This week in my column in The Greenville News, I wrote about something I did as a 13 year-old: something that has haunted me ever since. It involves race, friendship, history, a letter to the editor, and the Confederate flag. Since the print version of the column came out just this morning, I have received many, many emails. Most have been exceedingly kind. Others, unmannerly, full of vitriol. I wish I could say I had not expected it.
I am a proud Southerner. I am a proud South Carolinian. I can be all of these things, and also ashamed, also sorry, also willing to dig into my history and be unafraid of what it has to show me. I believe this of each of us.
My friends–the people I love, the people I’ve known since childhood and with whom I’ve gone to school and church and more–are all so very different in their politics, religious beliefs, and upbringings. I love them all, in part BECAUSE of these differences.
I will not, however, step forward as a writer into a world that does not allow me, my friends, or anyone else, to be anything less than fully-fledged humans: full of mistakes, complications, fear, and hope. I have daughters to raise, and they are watching. I also have a privileged voice, and I’m damn well going to use it.
To read the column, click here.