Michael Ashmore, who waved a confederate flag outside the White House (where our first Black President lives) earlier this month, has recently written an open letter defending his method of protesting President Obama. Not surprisingly, the letter is as racist as Mr. Ashmore’s protest. While he has a constitutional right to write this letter, I think it needs to be deconstructed, and that is precisely what I am going to do.
The first problematic thing Mr. Ashmore says is, “my town consist of many different races (Black,white,Hispanic ,Asian) I am also friends with some of them.” Did he seriously just pull the ‘I have black friends’ card? Yes, yes he did. So, because you are gracious enough to befriend a few non-white people, it suddenly becomes not racist to wave a confederate flag outside of the home of the U.S. [Black] President?
Ashmore goes on to talk about how he grew up poor, lost his father to cancer, did not know his mother or siblings until recently, and works seven days per week. Excuse me, but how exactly does having a difficult life justify being an ignorant, racist, creep? Many people have been through hardships; however, decent people often choose to use their past hardships to help them empathize with other people who have also been through hardships… like slaves. Speaking of slaves, I am sure Black slaves in the U.S. suffered many more hardships than Mr. Confederate Flag Waver ever has.
Michael Ashmore references his military service in the “marine core” (by the way, it is spelled, ‘corps’) as proof of how much he loves his country. Well, Michael, sweetie, if you love your country so much, why are you in front of your president’s home waving another nation’s flag, a nation who fought against the United States in a very bloody war? (The Confederate States of America acted as its own nation once it seceded from the Union.) Granted, the flag Michael is waving is technically The Second Confederate Navy Jack, 1863–1865, but close enough.
Now for the good part: Ashmore claims, “for most people the flag represents hate and racism. But not for all… For me the flag doesn’t represent hate, racism, or diversity.” Oh boy, where do I even begin. Well, I do agree any flag associated with the Confederacy does not represent diversity. In fact, I am pretty certain the only people who staunchly supported the confederate cause were white southern men. No offense to white southern men, but you guys are not a very diverse bunch. As for the “most people” who believe the flag represents “hate and racism,” they are the people who learned about history – the history of the United States’s Civil War in which the South was trying desperately to keep slavery alive because their entire economy was built on slave labor.
Mr. Ashmore continues to explain what the confederate flag means to him personally, “it represents we’re I come from, It represents the love I have for my country, family, and friends.” Let us work backwards through this statement, shall we? Ashmore is claiming the confederate flag signifies the love he has for his family and friends. I wonder if that includes those non-white friends he previously mentioned? I am sure all of his Black friends really feel the love when he waves a symbol of slavery in front of them. He also says the flag stands for the love he has for the United States; too bad it is not the official flag of the United States of America. Now for the tired old argument of, ‘the confederate flag is not racist, it is just part of our heritage.’ That is true, the confederate flag does stand for a particular people’s history… their history of enslaving people! Is Michael Ashmore proud of this depraved and tragic history? I thought he had some Black friends whom he loved.
Regardless, Assmore – oops, I mean Ashmore – just wants to proudly display his heritage of the place from which he comes (a place built by Black slaves), his love for his country (which is apparently The Confederate States of America), his love for Black people, and get a little respect in the process. Is that really too much to ask?
“Flags of the Confederate States of America: naval jacks and ensigns.” Wikipedia. Oct. 16 2013. Web. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flags_of_the_Confederate_States_of_America
Jines, C. “Exclusive: Open Letter From Michael Ashmore.” Republic Affair. Oct. 15 2013. Web. http://republicaffair.com/2013/10/open-letter-from-michael-ashmore/