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Why I Moved the Flag

MAIL

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

To the Editors of The Crimson:

When I hung my Confederate flag over a month ago, I hung it with all the pride and fond memories I have of the Southern culture in which I was raised. After living for a year and a half at Harvard, away from the lifestyle I love, I was comforted by the sight of the flag. I placed it in my window with pride, but eventually learned that my flag had been totally misinterpreted and misunderstood by many.

The flag reminds me of the warm Southern hospitality, the willingness to look a stranger in the eye and say "hello" with no ulterior motive, the relaxed approach to an otherwise hectic life and consideration and sensitivity to others. I regret that the flag stirs in others emotions and feelings totally opposite of what I had intended and what the South is about today. Many people saw in the flag racism and insensitivity, emotions completely alien to those it stirs in me. Try as I may, I could not get many to even consider looking at the flag in another light, from my perspective.

This intolerance and unwillingness to listen to an opposing view without automatically condemning it as wrong disgusted me, especially after having been indoctrinated with Harvard's "ideals" of diversity of thought, tolerance of opinion and the benefit these bring to the college atmosphere.

I hope to make people aware of those Southern values and principles I hold dear and live by, so out of respect for them I will move the flag. I believe in standing up for principles and those which I have discussed I am avowing. I did not intend for the principle of freedom of expression to be the issue; if I had, the resolution of the issue would have been totally different. Maybe by moving the flag though I will make clear those principles which I am so proud to have as a part of my Southern upbringing, especially consideration of the feelings of others. Jon P. Jiles '92

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