It’s time for Southerners to part ways with the Confederate flag

Gather ’round, Southerners, it’s time we had a talk. And it’s time we got rid of all these Confederate flags once and for all.

I’ve been on this planet for 28 years, and for every single one of my waking days, I’ve taken up residence no further north than Kennesaw, Georgia. I’ve seen a lot of Confederate flags in my life and despite being a Southerner, born and raised, I’ve never seen one that didn’t send a slight shiver down my spine.

But this decision isn’t about me. Not one bit. It’s about every person who sees that flag and has a far worse reaction than mine.

(Also read: Danny Ferry will not return to the Hawks)

Obviously, the debate was rehashed this week in the wake of the Charleston church shooting. The Confederacy’s old battle flag still flies near the South Carolina state capital building, and that bothered a lot of folks.

We should listen to those folks.

Here’s the thing about Southern heritage: it includes black people. That’s not always the case in other parts of the country, but it’s true here. Black music, foods and culture are as intertwined in the South as white culture or any other culture, and it’s time we start acknowledging that.

We can’t honor that piece of our storied culture with the Confederate flag. We just can’t, and we have to move on from that imagery.

It’s been 150 years since the Civil War. This flag holds no value to the South as we currently know it. This piece of cloth alienates an entire group that’s as much a part of our culture than anyone else.

I’m super proud of my Southern roots and everything that comes along with that. Southern Hospitality is a real thing, and the rest of the country has learned much from our way of life.

But now, they’re trying to teach us something, and we need to listen.

Let’s get rid of these Confederate flags and start changing the stereotypes that still linger south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

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