Declare ‘Confederate Southern American’ on Census forms, group says

By Rhonda Cook
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Southern Legal Resource Center is calling on self-proclaimed "Confederates" to declare their heritage when they are counted in the 2010 Census.

The organization is urging Southerners to declare their “heritage and culture” by classifying themselves as “Confederate Southern Americans” on the line on the form, question No. 9, that asks for race. Check “other” and write “Confed Southern Am” on the line beside it, the group says on its Facebook page and on two YouTube videos.

“A significant number of Southerners identifying themselves as Confederate Southern Americans on the Census form could finally spell the beginning of the end for the discrimination that has been running rampant, especially for the last 20 years or so, against all things Confederate, and for that matter against Southern heritage and identity in general,” SLRC executive director Roger McCredie said in a written statement.

He said this campaign could result in protections for “Confederate Southern Americans” much like those for other groups.

“In this age of honoring diversity, Southern/Confederate people are the last group in America that can be maligned, ridiculed and defamed with impunity,” said SLRC Board Chairman Neill H. Payne. “Using the Census to unite the Southern/Confederate community can be a significant first step to our obtaining rights and recognition that all American ethnic groups are entitled to.”

In a video posted on YouTube.com, the group’s attorney, Kirk David Lyons, said he frequently hears from people who “complain of being discriminated against, harassed, humiliated, terminated from employment, their children suspended from school simply because they are proud of their Southern heritage.”

Lyons noted that there had been several court cases brought against those who displayed Confederate symbols or demonstrated their regional pride and the SLRC’s  nationwide effort  could “give people of Southern ancestry a voice and legal protections.”

© 2010 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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