When a policy that would prohibit the display of the Confederate flag in a tiny mountain mill town’s municipal parades was first proposed, it was immediately identified as both a sensitive cultural issue and a thorny Constitutional question that cast the Western North Carolina municipality as a microcosm of the complex national debate over the role of Confederate imagery in society today.
“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality ... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I’m not a race. I’m a person.”
That line from Paul Clayton’s Van Ripplewink: You Can’t Go Home Again surely sums up the dream of Martin Luther King from half a century ago. He and others envisioned an America where skin color no longer mattered, where all Americans were equal in the eyes of the law, where character and heart provided the criteria by which we were to judge our fellow human beings.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In the 1980 cult classic film “The Blues Brothers,” Jake and Elwood are stuck in traffic as a Nazi rally blocks the bridge they need to cross. When they ask a nearby police officer about what’s going on, the officer shrugs, “Ah, those bums won their court case, so they’re marching today.” Jake replies, “What bums?” The officer shoots back, “The f**ckin’ Nazi party.”
Elected officials from across Haywood County and from across party lines were quick to speak out in the wake of the violent riots, deaths and domestic terrorism connected to a white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, last week.
About 200 people gathered in front of the Haywood County Historic Courthouse Monday evening to stand in solidarity with Charlottesville as the Virginia town deals with the aftermath of a white nationalist rally that turned violent last week.
By Dave Waldroup • Guest Columnist
Legendary former Chicago Bears head football coach Mike Ditka has now joined the chorus of protesters who bash San Franciso 49’ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick for his peaceful protest against racism in America today. His protest is by kneeling (in prayer) while the national anthem is being performed prior to National Football League games.
Sidewalk chalk was all anyone was talking about as campus woke up Thursday morning (April 21) at Western Carolina University. The chalk was everywhere, its biggest explosion around the fountain behind the A.K. Hinds University Center, colorful dust spelling out phrases running the gamut from “Build that wall” and “concealed carry saves” to “Hillary for prison,” and “blue lives matter.”
It started with a poster. Or, more accurately, with a collection of posters in the window of Western Carolina University’s Department of Intercultural Affairs. February is African-American History Month, and the display aimed to draw attention to the issue of police brutality, especially as it relates to race.
Some students took offense. In particular, a Facebook post by WCU student and campus EMS Chief Dalton Barrett went the Western North Carolina version of viral, drawing 81 shares and 58 comments.
Many years ago, in a time and a place that seems so far away to me now, I courted a young lady and fancied I was in love. We were really just kids playing at being grown-ups, but we believed we were destined to spend eternity together.
Complicated. Ignorant. Entrenched. It’s easy to come up with words to describe the state of race relations in this country and especially in the South, but some come to mind more easily than others after what happened in Charleston last week. Dylann Storm Roof attended Bible study with black congregants of Emanuel AME Church in Charleston and then summarily gunned down nine of those in the group.
And once again we in this country are forced to confront the ugly reality of racism, compelled to search for ways to turn tragedy into change.