At the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Peace March I noticed a group of white, teenage boys … taking turns posing and laughing while taking pictures with an African-American man who was holding a large Confederate flag (and wearing a jacket with the same flag on it). It was clear to me and those around me that the boys were mocking this man with no attempt to disguise it.
Just moments before, I had asked this man why he was flying a Confederate flag. His explanation was logical, coherent and heartfelt. While his point of view was alternative, the theme of the day's event was inclusion and diversity. This man’s goal of being at this event was to get people to ask questions so that he could raise awareness about his alternative yet valid point of view.
In contrast … [the kids' actions] seemed to further perpetuate the unfortunate stereotype that privileged white men are smug, self-centered and insensitive to the plight of those who do not share their unearned and unmerited social status.
If you're interested in such behavior, please stay home from the MLK events next year. You ... set back the cause of those of us who do share your unearned and unmerited social status, and who still choose to work every single day for progress, equality and respect for all.
— Claire Weber