Confederate Flag Day
Ms. Jones and Mr. Nesbitt:
Your observations in your article about Confederate Flag day were not altogether accurate. Blacks were there. A black girl was sitting in front of me and said the salute to the Confederate Flag, as do some other blacks in North Carolina. The past head of the NAACP in western North Carolina, H. K. Edgerton, attends many such events in North Carolina wearing a Confederate uniform and carrying a Confederate Naval Jack with many other non-Caucasians and says the salute to the Confederate flag.
Others of various mixed racial origins were also in attendance. I only mentioned this because it appears to be an issue in how you chose to "report" this event. It probably did not occur to the blacks and various mixed racial people at this event that their race might be an issue to the press or any of the other Caucasians attending this event. Several present were of Native American descent. It may be of interest that the News and Record staff covering this event were apparently white though it is not always possible to know a persons exact racial origin by the color of their skin.
In the interest of accuracy, you might consider printing a retraction of your statement about it’s being an "all-white crowd." Like some lighter skinned Caucasians who consider themselves racially blind, you, evidently, looked right past the blacks as though they were not there. Upon reading your article one of them mentioned to me that they are "used to not being seen or heard" by the media and that the media stereotypes all of them as liberal Democrats in their politics. And you did not notice those of Asian and Native American descent that were present. Most of these were not particularly offended by your remark since they have no racial political agenda to promote. One stated that he was “mildly amused” by your racial statement.
Southern societies were generally more open and politically accepting of peoples of different ethnic origins during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries while American Nativism was running amuck in the Deep North, the States of New England. Northern Nativists hated, were violent against and exploited Roman Catholics, Jews and “non-whites.” The Jim Crow laws, the laws of segregation, originated in the Deep North and were forced on the Southern States during the twelve years of U.S. military occupation and rule, “reconstruction,” 1865-1877, following the war. Laws were enforced on the Southern civilian populations through U.S.military courts and military commanders (at their discretion), and proved to be very unpopular, as well as, an unconstitutional practice.
It is not surprising that your knowledge of the War to Prevent Southern Independence was also largely inaccurate (significantly simplistic and far short of being anything but "revisionist" history) since in your coverage of this meeting you did not demonstrate that you knew the difference between black (various shades of brown) skinned people and white (various shades of lighter) skinned people.
It is both simplistic and insulting, to many people, to be referred to by the color of their skin. Referring to people by their skin color has been acceptable by western blacks while it is unacceptable by Asians and Native Americans. (I use skin color in this note to you since that is what many racists, political socialists, and you are apparently accustomed to.) The background on your computer screen of this e-mail is white. It is not the color of my skin or that of anyone I saw at this service. I am of Celtic, Viking and Indian ancestors, Scottish and Cherokee and taught college in Washington, D.C. on a campus that usually has students from at least 60-75 difference nations and a campus population of over 50% of whom you would probably consider "non-white."
All the flags brought-in to the Confederate Flag Day ceremony were "American" flags. I believe you were, as many well meaning people do, referring to the flag of the United States by use of the term "American flag." You might want to note that the Canadian, Mexican, Brazilian, Cuban, etc. flags are also “American” flags. It does not occur to some of the people of the United States that that there actually are other distinct American peoples in sovereign nations on the American continents who do not wish to be included with those of the United States when the name of their continent is mentioned. And, they are of proud of their ethnic Americanisms (not to be confused with those principles of the United States which compels them to station their military forces in 135 foreign nations and 40 other independent Islands and sovereignties) and they are not waiting with baited breath to become citizens the United States of America.
You called the Confederate Naval Jack of the Confederate States of America (CSA) a "Rebel battle banner." The "Battle" flag of the CSA Army of Northern Virginia was square, not rectangular in shape. The flag your reporter was taking pictures of was the Confederate Naval Jack, flown mostly, but not exclusively, on Confederate Naval vessels.
You referred to the "Rebel battle banner with its familiar blue X of stars on a field of bright red." This, "X", is an X. The design of the Confederate Naval Jack is the Southern Cross, elongated on its side which represented the cross of St. Andrew upon which he was martyred for his faith in Christ. It was the only flag of a nation on the North American continent which contained a Christian symbol.
The King of England and the British troops called the colonists who resisted their rule "Rebels" as an insult. Today, using this kind prejudicial language is called “framing the issue.” Its intent is to negatively predispose others for and or against a political issue. This kind of political baiting was contrary to the practice of early gentlemen and statesmen.
The Declaration of Independence clearly defined who the rebels truly were, in that the King of England had broken nearly every aspect of his agreement with the Colonies of North America. When United States troops called Southerners "Rebels" it was intended as an dehumanizing insult. It was the equivalent of calling African-Americans "niggers."
It is grossly inaccurate to state, "North Carolina has largely avoided the Confederate flag controversy that has boiled over in other Southern states." One of the centers of Southern cultural and legal defense is in Black Mountain just outside of Ashville, North Carolina. Southern children who are proud of the Confederate heritage have been made a center and focus of derision in many, if not most, of North Carolina middle and high schools.
The false racial stereotypes of traditional Southerners, promoted largely by the “media,” has “created” a great deal of hated toward them and intolerance by government school teachers (mostly northern immigrants moving South) and administrators. North Carolina students who are proud of their Confederate ancestors and history are told that “they” are "racist" and wearing a “racist symbol” in spite of their generous and open relationships with others of different ethnic origins and their denial that they are racist and that the symbol of the previously Confederate Southern States is "racist."
Slavery and segregation existed years longer under the flag of the United States than it did under the flag of the Confederate States. European historians with whom I often meet call this kind of social reconstruction "ethnic cleansing." Such demonization and social attacks on minorities have been made for centuries against various European minorities, like the Jews, the Irish, the Scots, the Serbians, the Polish, the Spanish, the French, the Roman Catholics, etc.
The Celtic battle yell at the end of the singing of Dixie was not what I would call restrained neither was the unanimous standing ovation received by Dr. Clyde N. Wilson, Professor of History in the school of graduate studies at the University of South Carolina. There is a growing respect and enthusiasm by North Carolinians for their Southern traditions and Confederate history and heritage who see the defeat of Southern military forces by a foe (the United States) with more than four times their population, a defeat for their military and not their cause for self-determination and government by the consent of the governed.
Timothy D. Manning, Sr.
North Carolina Heritage Foundation and
Virginia Division Chaplain
Sons of Confederate Veterans
Kernersville, North Carolina