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  • Bernard Witherspoon

The American Flag

In recent weeks, the debate on the American flag is ubiquitous. It has stirred strong emotions in all participants. Black, White, American, and Un-American. The problem with most of the debated topics, is that they are lacking in substantive reflection. They are mostly jousts in blathering. Everything has become black and white in this United States. Can the flag not be a representation of good deeds, as well as wrongdoing? I'm sure if you asked Native Americans from the mid to late 19th century, they would say the flag represented horror and death. Are people foolish enough to believe that America is faultless, even to perfection? I think the current "debate," if it can so be called, illustrates just how much we have failed as United States. We have failed to educate our populous and have therefore doomed the nation.

Race is an issue in the United States. If it isn't an issue to you, then you are probably WHITE. You have not experienced what it's like to be Black, Hispanic, or Asian. You haven't been labeled, or saddled with expectations of stereotypical behavior. You have not seen education or land, wrested from the hands of your people. You haven't had to experience the media disproportionately reporting on the crimes committed by the undereducated and impoverished members of your minority. You have likely always felt an allegiance to these United States. More likely than not, AMERICA has always been kind to you. AMERICA has always stood up for your rights, and the rights of your friends and family. You have basked in the glory of AMERICA. If you are not WHITE, and you do not see race as an issue, then it is because you have prospered. You have much to lose, and you are afraid. You do not want people to see the color of your skin, and you do not want to lose what you have. Although this is quite understandable, it is a fools optimism. You will be labeled when the people who can do so deem it necessary.

The United States is not perfect, and It's important that we address those imperfections on a national scale. Everyone needs to see whats wrong with this nation, how can we repair what we cannot see? How can you heal without diagnosis? There is a time and a place, it is said, for protest. I would ask when would that time be? Where would that place be? The flag is a representation of the idyllic United States of America. I think it is time Americans are enlightened. The country you thought you lived in doesn't exist, and that's ok.

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