A number of local Richmond news outlets have decided to focus on an insignificant event at the annual Hanover Tomato Festival over the weekend. WTVR-6 has posted an interview with a local man who was upset because some people were walking around with Confederate flags.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans passed out the Confederate flags as a symbol of Southern Heritage.
Some find the flag offensive, and for good reasons, while others see it as a proud symbol og their ancestry, for equally good reasons.
Ironically, Rodney White, identified as a minority advocate, claims the flag represents servitude and repression.
White’s solution? To repress the rights of those that see the flag as a symbol of their heritage by not allowing Confederate flags in the future.
Much of the animosity towards the flag comes from the symbol being co-opted by various groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacists. But it is not the flag that is offensive, it is the groups themselves. And while it is regrettable that the flag was used in this manner, to others it is a symbol of pride and defiance in the face of overwhelming odds.
Rodney White exhibits intolerance and repression and believes his right to not be offended trumps another’s rights to be proud of their heritage.
That’s the thing about rights. If you must deny someone else their rights in order for you to feel good, then it is probably something you need to work on.
Diversity can be a wonderful thing. A free exchange of ideas and culture can benefit all. We can’t pick and choose with diversity. You either take the whole package – good and bad – or none at all.
When I hear King Samir Shabazz say “You want freedom? You’re gonna have to kill some crackers! You’re gonna have to kill some of they babies!”, I am very offended. And although his words are most likely over the line between inciting violence and free speech, he is still allowed to spew his hatred.
There was no indication in the report by WTVR-6 nor any accusations from White that there were any derogatory actions or intent on the part of anyone at the Festival with or without flags. Many in attendance probably graduated from Lee Davis High School as Confederates.
People like Rodney White must live miserable lives constantly on the lookout for the opportunity to take offense where no ill intent exists. And the chip of racism on his shoulder must get heavy.
Personally, I would not have taken a Confederate flag, but I would have taken an American flag enthusiastically.
Perhaps White and some of his friends will consider a booth at the Tomato Festival next year passing out American flags as the flag of ALL Americans. It might be interesting to see how many people are willing to trade their Confederate flag for the American flag.
As another Rodney once asked, “Can’t we all just get along”?