Be respectful or be gone

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
Asheville

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2 thoughts on “Be respectful or be gone

  1. travelah

    Well, it was also Robert E. Lee Day and perhaps the gentleman was a fitting reminder of the stoic and proud soldier from years past.

  2. dealw/it

    Funny… while your opinion rings of freedoms and acceptance, you fail ‘walk-the-walk’ by imploring those young males to not act on their their right to be anywhere they choose, and for free speech, if you deem it unacceptable in a time and place. I do not agree their trite ‘display’ (probably meant for themselves only) ‘sets the movement back’ as we who support it accept there will be times others make public statements to disagree. No problem… bravery is displayed by the person depicted in the photo by the individual who is hellbent on his freedon of speech despite what other takes may exist upon it. Kudos to your bravery Mr. Edgerton.

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