Confederate Flag: Open Letter

I am trying to give you the benefit of the doubt. I don’t know if you are ignorant, racist, think you are funny, or a combination of the three. I am hoping with everything I have that you are completely ignorant of what the flag symbolizes or what the groups who sported those flags, much like you are doing now, did to innocent people.
But unless you are living under a rock or too busy riding around town in your jacked-up truck to bother coming to school, it is close to impossible that you could truly be that oblivious to hundreds of years of American history.
Just in case, here is a quick and condensed history lesson: The confederate flag was used as a rallying symbol for southern rebels during the civil war–you know, that war that was fought to end slavery and further the notion that African Americans are actually human beings as well as ensure the the United States remained, in fact, united?
It also was used to support Jim Crow segregation and anti civil-rights movements. If that isn’t enough racist association for you, just remember that the flag has also been supported heavily by the KKK.
More recently, the flag has been associated with Dylann Roof, a man who went into a church and killed nine African Americans. In response to this, many states addressed the controversial symbol and fought to remove it from government buildings and monuments.
For those who claim the flag represents “state’s rights,” please know that this doesn’t excuse its racist associations. Some of you say that since you live in America, you ought to have the right to put whatever flag you want on your truck and exercise whatever expression you have because you’re an American and that’s what the constitution guarantees you.

But the confederate flag represents a battle that is seen by many people as one of the most treasonous in America due to the fact that the people rallying under it were trying to secede–to not be a part of this “glorious” country you’re trying to claim the constitutional rights of–kind of a paradox, isn’t it?
The confederate flag represents a heritage of discrimination and violence which was used to degrade, humiliate and terrify members of this country in an attempt to assert some sort of racial supremacy. The KKK, a group responsible for the lynching, murdering, beating, raping and robbing of African Americans, rallied under this flag.
I asked one person if they knew what the flag represented and they proceeded to laugh and answer “slavery.” When I incredulously asked if they were being serious, they added “Yeah, slavery is awesome.”
This is not a funny joke.
I find the kids who joke about bringing the KKK back to Bozeman disgusting. You have had the benefit of living in a whitewashed place where you don’t receive enough flack for saying this. The real world won’t be as apathetic to your insensitivities. Know that when you leave this place and take your close-minded views out into the world, you won’t be respected. You won’t be funny. All you will be is a racist who is tarnishing the name of Americans everywhere, one who represents all the things that are wrong in this country.
You will become the joke.
The majority of BHS students are not waving or supporting this racist symbol, but it is a loud group who wants to be heard over everyone else that are. Being a bystander to racism can be just as detrimental as being the racist; and every one of us has an obligation to speak up against the wrongs that a small subgroup of our population is promoting as a means to represent us all.
It’s time to drown the hatred out.


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