Confederate flags show much work to do
To the editor:
This past October I read an article in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise that aired the issue of Confederate flags flying on the properties of residents of Tupper Lake. Even though the Tupper Lake town board has since condemned any form of racism in its community, I still feel called to comment on those who choose to fly the Confederate flag, whether it be in Tupper Lake, elsewhere in the North Country or anywhere in our United States of America.
The Confederate flag represents to me a time in U.S. history when Black people were slaves, owned as property, were devoid of any freedoms or rights as human beings, and were victims of unimaginable acts of physical abuse and violence. I can’t speak for what the Confederate flag represents to those who fly it, but I can try to imagine the fear, deep pain and anger that a Black person would feel upon seeing that Confederate flag flying. With freedom comes responsibility; we are responsible as citizens and human beings to treat each other with respect.
Nicole Hylton-Patterson, director of the Adirondack Diversity Initiative, stated that she has seen many Confederate flags flying in the North Country. So the Confederate flag flies, and so does racism still exist. Racism affects the rights of people of color in our country as far as opportunities and access to voting, earning a fair wage, education, housing, health care and protection under the law. Racism is so deeply embedded in our culture that it is difficult for individual “white” citizens to acknowledge that just being born white gives them certain advantages. We might say that we are not prejudiced and that we treat people of color as equals, but what as individuals are we actively doing by working with people of color, to create cracks in the foundation that upholds our white privilege?
The work of the Adirondack Diversity Initiative is far from working to “separate,” as referenced from the above-mentioned article. Rather it provides residents of our Adirondack communities a much-needed opportunity to come together with open minds, to truly listen to one another’s perspectives regarding racism and then to move forward together to make our communities more inclusive and our society at large more equal, just and humane.