Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Diversity excludes Southern heritage

The controversy about the Sullivan South mascot and the Confederate flag is political correctness gone amok. Today, one or two (or a very significant minority) can become offended at anything they dislike and get their will imposed on us. I am sick and tired of manufactured extortion in a time when our public officials seem to have no common sense or backbone. The perceived issue about Sullivan South should be relegated to the trash, and let’s get on with something important in our school system like improving education. Prior writers have addressed in an excellent manner the true nature of the Civil War and the ending of slavery. A few parallels: Germany, Italy, and Japan were responsible for many millions of dead in the world wars, but their flags fly today all over the world. Insensitive, and should these be banned? There’s Sherman’s march across the South burning homes and crops. How many more can you add?
If these parallels in history are not exactly the same, they are extremely similar to the current issue. Are they also possibly “an unacceptable example of bigotry that needs to be eradicated?” to quote from your editorial? Hopefully, sane minds within the Sullivan County school system will prevail. However, with no students or parents on Mr. Barnes’ committee, one wonders. If not, then beware D-B Indians and others, as you are next on the racially insensitive symbol list. Too bad our Southern heritage does not count in the culturally diverse society and is not worthy of a place alongside others. I am offended.
L.B. Lawson

Offensive mascot undercuts equality

Americans take public school systems very seriously. Undoubtedly, one reason is that in this country, education has generally been seen as the road to social and economic advancement. It is almost an article of faith that American children should get more education than their parents and achieve higher social and economic status. Throughout the U.S. there is unequal access to high-quality schooling, and administrations are under pressure to raise standards and increase performance, especially in underachieving schools. Institutional discrimination may be an unconscious result of the structure and functioning of the public institutions and policies themselves.
Discrimination is overt behavior. Although it may be sometimes difficult to observe, it does exist. If a school mascot is found to be offensive, that school is defeating the purpose of what our forefathers fought for: equality for all.
Thelma Watterson

Rebel flag should be left alone

In reference to the rebel flag at South High School, I am greatly concerned that one individual found the flag offensive after all these years. I was in the graduating class of 1986, and it was always an exciting time when football season rolled around. It was a chance for the proud parents and students to show their pride, by coming out to support their team. All schools have mascots, figures of people or things that represent a part of our history, culture, and backgrounds. Rebels, Pirates, Raiders, Indians, Blue Devils, just to name a few. Pirates raped and robbed people of their most precious assets, Indians scalped people, and what is a Blue Devil, or better yet, a Yankee? Whether it is a symbol or a name, they all represent something that people associate with strength and anticipation of fear. They want the schools’ team names to stand out with remembrance of past occurrences, so the opposition will feel intimidated just a little. It is a competition thing, and all schools participate in one way or another.
The rebel flag is a positive symbol of courage, tenacity, and spirit and should be left alone, as it a harmless representation of Southern pride. Remember where you are standing when you say it is offensive and try to take away something that has been here long before you moved to this area. Otherwise it would have offended you long before now. Some say the flag is a racially insensitive symbol with no place in a modern and culturally diverse society. If it is such a culturally diverse society, shouldn’t we all try to understand and respect others’ beliefs and traditions?
Lori Holt