Banks County Opinions...

March 21, 2001

Letter to the Editor

The Banks County News
March 21, 2001

Votes for 'no flag'Dear Editor:
I am a black woman and have lived in Banks County all of my life. I am a 1995 graduate of Banks County High School. At my graduation June 1995, I was presented with the Steven B. Tanger Business scholarship. One of the presenters was the Chamber of Commerce president.
Now, I may be wrong about this. But I was under the impression that the chamber of commerce was a sort of promotional agency that sought to promote and attract business and industry to the area and to make those businesses attractive to residents and visitors.
The Tanger Outlet Center is the only major shopping area in this county. All races of people from all parts of the country shop there. Not just people from Banks County, "trashy whites and blacks" and all. These shoppers include thousands of blacks and whites who would not appreciate the derogatory references the chamber president made in the Banks County News (March 9, 2001). I know I am offended. I am sure that the tax revenue that the county makes from this center is quite substantial. Now, I wonder how Mr. Tanger and the rest of the business owners at Banks Crossing would feel about having a flag representing this area that a vast number of consumers found offensive. I also wonder how they would feel about a chamber of commerce that promotes such ideals.
Y. Faye R
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By Shar Porier
The Banks County News
March 21, 2001

Final thoughts on flag issue
Now that I've calmed down a bit, had some time to think and talked with some of you, I have just this one last thing to say about the proposed county flag. I know that not everyone who is in favor of the flag is a racist. That would go without saying. I understand that the stars and bars are a part of the heritage of some of the county's residents. Their ancestors fought under it and it does have great meaning for them in that regard.
I, too, have a connection with the Confederacy. My great-great-grandfather was a major who fought the North in Kentucky. When I was young, my mother donated his uniform, saber, batallion banner and a few letters he had written home to the museum in my hometown. While I have connections, it is not my life, nor is it something I base my "heritage" on. There is a lot more to me than that.
The big difference is what the flag meant then and what it means today. Two very different interpretations.
Yes, it's unfortunate that bigoted hate groups, including the KKK, used it as a symbol of terror all across the South for over 100 years. But use it they did - for oppression, fear and murder.
Like it or not, that is the image and the intent the Confederate flag carries for most people in the country today, whether white or black.
And from talking to many of you, even you understand that that is how the flag is commonly perceived.
Perhaps the reason many are so unwilling to part with the stars and bars is because it would mean an admission of dishonor. It would be admitting that the emblem that has distinguished southerners as "separate," as "special," is tarnished and disgraced.
The Confederate flag has a place in the history of our country. But no longer should it be flown high at government offices, public buildings or schools in Banks County. Display it in museums and special places of historical significance.
To let it go is not an admission of guilt. It is an acceptance of freedom and equality. It is a recognition of not only people's rights, but just as importantly, their feelings. And, in this situation, that is what should count to good Christian people.
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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