Civil War Monument in Dowagiac, Michigan
Looks like trouble in the Deep
South North over the display of the Confederate flag in a public high school. Earlier this week, school officials in Dowagiac, Michigan banned students from wearing clothing that displayed the Confederate flag. Tensions between black and white students have continued to mount since the decision. A number of students have been suspended and police now patrol the school grounds owing to the number of threats that have been made both online and at the school. The whole thing is utterly ridiculous and, in the end, it looks like school officials are to blame for allowing the is to get out of hand.
Here is what I would suggest. The African American students should approach the parent, who is handing out free t-shirts and ask to wear one. If she only hands them out to the white students than we are probably safe in concluding that this does have something to do with race. But if this is really just about expressing your southern pride in Michigan and acknowledging the “true history” of the Civil War than both the black and white students should embrace it in order to move on from this silliness. There is no more effective way of diffusing a controversial symbol than appropriating it as your own. Just imagine the news coverage of an entire black student body wearing Confederate t-shirts.
Once they’ve done that I suggest that the history department do its job and teach. How about taking their students on a little field trip to the Civil War monument located in downtown Dowagiac. My guess is that the soldier is not carrying a Confederate flag.