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Half-baked in the South: The Usual Suspects

There are some things that seem to be rather innocuous but for some reason have become a focus  for Southern defiance.  President Obama asked for U.S. flags to be at half mast until 12/9/2013 in honor of Mandela.  However, there are those in the Southern reigion of the United States who find the request to be the assertion of some Federal overreach.  These people have responded in typical fashion. 

Pickens County, SC typical.

 My wonderful governor Phil Bryant of Ms, also typical. 
20h
Flags will continue to fly at half-staff tomorrow to mark Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

If you live outside Mississippi or the South you may not be aware of the implication of Phil Bryant's tweet but the subtle nod to the defiant hard core racist did not go unnoticed by me.   I was immediately reminded of the Confederate Battle flag being flown over the Mississippi Supreme Court when it was announced  Governor Phil Bryant had successful prevent the establishment of a healthcare exchange in Mississippi.    Once again I am sad to see another display of petty behavior from my governor.

It is especially petty given Mr. Mandela's legacy of forgiving past harms to achieve a better future.  Mississippi has a racial history that can make the apartheid in South Africa appear tame.  I was a teenager unaware of apartheid in South Africa when I saw this video in the 1980's.   I wondered where in Mississippi was it filmed.  It was a moment before I realized it was not Mississippi.  At the time of this video, there were people in Mississippi still living under these conditions.  I attended school with their children.  Given Mississippi's history, lowering the flags until 12/9 is the least that can be done.  

I don't have generational hatred for things done before I was born.  There are some elected to office whose main intent is to right the horrors of slavery and Jim Crow by becoming the very racists they detest.  Those behaviors are not helpful.  I dislike the continued racial and economic oppression I see today in Mississippi.  This oppression is not as blatant as in the days of old.  These days skirting of regulations, delay of rights, and subtle public nods to racist actions are the norm. Until the people of the South come to reconcile their Christ with their ancestral hatred, the South will not live up to its potential. 

It is time the South gets over the fact a Black man sits in the White House.  It is time the South stops hurting all of its citizens in futile attempts to oppress Black people and other minorities.  If you think I am joking look at the response to the increase in the Latino community in the South.  The recent desire to enact strict voting regulations is not because of Blacks or Native Americans but the politically vocal Latino community.  These types of behaviors of oppression highlight why the South is slow to rise to its full potential.  Have I given up hope for Mississippi or the South? No, I know there are many progressive people in Mississippi and the South working for change. It is just a same we are having to deal with apartheid tactics until the change comes. 

The elected leaders in the South would do well to fly the flag at half-mast until 12/9.  It is good to remind people how to let go of hate for things done in the past.  We don't need for hatred to be a thing of our present lives.  It is time for us to heal.  We can do it. 

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