For the tenth year in a row, the South Carolina NAACP will hold its annual conference in another state.
It isn’t because the weather won’t cooperate or the Columbia Convention Center can’t hold them; it’s because of a flag flying in front of the State House. The Confederate flag, a symbol of Southern pride to some, a symbol of Southern bigotry to most, has been on the State House grounds since 2000.
The flag was moved from atop the State House dome to its current location in 2000, but the NAACP has held by its self-imposed boycott of the state.
I’m not African-American. Nor was I born and raised in the South. But, as an outsider looking in, I think it’s time to turn the page on the issue.
Let’s take the flag down once and for all. South Carolina and its citizens deserve a State House that represents all of its people, not just those that find the Confederate flag inoffensive.
For a state that seems to find its way into every embarrassing political scandal possible (Mark Sanford’s affair, Joe Wilson’s outburst, Alvin Greene’s social and legal troubles, to name a few), it would be nice to get some good press. Besides that, South Carolina routinely misses out on hosting many events because organizations don’t want to hold their functions in a state that flies the Confederate flag at its State House. The NCAA, for one, pulled out of having a baseball tournament in Myrtle Beach because of the outrage over the flag.
Whether the flag offends you or not, it’s important for people to know that it does offend others, for obvious reasons. Most of us can have Southern pride without seeing the Confederate flag at our State House every day.
So, as someone who has lived in South Carolina for 20 years, I have this weird affinity for the Confederate flag.
No. 1 - I'm allowed to say this and not be a racist because I'm not white.
No. 2 - I'm not saying I love the Confederate flag or anything; in fact, I'm actually not a fan of it. The thing is, in my mind, it's a symbol of the state I've grown up in. As a Southern-American-Indian-Muslim I've been faced with my own share of prejudice; I've heard things that a lot of tolerant citizens would be appalled to know people still believed. But that's just it -- people still believe them, especially here in the South--and the Confederate flag is our representation of that. It's an icon of Southern history, pride and, unfortunately, intolerance. Taking the flag off of the State House grounds would be a huge step for this state -- and it's a step I don't think we're ready to take. Maybe it sounds counter-intuitive, but whatever, on to--
No. 3 - K-Fed. Much like the confederate flag, I have an affinity for K-Fed. But not because he has an awesome sense of style and is a stand-up guy. Actually, I lied. I have no affinity for K-fed. I just liked the pun.
Tas Anjarwalla is Managing Editor for Garnet & Black and wrote this for no reason. Sorry, Sam.