Banks County Opinions...

March 14, 2001

Letter to the Editor

The Banks County News
March 14, 2001

Responds to Chamber president's comments
Dear Editor,
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 word.
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.
Kathie Faulkner

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By Shar Porier
The Banks County News
March 14, 2001

The Raspberry Salute
County commissioners, I give you the raspberry salute!
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" need.
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 Banks County."
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 hate group?
She claimed, "This was a special project to honor the county and any Banks Countian who is interested in the history of Banks County."
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 ride!
Shar Porier is a reporter for The Banks County News.
The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233 Fax: (706) 367-8056

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