A Discourse on Southern Heritage

Many of my friends don’t know that I am a Southern boy, born in Savannah, Georgia. I lived many of my early formative years in Southern states: Georgia, South  Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. No, I don’t talk like a Southerner. Part of that is due to living so long in Yankee land, but mostly because Mom was English and Dad from Michigan.
Oh, living in Texas for years did give me a little accent. I caught a little grief for pronouncing water like a Texan with an extra R, warter. And expressions like talking about someone having a cow, got only confused looks. This was years before Bart Simpson. Occasionally a little Southern will slip out, like saying Hey when greeting someone, or a y’all slipping out.
I spent my first 15 years or so living mostly in the South. One thing I don’t recall seeing is people displaying their pride in Southern heritage by displays of the traitorous Confederate Battle flag. I guess people didn’t have heritage in those days.
Other than Civil War films. the only Confederate flag I can recall was flying at Six Flags Over Texas. It was flying with 5 other flags and didn’t make much of an impression.
When Dad retired from the Air Force, we ended up in Granite City, Illinois, the most racist place I’d ever encountered. No Black people lived in Granite City. NONE! The realtors had an unwritten agreement to not sell or rent to Blacks. I learned about the agreement from a schoolmate son of one of the city’s biggest realtors.
The only Blacks seen in Granite City were those who came to shop at Grants and later Kmart. When sundown approached you’d see them at the bus stops trying to get the hell out before dark.
I was out of high school when I first saw a Confederate flag in Granite City. Someone broke the unwritten agreement and a Black family moved into a trailer park. All their neighbors caught a sudden attack of ‘Southern heritage’ and flew Confederate flags to welcome their new neighbors to Granite City.
I’m sure it was just heritage, not racist in any way. … No, it was racist, and intended to send a racist message. Heritage is just a code word for racism. The Confederate Battle Flag is a racist symbol. Always was and always will be.
Things are a little better in Granite City now. Blacks live there and attend schools. They are no longer afraid to let the sun go down on them in Granite City. But, the racism still exists and the #AltReich is making racists bold again. I hope Granite City doesn’t revert to the bad old days.
The hate for Blacks was a reaction to the hate each new immigrant group received in Granite City (as well as in all of the US). Even a hated immigrant had someone they could hate along with everyone else. I guess that made them feel more Murican.