Recently I was in Bandon and drove by a couple of flags that were disturbing to me. The top flag on the flagpole said “Black Labs Matter” and the flag below it was a graphic of an AR-15 assault rifle. I don’t know what the intended message was but my “guess” is that black people are less than dogs and should be shot(?).
When I hear, see, or read derogatory words and images that are aimed at peoples of color and LGBTQ people, I will say something. For me it is a personal attack. I am a white American having three grandchildren with African-American blood, two more grandchildren with Native American blood and a great-grandchild who is half Mexican-American. And I have friends who are LGBTQ. More than the expression of my outrage at what I saw, I am very hurt by insensitive or cruel words and images that are uncalled for. I’m tired of all the political back-and-forth, so let’s call “a spade, a spade.” These two flags together reek of “white privilege, white nationalism, white government, white tradition, white supremacy,” and that is pure, unequivocal racism. This is not a First Amendment issue. I absolutely support First Amendment and civil rights for everyone. This is an issue of human decency: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” — “Love one another.”
We need to educate ourselves about the history of other races, the struggles of other races over the last 400+ years in this whitewashed country of white traditions and also talk with empathy with our LGBTQ neighbors to gain a greater, informed perspective of what “E Pluribus Unum” really means. Unfortunately our white culture and tradition is pre-eminent as we wrap ourselves in “patriotism, In God We Trust, and the American Flag.” How much richer we would all be if we could embrace diversity.
Solution? Take a walk along the beach or a woodland trail every day. Look up at the sky, the clouds, the beautiful soaring hawks, eagles or seagulls wafting on the wind thrust, the swaying of the trees as they perform their dance of celebration, the shimmer on the ocean from the glistening of the sun, a breath taking sunset over the Pacific, the scampering of the squirrel across the trail path to run up a tree, or observe the sea life along the beach. And then thank the Creator of all peoples for giving you the privilege of living in this beautiful community of Mother Earth. Let it be your daily walk of gratitude and daily miracle. But more importantly, “Love one another.”