I wanted to write an opinion piece responding to the one written by Diana Johnson of Powers about the confederate flag and racism. However, the purpose of this piece is to denounce racism throughout Oregon and confront the issue of racism within our state and our communities.
Diana argues that confederate soldiers, whom some claim to share heritage with, fought and died for what they believed in, and that the flag represents that passion, heritage, and sacrifice. However, we know that the Confederate States of America seceded because they wanted to preserve the institution of slavery and promote white supremacy. Nazi soldiers fought and died for what they believed in, but it does not mean that they were in the right and you don't see people of German heritage flying flags with Swastikas, and if you did, you'd probably automatically perceive that flag as a symbol of the hatred and bigotry perpetrated by Nazi Germany. It is no different with the confederate flag. It is a symbol of white supremacy and oppression of black people. There are ways to remember history that do not involve erecting huge statues of men whose views did not represent true American values (Museums?).
Diana said, "So if honoring an acknowledging history is racist, then I say so be it! Call me a racist." Well, Diana, on this issue, I believe you are a racist. Not because you're acknowledging or honoring history, but because you are almost purposefully avoiding the dark parts of our history so that you can try and change the narrative of the confederacy to cover up the racism that the flag really represents. That being said, the confederate flag is only a minor part of the problem of racism, and I think we need to have serious conversations about racism in our communities here and Oregon and in Coos County because there is a problem with racism here, and it needs to be confronted.
Title this piece "Racism will no longer be accepted here," because we need to make it clear here in Coos County that any kind of hatred will not be acceptable anymore, and that we need to make a conscious effort in our daily lives to fight racism and prevent hateful acts. That means when you see somebody being racist, you let them know that's not okay, and protect anybody who is being harassed/attacked by others.