(The following is the beginning of the new book I’ve been working.on. Go, me.)
I’m from a town that’s almost ninety-seven percent white. And the minority population is almost split between black and ‘other’. Yet, the symbol of the Confederecy isn’t something I remember as normal. And it damn sure wasn’t something I owned. A small, southern town doing our best to honor old glory and not be the kind of white people that humilated the others. But a few miles up the road, ha. It was never a surprise to anyone that it bore the word ‘White’ in the town’s name. And anybody who tells you that they didn’t joke about that when they were little, is lying. I don’t know if all of those who believed that the south was really gonna rise again got together and said — “pick: Hickman County or White Bluff, ” yet, it happened, nonetheless. Burns, Tennessee, was a place where when one resident tried to keep black people from moving in , IN THE MOTHER FREAKING 1980s, the majority responded with: If a man’s got the money to buy a house, let him buy the house!
And we rolled that way. We were all told by our grandparents some variation of the following: Look, there’s good black people, and there’s bad black people; there’s good white people, and there’s bad white people. And that’s all we knew. We didn’t spend a lot of time honoring our dead ancestors — if we even had any — that went to war to own some of our classmates dead ancestors. Why would we? After all, that was kind of Hickman County’s thing. But Barack Obama came along and changed everything. Not to the town I affectionately refer to as the 37029, but to the County I was born and raised in. Suddenly all of the people I grew up with who either pulled their parents aside when we were young and said “she’s gonna grow up and love black people and worship a Kennedy, hide the white supremacy stash!” changed. They honestly weren’t raised that way. And yet, somehow, they were. Because here we are. On second thought, perhaps it is I that changed. And if that is the case, I thank God for that change every single day. Because unlike some still whistling Dixie, my God loves black people too.
I always start my story with facts. And my facts start with this, in 1973, in Atlanta, Georgia, when Hank Aaron was chasing Babe Ruth’s homerun record, he received upwards of three thousand pieces of hate mail a day. More mail than anyone in the country — even the President of the United States of America. Thousands of people had so much hatred for this man that they not only put it on paper, they walked it to the mailbox, stuck a stamp on it, and sent it on its way. All for attempting to whack a long ball more times than a white man. Three decades after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in major league baseball. Now, do you think that all of those people suddenly woke up one day and said, “Man, that n****r can hit, I guess he’s okay!”
Hell no. Hate breeds. It may no longer have been socially acceptable to burn crosses in a man’s front yard, but that bigotry doesn’t die. It just sits around and waits. And waits. And waits. This was my generations’ parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters. And when a black man walked into the oval office, all of those racists that had been silenced into saying things like “I’m not racist or anything, but…” and, my personal favorite, “I have black friends” came crawling out of the woodwork to form a sociopathic society of keyboard warriors in their online lynch mobs. And the more power the black man got, the crazier they became. Until one day, it reminded me of the ‘race wars’ my high school had when I was in the tenth grade and all of the kids from White Bluff came riding to school with Confederate flags flying from their truck beds in protest of the black kids wearing their Malcolm X tshirts in honor of the film’s cinematic release. I’m proud to say I own that movie. And dozens just like it. I’m also proud to say that I don’t watch much on film. And I’ve already told you that I’ve never owned a Confederate flag in my life and I’ve spent close to the last two decades fighting against it. So maybe now you understand exactly how I came to be.
Who am I? A 4’10 loudmouthed who will kick your ass with a can of peas in Kroger if you insult my man with a tan — who’s also know as the leader of the the free world. A country music loving, Civil Rights studying, Dr. King and Nelson Mandela worshipping, ‘yo mama’ insulting, Jerry McGuire channeling, ‘I LOOOOVE BLACK PEOPLE’ screaming, country ass white kid — who was so confused, by the way, when all of the ‘blacktivist’ I follow and converse with on Twitter started freaking out the day the latest Drake album dropped, and I’m over here with my pasty ass listening to some Kenny Chesney, like, ” Who is this Drake kid and, more importantly, how should I know him?” I’ve always been cool without really ever being at all.
What is my story? Well, it’s not mine, America — it’s yours. I’m just here to tell it. Alan Jackson said that he just holds the pen, God writes the words. Personally, I’m not sure that God swears as much as I do, but other than that, I feel the same.
This is OUR story, America. It’s not North. It’s not South. It’s the story of a symbol I refer to as the official jersey of team slavery — the Confederate flag — and I’m here to convince you why it’s time that we take them all down. I’d be honored if you’d join me.