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Letters  

It is more complex than that

Re: An error in judgement

I applaud Toni Boot for taking a stand against an ignorant, or maybe just foolish (who knows what his true intent was) young man, and going as far as to speaking with him in hopes to set him straight over waving the confederate flag in an inappropriate situation. However, there is another side to this that has not been discussed by those involved, nor the Castanet reader's responses.
 
It is not fair to make any judgment through our current 2020 lens about a flag that was created in the 1800s, especially from Summerland, BC, Canada, which is very far removed from the complicated ''South'."  There were a lot of things wrong in the world in those days. Even women were not allowed to vote (in practically the whole world as it was), which seems absurd by today's standards.

I had the opportunity to speak with a true historian years ago, about matters related. And, if it truly matters, or interests someone, including Toni, or the dollar store owner, may I suggest speaking to someone with a PhD in Southern US History, or immerse yourself down there for some time to truly understand how the people are, how the view of the flag has evolved, and it's origin. 

The Southern US is a beautiful, eclectic part of the world and I personally have been fortunate enough through work and play, to have several friends throughout, but mainly in Tennessee, Louisiana and Georgia. They are some of my best friends, absolutely amazing people who carry strong anti-racist views. They believe, due in part to what most of them were taught in their school system, this specific flag (not the other versions as i will get to shortly) represents their part of the world in an independent ''unified by territory'' non racist way. And to Peter Haslock, who wrote a letter to Castanet here, I know your intentions are meant well, but stop believing Facebook posts because it is 100 per cent wrong saying that William T Thompson created the flag, and this is well documented!

It was a person named William Porcher Miles who designed the specific battle flag in question. At that time it was meant to represent their independence. However, in your defense Peter, this Thompson character did try to promote a ''different'' version of the battle flag, called the ''stainless banner'' via his position as editor for the Savannah Morning newspaper. He, and others, wanted to take the independent stars and bars part, and put it in the upper left corner on a completely "white" background, with the reasons being sadly obvious.

Eventually there was a 3rd flag called the "stained banner." These last 2 versions are where the white supremacist side comes in, and those would be the flags to take issue with, including Thompson's pathetic quotes in which Peter outlined.

An interesting thing I've witnessed while being down there, through friendly gatherings (this may or may not be shocking to people up here) is their black friends agree with the aspect of territorial unity, and don't take issue with the specific flag we are discussing here. They are so proud to be where they are from. They take issue when some scumbag uses it for white race purposes, but truth be told, many flags in the world are used for said purpose. Apparently being unified positively instead of dividing themselves is what they've chosen. Maybe these better types of people should design their own flag, but sometimes history, both good and bad, gradually helps people evolve, and many nations would have new flags if that were the case.

One thing for sure, is they are all saddened and angry when it gets associated with that evil other side, but it is a very tiny side, just real ugly. The great majority are beautiful people who embrace and are proud of the southern hospitality that they are well known for, both Black and White. 

One other thing to note, since the Republican opportunists, at that time being the New York City and DC types (yes, it was reversed, the south were Democrats back then), did not receive even one vote from the Southern States, it was felt they would never get a chance to be heard regarding any matter, so why be a part of the Union.

Hence, the flag was born to represent their independence. Ironically, it was only used in battle, and the Confederacy moved to use the aforementioned other two flags. Both black and white Southerners were mostly looked down upon, in some cases still are, by the educated North, and were made to feel unintelligent. The education system (or lack thereof) has part to do with that. And yes, slavery was ''part'' of the fight, but not the whole reason for it. However, as disgusting a thought as slavery is, it is important to understand it was "learned behaviour," passed on by the wealthy, political elite etc, from nearly every country on earth, since most of the world was built on it, unfortunately.

Another important fact to note, is not all soldiers believed in what they were sent to war for. They've generally been pawns thrown into battle for the elite.
 

Our world's history is quite savage, with slavery of all kinds, all races,  and if we were to look back at the atrocities with the same attitude as this Summerland situation, then most flags representing countries might as well be outlawed, including the English, Spanish, French and it goes on. In fact, look no further than Canada, post American civil war.

We officially became a country under Sir John A MacDonald, and his record is not one to be admired. What is worse, the Liberals wanted him to be more aggressive regarding our indigenous people, which had already been horrific. I've also seen the Canadian flag used by racists in Osoyoos years ago. The US flag was on the chests of the shooters at a BLM rally in California recently. Some soccer games in Europe are known for racism and brutality. Dig and you will find. Maybe the worst atrocity known to mankind was King Leopold of Belgium and what he did to the Africans in the early 20th century, all for wealth and land. Why is this rarely discussed? 

I believe the world is a far better place today (outside of social media) and we need to be both positive and talkative. The education system in the South after the civil war ended was so bad it kept them behind, and to truly beat racism, it needs to come from knowledge and education endlessly. These days schools are better , but there are still extremely poor, helpless communities not getting the right tools to advance.

Toni Boot may be Black, and has every right to be offended by the mis-use of the confederate flag, my friends and I are offended too by the ignorant mis-use, but she is not from the "South," nor is she educated in Southern US history, and while most people aren't, she could have taken another approach with the dollar store owner. That type of behaviour is what some people are showing to out of Province license plates and that is how quickly racism, judging and discrimination can get started. Education is the key for everyone to be on the same page.


Richard Anderson



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