An Open Letter to the Monroe County Fair Board

August 1, 2016

Monroe County Fair Associaton
PO Box 1446
Bloomington, IN 47404

cc: The Herald-Times

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen:

I enjoy taking my two goddessdaughters (ages 8 and 13) to the fair each year in part for its celebration of American values. That’s why I was stunned and dismayed last Friday to see a vendor displaying a Confederate flag for sale.

I was overcome with emotions: outrage, nausea, even fear. I’m white — I can’t imagine how an African American would feel. And I was faced with the difficult decision of what to do: face down ignorance and even downright racism or keep my girls safe? I chose safety but I have been conflicted ever since.

The Southern white narrative about the flag is that it celebrates Southern culture. If that were true, there would be an awful lot of Southern African Americans flying that flag, too.

We cannot escape that flag’s history, first as a banner for the continuance of the lash, rape, and abomination of slavery and the concomitant treason against the federal government, then its symbolism of Jim Crow, then its adoption as the banner of the anti-civil rights movement. To this day it remains, along with the swastika, the pre-eminant symbol of white supremacy.

This is the flag of blood. This is the flag of oppression. This is the flag of Dylann Roof and white terrorism. Is it appropriate to sell such a thing at a family-friendly community event celebrating American values?

You would not approve the selling of Ku Klux Klan robes at the Monroe County Fair. I call on you to reject the legacy of white supremacism and put an end to the sale of Confederate flags.