I don't want to paint south Florida as some great bastion of post-racism America, because gods know it isn't, but in the years I've lived here, I've rarely felt the situation is anything like the deep south I grew up in and lived in for most of my life.
Part of it has to do with the heavy Caribbean influence here. New Orleans has its share of similar influences, but I didn't live there--I was always on the periphery of the city, in the suburban areas where racism was fairly open, and where anything bad that ever happened in New Orleans due to the blacks who'd taken over. Confederate flags were common, and as the picture below shows--taken when I was in south Mississippi for my daughter's high school graduation, things haven't changed much.
That's a franchise store dedicated to "southern heritage," and while the more enlightened members of that community are embarrassed by it, it's doing well enough to survive in this tired economy.
Florida, even the southern part, has been in the news a bit over the last year or two for racial issues. There was the Tallahassee art installation titled "How to Hang a Confederate Flag," which placed a flag in a noose--the Sons of Confederate Veterans hated that. There were the nooses hung at Nova Southeastern and Somerset Academy and in the Miami Police Department. And let's not forget the first of the license=plate issues we had to deal with this year.
Now, the Sons of Confederate Veterans (remember them?) are looking to exercise their free speech all in Tampa's face, with a huge flag (not an American one).
A group called Sons of Confederate Veterans started this week preparing a privately owned site near the crossroads of Interstate 75 and Interstate 4 for a Confederate memorial. It will include a 30-by-50-foot Confederate flag flying on a 139-foot pole.Classy.
I'd like to be flip about this, I'd like to be sarcastic about these guys making it clear to the general populace just what quality of douchenozzles they are, especially on this day when it looks like Barack Obama will hit the magic number of delegates and super delegates needed to become the Democratic party nominee, but I just don't have it in me. I'm afraid that the SCV is doing this precisely because they're hoping to rally the cause of racism in this potentially swing state.
30 feet by 50 feet--1,500 square feet of racist and treasonous symbolism, flapping in the Tampa breeze. Glad I can't see it from here.