Michigan may be far south of the Mason Dixon line and fought on the Union side of the Civil War but some young “Country boys and girls” in the thumb state have provoked division at a majority white student high school in Bay City. Students engaged in a show of force adorning their vehicles with Confederate flags, pro Trump and other symbols to taunt African American students who they say removed one of their flags from a pickup truck days before the demonstration. The event obviously drew much attention across the state and nation providing more fuel for an already racially divided nation. The student protests and counter protests led to a shutdown of the school following a threat and rumors.
Television camera crews, mlive, and raw news reported on the incidents in great detail and news spread via major media outlets. Protestors became irate with reporters for their portrayal as racists and thousands of commentaries on social media and letters denounced racism and their actions.
Sarah Pinkelman, of Ann Arbor:
Pinkelman sent a letter to Auburn Mayor Lee Kilbourn after MLive quoted Kilbourn giving his reactions to the displays. Kilbourn was quoted, in part, saying, the students were “doing their legal constitutional duty.” He has since clarified that he meant to say the students were exercising their “rights” rather than their “duty.”
Excerpts from Pinkelman’s letter:
“The Confederate flag is very much the same as the Nazi flag to black Americans and to most white Americans. Can you imagine a street lined with trucks displaying Nazi flags? In fact, the Nazi flag in Germany is illegal.
“Therefore, I hope you will consider that the Confederate flag doesn’t just stand for one side of a debate (Republican vs. Democrat). It stands for hate, for counting an entire people as not human. It’s not about liberal vs. conservative. It’s about selling people like animals, in fact a people treated worse than animals for hundreds of years. It’s not about heritage–how can folks in Michigan even began to claim that?
“So, while I understand you cannot make them take the flag down, I disagree with your statement that you yourself cannot speak for or against the display of the flag. As a civil leader, you by all means have the right to condemn a symbol of degradation, hate, oppression, and cruelty. In fact, it is your duty to speak against something that is in all manner treasonous to our country and a symbol of rebellion against the stars and stripes, the flag that is supposed to unite us all.
“I can’t imagine what the black students who go to that high school are enduring right now. I hope you see that it is your job as a public servant to protect them but also speak up for them. I’m sure as mayor you have sway in your community. Why not defend those who are facing this hate?”
Michigan puede estar lejos al sur de la línea del masón Dixon y luchó en el lado de la Unión de la guerra civil pero algunos jóvenes “los muchachos y las muchachas del país” en el estado de Michigan han provocado la división en una escuela secundaria en Bay City, donde la mayoría de los estudiantes son blancos. Los estudiantes se involucraron en una demostración de fuerza adornando sus vehículos con banderas Confederadas, Pro Trump y otros símbolos para burlar a los estudiantes afroamericanos que dicen que quitaron una de sus banderas de un camión de recolección días antes de la manifestación. El acontecimiento obviamente atrajo mucha atención a través del estado y de la nación proveyendo más combustible para una nación ya racialmente dividida. Las protestas estudiantiles y contra protestas llevaron a una parada de la escuela después de una amenaza y rumores.
Equipos de cámaras de televisión, y noticias crudas informaron sobre los incidentes en gran detalle y difusión de noticias a través de los principales medios de comunicación. Los manifestantes se enfurecieron con los reporteros por su interpretación como racistas y miles de comentarios sobre las redes sociales y las cartas denunciaron el racismo y sus acciones.