If you are in town today, you probably noticed the truck hauling a truck parked sideways in the Marathon parking lot by the Popeye’s. The one flying the Confederate flag right by the road so everybody at the red light sees. With a sign advertising a yard sale or some crap. Just when I’m trying to keep my blood pressure down and de-stress, I have to go in Marathon and have one of my mini-Erin Brockovich moments.
I went in and asked the guy behind the counter if this was their parking lot or Popeyes. Ours, he says.
“Do you think it’s a wise business decision to allow someone to set up a hate symbol on your parking lot? Do black people not buy gas,” I asked.
Because you can’t make this stuff up, there’s a black lady walking out the door and a black man walking up to the counter to buy cigarettes.
So I asked, “How do you feel about that flag, sir?” He just shook his head and rolled his eyes… like, don’t get me in this I just need a pack of smokes and I’m used to this nonsense.
“We didn’t put it there,” the man said.
“Well, who did?” I asked.
“Don’t know,” he says.
“Here’s the thing, Bubba, if I wanted to look at the clothed emblem of those who went to war to continue treating black people like cattle, I’d jump back in time to 1862. But lucky for me, we already fought one war for that gotdamn flag to be removed. I don’t really feel like having it in my face at the red light on random freaking Friday in 2016. Is this getting through?”
The man starts rolling his eyes and and getting hateful. So I told him maybe I needed his supervisor.
He huffs, “She’s gonna go get the manager.”
You do that, big boy.
The manager comes out. I told him I just came in to ask him if it was the practice of this store to allow people to use their parking lot to showcase a hate symbol; was it routine practice to display white supremacy on its premises.
“You’ve only had 3 customers since I’ve been in here and two of them were African Americans,” I said. “Don’t you find that a little callus?”
Why, I asked him, would you allow something that offensive in your parking lot when you clearly have no problem taking black people’s money.
“That’s not us,” he says. “They didn’t talk to us, that was there when we got here this morning, we don’t know who did it. We just came in today it was parked there.”
I said, “Well, if I’m a business owner and someone parks something without my permission on my property, I’m calling to have it towed. Are you not?”
“We give people 24 hours before we call a tow truck,” he said.
That’s generous, people have car trouble, but this is clearly parked longways, almost in the grass, right by the highway, intentionally parked there showcasing their hate on your property, and in that “24 hours time” whatever inbred gathering they’re advertising will have come and gone, I explained.
See, unlike Jethro over there, I didn’t get my history from the back of a tshirt. So I know that THAT is the battle flag of Northern Virginia. And it is and always has been a racist hate symbol. It never once represented the Confederacy as a whole, it wasn’t the the ‘Stars and Stripes’ of the Confederacy, it never once stood as a symbol for the collective south– not now, not then. So your argument that it represents the South is factually flawed, as that flag has always has been a hate symbol. So this is not an ordinary vehicle, and if I were in the position of managing a business, I would consider seriously whether or not I wanted something that violently grotesque displayed on the premises.
“Are you getting all this?” I asked.
“Well, right now it’s not in the way and we will give them 24 hours.”
“What you’re telling me is you don’t care,” I said.
“What I’m telling you is there’s nothing I can do,” he said.
“You can call a tow truck,” I said.
“I will in 24 hours,” he responded.
Well, by then I will have told every black person in Dickson County that you’re an asshole and to buy their gas somewhere else.
See, there is something I can do.
This is 2016 and that flag is NOT okay. Read a REAL history book, dudes, not a license plate.