I was in high school during the great resurgence of the Confederate flag, but geographically far from the desegregation that led to its reappearance in the 60s. I’m still far away in some ways, but as the Crazy Auntie I am experiencing what it means to those I love dearly. It is now in my “backyard.”
In a state of our union that shall remain unnamed, my niece’s family were thrilled to buy a house large enough for their family. They have a family with children ranging from wonderfully white to beautifully black — five brought into the family through adoption. It wasn’t long before their neighbor made a visit to express his displeasure at having this family, with children of “other” colors living next to him. There was no subtlety in his hateful, threatening words. It was no longer safe for the children to play outside in their own backyard. When the Confederate flag appeared for the first time at his house the next day, it was certainly to cement the message. That piece of cloth, in living color, spelled out hate and intimidation as a reminder — as if they would ever forget what he said. A burning cross could not have said it any louder.
For those of you who have dusted off your Confederate flags or have ordered a new one, I have no idea what is in your hearts. I’m writing this in hope that you might have a glimpse of the pain and fear that your choice can be inflicting on others.
I know personally that my heart is breaking for my niece and her family and for all of those families and individuals who have been, and continue to be, the targets of violence and intimidation with this flag as the banner. I, and the other Crazy Auntie, are grateful for your consideration … and hopeful.