FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

A Symbol of Hate

The Confederate flag (one of three flag designs used by the Confederate States of America… The flag pictured in the video is commonly referred to as the Confederate battle flag) is cut in two, part of this heinous symbol of racism and racist violence remains on its flag pole attached to the side of a garage in a yard strewn with many objects. The other half of the flag has been nailed to the same side of the garage. Perhaps the nailed half of the flag is a symbol of the effort of its owner to preserve this representation of hate?

While I photograph the flag from across the road and prepare to shoot the video of the school grounds and school campus that border the property on which the flag is displayed (elementary, middle, and high schools occupy the campus of Taconic Hills Central School District), a man comes from beside the garage and waves to me. The First Amendment protects the display of this flag.

The flag is not in the Deep South, but in a rural community in upstate New York near a farm that boasts a gay liberation flag and a newer Black Lives Matter banner displayed on the front lawn of its farmhouse. Between 10 and 15 miles away is the city of Hudson, a bastion of gay rights and a city with 25% of its population made up of Black residents.

I have passed this symbol of hate displayed on the garage for years, traveling on a road that leads in and out of the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. Each time I pass the flag, intense feelings of revulsion, hate, and disgust build. Now, with the documented rise of racist hate growing across the US and fueled by the racist and anti-Semite in the White House (along with his fellow travelers), this symbol takes on more meaning.

Countless numbers of schoolchildren are exposed to this flag daily, and at least twice daily if their trips to and from this school campus use the roadway that I often travel.

I wondered what these kids thought? Had teachers and school administrators talked to them about the significance of the Confederate flag in US history? Had school personnel made any links in formal instruction between the push for justice for Black people in the US compared to this symbol of hate? Had parents discussed the flag with their children?  Less than 10 miles away from the site of the battle flag, on a county road just off of the Taconic Parkway, the “Don’t Tread on Me” (The Gadsden flag associated with the American Revolution that has been co-opted by the radical right) flag is displayed on a flagpole at the edge of a house lot. Many associate the Gadsden flag with those in the US who champion unlimited gun rights. One such flag hangs in the foyer of a local gun shop in nearby Massachusetts.

A call to the Taconic Hills Central School District School for comment on the Confederate battle flag was answered, but I could get no one to comment for this article. I would have liked to have found out what the school administration’s points of view were about the flag’s proximity to the school campus, whether discussions about the battle flag are incorporated into school lessons, and if students, parents, or teachers had commented about the issue.

As a writer, I could not go onto the property where the Confederate flag flies and interview either the owner of the property or others who may live in the house on that land. It is an instinctive revulsion at what that symbol represents that stopped me at the property line.

I emailed a person in a supervisory position at the nearest major newspaper, the Times Union, to learn whether the flag had ever been covered in an article and my email was not answered. A search of the Internet yielded no information or articles about that flag.

More articles by:

Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer. He is the author of Against the Wall: Memoir of a Vietnam-Era War Resister (2017).

August 13, 2020
David Correia, Justin Bendell, and Ernesto Longa
Nine Mile Ride: Why Police Reform Always Results in More Police Violence, Not Less
Vijay Prashad
Why a Growing Force in Brazil Is Charging That President Jair Bolsonaro Has Committed Crimes Against Humanity
Brett Wilkins
Teaching Torture: The Death and Legacy of Dan Mitrione
Joseph Scalia III
Yellowstone Imperiled by Compromise
Binoy Kampmark
Don’t Stigmatise the Nuke! Opponents of the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty
Margot Rathke
The Stimulus Deal Should Include Free College
Thomas Knapp
America Doesn’t Have Real Presidential Debates, But It Should
George Ochenski
Time to Face – and Plan for – Our Very Different Future
Ted Rall
Joe Biden’s Vice Presidential Pick is … ZZZZZ
Purusottam Thakur
‘If We Don’t Work, Who’ll Produce the Harvest?’
Robert Dreyfuss
October Surprise: Will War with Iran Be Trump’s Election Eve Shocker?
Gary Leupp
The RCP, Fascism, and Chairman Bob’s Endorsement of Biden for President
James Haught
The Pandemic Disproves God
Robert Koehler
Election Theft and the Reluctant Democracy
August 12, 2020
Melvin Goodman
Trump’s War On Arms Control and Disarmament
P. Sainath
“We Didn’t Bleed Him Enough”: When Normal is the Problem
Riva Enteen
Kamala Harris? Really? Desperate Times, Desperate Measures
Kenneth Surin
The Decrepit UK Political System
Robert Hunziker
Freakish Arctic Fires Alarmingly Intensify
Ramzy Baroud
The Likud Conspiracy: Israel in the Throes of a Major Political Crisis
Sam Pizzigati
Within Health Care USA, Risk and Reward Have Never Been More Out of Kilter
John Perry
The US Contracts Out Its Regime Change Operation in Nicaragua
Binoy Kampmark
Selective Maritime Rules: The United States, Diego Garcia and International Law
Manuel García, Jr.
The Improbability of CO2 Removal From the Atmosphere
Khury Petersen-Smith
The Road to Portland: The Two Decades of ‘Homeland Security’
Raouf Halaby
Teaching Palestinian Children to Love Beethoven, Bizet, and Mozart is a Threat to a Depraved Israeli Society
Jeff Mackler
Which Way for Today’s Mass Radicalization? Capitalism’s Impending Catastrophe…or a Socialist Future
Tom Engelhardt
It Could Have Been Different
Stephen Cooper
Santa Davis and the “Stalag 17” Riddim
August 11, 2020
Richard D. Wolff
Why Capitalism is in Constant Conflict With Democracy
Paul Street
Defund Fascism, Blue and Orange
Richard C. Gross
Americans Scorned
Andrew Levine
Trump and Biden, Two Ignoble Minds Here O’erthrown
Patrick Cockburn
The Rise of Nationalism Has Led to the Increased Repression of Minorities
Sonali Kolhatkar
Trump’s Presidency is a Death Cult
Colin Todhunter
Pushing GMO Crops into India: Experts Debunk High-Level Claims of Bt Cotton Success
Valerie Croft
How Indigenous Peoples are Using Ancestral Organizing Practices to Fight Mining Corporations and Covid-19
David Rovics
Tear Gas Ted Has a Tantrum in Portland
Dean Baker
There is No Evidence That Generous Unemployment Benefits are Making It Difficult to Find Workers
Robert Fantina
War on Truth: How Kashmir Struggles for Freedom of Press
Dave Lindorff
Trump Launches Attack on Social Security and Medicare
Elizabeth Schmidt
COVID-19 Poses a Huge Threat to Stability in Africa
Parth M.N.
Coping With a Deadly Virus, a Social One, Too
Thomas Knapp
The “Election Interference” Fearmongers Think You’re Stupid
Binoy Kampmark
Mealy-Mouthed Universities: Academic Freedom and the Pavlou Problem Down Under
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail