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Commentary: Dear Confederate Flag Waver: Let’s Talk

A Commentary On A Symbol Synonymous With White Supremacy

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If you saw the video, you know it wasn’t fake. The pickup truck with Wisconsin plates and a confederate flag flying in the back was captured by Edward Moody of KBJR. And if you don’t trust mainstream news, he streamed it on Facebook live, where it has to be true.

I point that out because I’ve heard similar stories in the Twin Ports, but few with an exact time or photo or make or model of the truck. People of color are used to being told they’re just imagining things. This time, there’s no denying.

So it happened. What do I think about it? As someone who’s African American and Jewish and a child of the Civil Rights Movement, I obviously find it disturbing, and you should too. Duluth and Superior are about as far north as you can get in the United States, so it’s difficult to believe this was an expression of someone’s Southern pride. The only other legit reason to fly it is as history, like a Civil War reenactment. But I don’t think General Pickett led his Gettysburg charge in a Ford F-150.

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And that leaves what many would consider the most plausible reason: To attempt to intimidate African-Americans with a banner of white supremacy.

Yet as a journalist for more than 30 years, I know better than to try to get inside anyone’s head. It wasn’t a driverless truck, so someone was behind the wheel. Do we really know what that person thinks?

I know how I feel and that it’s an outrage to people of all colors. But if the flag waver truly wants to make a position known, get out of the truck and email me: I’ve created an address solely for you: flag@robinwashington.com. I promise to listen to what you have to say if you’ll listen to why it’s inflammatory.

Robin Washington is a regular contributor for KUWS in Superior.

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