers come off as pathetic. But I suspect in their minds, this is just what “those people” are always doing. So it makes sense.
But that’s not the worst of it. Oliver said, “The racial slurs are really what hurt me. You know, it’s uncalled for. There’s no need for that in today’s society.” Yes, can’t we all just get along? I mean, there these people were just minding their own business. Just taking a flag with a long history of racial oppression, and parading it through a town that is overwhelmingly populated with African Americans. What’s the big deal? Haven’t the people of Petersburg heard of a little thing called southern hospitality?
I can only assume that the Olivers are in earnest — that they really don’t see that they’ve done anything offensive. If that’s the case, this is an amazing example of white privilege. If the situation were reversed, certainly they could see it. It really doesn’t matter what the Confederate flag represents to fans of The Dukes of Hazard, to the people of Petersburg, it represents a long history of slavery, lynching, and oppression. But okay, maybe the Olivers didn’t know that when they started their parade. But they certainly should have known it afterward. And they should be ashamed.