Banks County News
March 14, 2001
Chamber president's comments
I am writing in response to comments made by the Chamber of Commerce
president in the front page article of the March 7, 2001, Banks
County News. First allow me to say that the flag "issue"
is a non-issue for me. I understand the controversy surrounding
the state flag and am indifferent concerning the new, the old
or even whether or not one exists. Therefore, in my opinion,
a county flag is simply redundant. That should explain my reason
for signing the Gasaway petition. With that said, writing this
letter would be absolutely unnecessary but for the comments made
by the Chamber of Commerce president concerning a collective
group of citizens of Banks County.
I am a black woman and have lived in Banks County for 27 years.
I attended the local high school for a short time and graduated
there. I have been employed for the past 26 years. For the past
12 years I have worked at a public service agency in Banks County.
I resent being classed or labeled according to the chamber's
president's opinions. First of all, name-calling is not becoming
to a person in her position. This kind of name-calling is not
only racist (there, I said it), it is separatist. No person has
the right to call anyone "trash" in any form of the
I and every other person whose name was on that petition signed
because we agreed with the position. We are citizens of the county
who live, raise families, work and worship in Banks County. We
have interests, opinions and plenty of things to think about.
Even though we are busy working, we still have plenty of time
and adequate intelligence to form an opinion and express it.
We just don't happen to agree with whatever is popular opinion
on a "just-because" basis. The fact that we have an
opinion that differs from Madam President's or the opinion of
the majority does not classify us as "trashy whites and
blacks who don't work."
I further resent the direct comment about African Americans in
Banks County. I would like to say to this person that there are
probably more of "us" in this county than she knows
about. Further, the "good white folks" (the "we"
I assume she was referring to) of Banks County do not "have"
any blacks and those of us here are definitely not like any of
her family. I wonder how many black people or people of any other
race she actually knows. I am sure that if there was any evidence
that any black person was "family" to this person or
anyone who shares her sentiment, it would not be shared information.
Those "uncle" and "auntie" references don't
work with us anymore. This person probably did not mean it like
that (they never do), but that is how she was quoted. If any
apologies from her or anyone on her behalf are forthcoming, please
don't bother. We prefer to let sleeping dogs lie.
As for the flag, I understand that the issue is that people are
concerned for their heritage being lost. As an African American,
Black, Colored, Negro woman I have a very rich heritage in this
country and it cannot be printed on a flag. It is in my heart,
in my hands, in my eyes and ears. The things I feel about my
people and people in general; the wisdom I've gleaned from my
forebears; the works I do and the customs I practice and pass
on; the efforts of my people in making this country what it has
become since the days of the cherished Old South; the wonderful
children I and my sisters and brothers have produced all are
evidences of my heritage. This is what we call Soul. Every time
I look at my children I see my heritage. Every time I hear my
mother's voice, I hear my heritage.
This cannot be put into colors on a flag and a flag cannot drape
it. I don't need a symbol to remind me of how my people came
to be who we are.
The only symbol that matters is the one that reminds us Who is
responsible for it. Put Him on the flag and I will salute and
honor it with all my heart and soul. Whom it represents. Let
us acknowledge what is really important for Banks Countians and
follow the example of the Son who cares the most.
Banks County News
March 14, 2001
The Raspberry Salute
County commissioners, I give you the raspberry
Thank you so much for our new county flag that most of the county
didn't have much of a voice in the choosing.
And you fussed at the governor so for doing the very thing you
did. Tsk, tsk.
"Well, the ad was placed in the county's legal organ,"
said one member of the commission. Yeah, for only one week.
Now, as much as I wish everyone in the county subscribed to The
Banks County News, fact is, they don't.
So what about those who didn't see the ad? .Besides, it wasn't
specified that this was a real "vote" that would count
as a final decision on the flag we so "desperately"
Bonnie Johnson, president of the Chamber of Commerce, said last
week, "We have only a few blacks in Banks County and they're
just like family." Ouch, that hurt! Made me cringe when
I read that. Then she dug a deeper pit with "all the trashy
whites and blacks." Owww, again! And this woman heads the
chamber of commerce.
Maybe it's time to take a look at how many "black people"
shop and work at the outlet malls. Will our economy lose business
from this life-sustaining area because of this?
And what about the "few blacks" in Banks County? Why
are they just supposed to take this in stride?
Will we suffer a "black-lash"?
Johnson also said that the new flag represents "historical
That it will bring in tourists. The "flag" is going
to bring in tourists.
Yeah. Sure. Are they going to be the kind of tourists we want?
Will the Concerned Conservative Citizens soon be using our courthouse
steps to spread their message of prejudice? Or some other skin-head
She claimed, "This was a special project to honor the county
and any Banks Countian who is interested in the history of Banks
Am I missing something here? This affront is supposed to make
us honored? Some 571 people is an not acceptable number of people
out of the several thousands who live here to determine such
an important, moral decision.
I still find it difficult to believe this is happening. But,
happening it is. And those of us opposed to it better get cracking
or we're going to have to live with this thing at least until
re-election time. Buckle up, Banks County! We're in for a bumpy
Shar Porier is a reporter for The Banks County News.