A point of view on the Battle Flag Controversy

From: "Jerry"


Some letters commenting on Mr AJ Griffith’s comments.

Mr. Griffith:

I am more than 1/2 American Indian, the rest white mutt of dubious origins. My Family were members of the NAACP back in the 1960’s when they represented all people of color, not just those whose skin pigment is slightly darker. When the Freedom Marchers marched from Chattanooga Tenn to Birmingham Ala we were present. As a result of our participation we were visited by the local pointy heads in their white sheets and their ever present burning cross. It frightened my Mother and little sister horribly.

As a result of my families encounter with those who hated us for our skin color and our choice of people that we associated with, I became an student of hate groups from that time and remain one today. As such I have to disagree with your contention about the Confederate Flag being the representative flag of the various hate groups. I have two computers with full hard drives with information both current and historical on all the groups you mentioned and the worst of the bunch, the National Alliance, that you failed to list among your hate groups. For the record, the KKK and you may check all the current web sites has two "official" symbols, the American Flag and the Christian Cross. The Aryan Nation, and Skin heads use the American Flag and the Nazi Flag again as official flags. The Church of the Creator used the German SS flag with a cross on it. Some individuals in the various hate groups use the Confederate Battle Flag, and different State Flags, but they aren’t official symbols, and that is an important difference.

The Confederacy existed for 4 years, the Battle Flag was never a political flag, and more slaves died during the Middle Passage (Black Cargoes by Mannix) than the total slave deaths in the whole US from Slaverys inception until its legal end in Dec. 1865 (or enforced end in 1867). The ships were uniformly flying American Flags, and most landed at Providence RI. where 60% of all Slaves who arrived in the US entered that port.

The ironic thing is that my people were slaughtered to the tune of over 8 million Native American’s. Over 800 tribes with their knowledge and unique history wiped off the face of the earth. More oppression of all people of Color has taken place under the American Flag than can be imagined, yet intelligent people like yourself choose to attack all things Confederate, it just isn’t a rational thing to do. Flags aren’t responsible for the actions of those good or bad who fly them, nor can you correct assume the motives for all those who fly or display Confederate Flags.

My Great-Great Grandfather fought for the Confederacy under the only Native American General in US History, Stand Waite at the battle of Pea Ridge. I have no love for the hate organizations or haters of any ilk, but I fly the Confederate Battle Flag under my American Flag in my yard. I deeply respect those heroes and symbols of the Black People, I would appreciate the same consideration for those symbols of my ancestors. In any case please consider any symbol in the context it is being used. Anything in the hands of a person with a sheet over his/her head is likely being used in a hateful manner because of that person’s hate, but the flag-cross-banner is itself innocent.

Dr. William H Swann
Evangelist/Christian Counselor
Marietta, GA

Mr. Griffith,

I will try to take you to task regarding you opinion piece called, ‘Play Ball, N***r!’

Apparently, you have been misinformed or outright lied to. When you stated that when Black men and women were hung from trees and torched…that flag was there. Can you prove that? Can you show photographic, unretouched proof of a Confederate Battle Flag {CBF}displayed at a lynching? Because you said so does not make it so. And I doubt that you can produce the proof. What you are saying is very divisive, intolerant, and provocative. And, chances are, you could care less what I say about that. But, you threw down the gauntlet. What you are doing here is proving just how right abraham lincoln was when he declared that there could never be equality among the White’s and Negroes and that as long as y’all lived among us, there should be a superior position and an inferior one. And that he favoured the superior position for the White’s and the inferior one for the Negroes.

And for bigots and racists like you to compare the honourable CBF to the truly dishonourable nazi flag is an abomination that does not bear up to historical scrutiny. Where were the concentration camps that systematically starved, gassed, tortured, and murdered negroes by the millions. The facts are that, for the most part, the Negro slave and freeman was much better regarded in the Southern States than in the northern States. It was by design that the Underground railroad ended in Canada, and not in the northern US. There are many accounts written by both northern abolitionists and freed Negroes that tell of the Christian and humane care that the Southern slave owners treated them with. Bear in mind that I have not said all were treated thus. But, so what. Look around today and see how some people treat their own children and other peoples children. And all races of people are guilty of this mistreatment.

Not only all of that, but what about the flag of the ‘good ol US of A’. Slaves were transported to this side of the Atlantic under that flag. Negro slaves were maintained under that flag. Negroes were lynched and burned alive under that flag. The KKK marches under that flag. The forced march of thousands of Indians {Creek, Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Seminole, etc.} called the Trail of Tears in which some few thousands died of exposure, disease and broken hearts was done under that flag.

And if, as a male Negro, you were sincerely concerned about involuntary Negro servitude, why aren’t you, and millions of other Negroes, complaining about where it exists today, such as Africa {surprise, surprise} Asia, South America,etc. Because the fact is that you and millions of other Negroes are hypocrites, liars. You really do not give a rats patootie about anyone else or their condition. You only care about your own little lives. You celebrate a man who committed adultery while he was a supposed man of the cloth. While in college he plagiarized other peoples work. He lied to his wife and stole other peoples work. He was a thief and a liar and yet you hold martin luther king to be almost a demi-god. That speaks volumes about what sort of values y’all have.

So, I shall give you one history lesson. Negro Slavery ended one hundred and forty years ago. Time for you, who was never born a slave, to get over it.

Jimmy L. Shirley Jr.
Palm Springs, Fla.

I’m a 63 year old white man but before you write me off remember that I was of that generation that was going to change the world. Then we found out the world not only didn’t want to change but would resist it with every fiber of its being. Some of us became cynical. Some of us gave up. Some of us just kept trucking. Ask your grandparents what that means.

Anyway I understand the African American perception of the Confederate flag. I’ve never owned one nor have I ever had the urge to go out and buy one. To the best of my knowledge none of my friends have ever owned one.

On the other hand I also understand that white people who buy them printed in purple and gold and have Confederate flag beach towels at home that they wipe their feet on when they come into the house don’t hold them in especially high and holy regard either. They view them as party items, kind of like witches costumes at Halloween, and are sort of hurt when someone suggests that waving them at football games means they are insensitive and want to bring back slavery.

Now when we wander off into Aryan Nations and the Klan and the Skinheads we are into a whole ‘nother group of people. When they wave a flag around they are in deadly earnest. And their flag won’t be purple and gold and it won’t touch the ground and they won’t put it on a beach towel and wipe their feet on it. Those are the ones all of us should worry about.

But now, if you will excuse me, I’m going to be slightly critical of African Americans as a group. I’ve discovered that African Americans are not especially interested in American History and it leads to some really serious misconceptions.

As an African American friend of mine once said, "Why do I want to study history? It’s all shame and degradation for my people?"

"And why should that be?" I replied. "Contrary to what we white people tell you most of us came here one jump ahead of the sheriff and that ship load of women who landed at Jamestown in 1619 to form the basis of the First Families of Virginia were prostitutes rounded up from the waterfront streets of London. The only thing wrong with your ancestors was they couldn’t run as fast as the people chasing them."

The fact of the matter is no group of enslaved people in the history of the world – let me say that again – in the history of the world – has risen from slavery to positions of economic and social prominence as rapidly as African Americans in the United States. That is not entirely because white people were so kind to them. So study history. We history teachers need more students.

And if you do you’ll find that Confederate flags rarely to never show up at lynchings. You seldom see them until the 1930’s and they don’t show up in large numbers in parades or anything else until the mid to late 1950’s. The use of the Confederate flag by racists is a new thing in history. They generally used the U. S. Flag and called it "nativism."

Oh yes, and the only Southern state flag that added a St. Andrew’s cross or anything that appeared to be Confederate after 1900 is Georgia.

Study History. It won’t get you a job but it’s tremendously rewarding. To us history teachers.

Jim Jordan
History Instructor, Retired
Laurinburg, NC

Poor minorities. Everyone picks on them, how terrible. As you can see by my last name, I am not one of the Southern white folks, but let me assure you…I am Southern.

I am so sick and tired of hearing about racism and discrimination. I know more blacks that discriminate than I do whites. How did that happen? Well, just watch television and notice all of the commercials that show white women, black women and black men dominating over the poor white fool. Is that just a coincidence? I don’t think so.

If you don’t like playing games and earning millions of white man created dollars…go home an suck your thumb in the corner. I’m sick and tired of hearing about your racist point of view.

By the way, it just goes to show you how little history you have been taught. The Confederate Battle Flag is one of the most honor bearing banners to ever exist. It sure puts to shame that lame hat your wearing.

Maybe you could write a rap song about this subject, it’s really the only way you can get your brothers to listen, isn’t it?

Dan Gonzales
Business Owner
Wellington, Florida

Dear Mr. Griffith,

I suppose I could take you to task regarding your statements about the meaning(s) of the Confederate Battle Flag, but instead, I will leave that to others.

However, please allow me to comment on a statement you made in this article:

"…can’t see how all of those black athletes can represent on the field and on the court while all of those white fans are sitting in the stands waving symbols of hatred at them. It’s just like those white people with those flags are saying, "RUN N****R, RUN! CHASE THE BALL, N****R! DUNK THE BALL, N****R, DUNK IT! IN HIS FACE N****R, IN HIS FACE!"

The answer to your quandary is found throughout history. In ancient Rome, gladiators (slaves) fought for the pleasure of the ruling elite classes’ pure amusement. Are not professional contact sports essentially a modern-day version of what the Romans started 1500 years ago?

I am glad to see that you can state that "80 percent of the athletic community at LSU is black". If I said that as a white man, I would be called a racist – just ask Jimmy the Greek what happens when white men make casual "observations" like this.

Since you said it, I will assume it is true. So are NCAA sports really a way for young black men to raise their living standards, or is it simply another means for the elite classes to amuse themselves?

Are black (or white) athletes held to the same educational standards as Engineers or Scientists? Or are we simply pretending to educate them so we can exploit their physical prowess?

Don’t get me wrong…I don’t hate sports, I just find the fact that so many of today’s athletes are not much better educated than they were in 10th grade – frankly appalling. The need for the elite to be entertained has grown into such a commodity, that black men are encouraged (with huge sums of money) to leave college early so they can turn pro. College, after all, is really just a "nuisance" to the average athlete.

Once he is a millionaire, he can pay others to read for him, can’t he?

The Confederate Flag is not the symbol of your oppressors, nor is it the symbol of the black man’s continued captivity – the $Dollar is…and his masters are those who will spend whatever it takes to be thrilled by modern-day gladiators.

No, the problem for these young black men is not the Confederate Flag – thousands of their ancestors stood and died BESIDE white men to defend the Confederacy – because it was THEIR HOME. The problem lies in the black man’s continued addiction to the white man’s "candy".

Whether for money, drugs, or being exploited for the amusement of others, black men and women will never be free until they can wean themselves from the tempting trinkets proffered by greedy sports promoters, and scouts.

Sure, I know it’s easier to play ball than it is to pass Calculus, but I sure would love to see more black people take that challenge and succeed. Playing for the white man just perpetuates the stereotypes that have kept your people back for the last 150 years.

And you thought slavery was abolished?

John Adams
Software Engineer

Someone has been showing you some of the wrong books, and the wrong American history. As for such bad people you mention, they have been around for centuries, and are unfortunately with us today. They are from the North, South, East, West, and from around the world. As you must know, racism is not just a Southern "White" thing!

"The average "hysterian" who runs around looking for racism under every rock and in every nook and cranny, will be so busy pandering to his or her hysteria, that he or she will inevitably fail to take advantage of those relationships that come along in this life and often make us better people.

These bozos get so caught up in the moaning about generalities, that they invariably fail to form those human relationships which inevitably make us better as people."

How sad is that?

"It is always possible to find historians who ignore the entirety of historical records to create a history that supports their view of the world."

Relating to the Confederate Flag, it IS ugly that SOME bad folks have used it at times. You must also hate most flags of this and many nations because BAD PEOPLE HAVE USED THEM TOO. For you to categorize all people in the South as being bad people for memorizing their ancestors, WHAT IS YOUR NAME / WORD for that?

Being an alumni of a Historically Black University here, and having taken my Race Relations class there (with an "A" in fact)it was re-enforced that hate and racial bias was / IS not just a "White" attribute. My Black professor was a great teacher, and I was the only "White Guy" in the class.

I would suggest reading some non-fictional history books, and try to stay away from the liberal race-baiting, hate mongering "fair haired" liberal history books, and those of the far right too. There ARE honest historical references of our American History, and it is not all pretty. In fact, WE are ALL are part of it, like it or not!

You will continue find some of those bad people you mention, but if you take an honest look I would hope you would find better information than you are dishing out in your article.

We do not have to rely on biased sources of "truth" today. There is much well documented, honest, and referenced information on Black Confederates, the Confederacy, and American and World Slavery.

In the American Heritage of Feb/Mar, vol. 441, under the title, "Selling Poor Steven", beginning on page 90, the official US census of 1830 is cited, which shows that there were 3,775 free blacks who owned 12,740 black slaves. The story also outlines the history of slavery in the United States, and surprisingly the first owner was Mr. Anthony Johnson, of Northampton, what was a black African. His slave was called John Casor, who was the first slave for life and also a fellow black African.

How many Whites owned slaves, and what was the RATIO as to racial ownership? Probably also INTERESTING.


Charles Tinsley
Retired Federal Civil Servant
Petersburg, Virginia