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November 25, 2008

Stars and Stripes also once symbolized racism

I found the rationalization of the actions of Johns Hopkins University officials in the editorial "A civil action" (Nov. 21) a bit disingenuous. Certainly, the flags of the Confederacy were, at a time in our history, connected to racial oppression. But the Stars and Stripes was also, for a while, the banner of a nation that recognized slavery and constitutionally recognized its victims as only three-fifths of a person.

Both were part of our history. But would Hopkins officials have refused to rent space if, instead of Confederate sympathizers, the request had come from a group commemorating the signing of the U.S. Constitution?

Johns Hopkins' decision was not common sense. It wasn't even politically correct.

It was, perhaps, politically expedient.

Christian B. Wilson, Bel Air

Hopkins has no claim to moral high ground

As a Johns Hopkins alumnus and former employee, I had to laugh as I read about the university's decision to ban the Confederate flag from the Homewood campus ("Hopkins balks at Confederate banner," Nov. 20).,

While I am no fan of the "Stars and Bars" and I do not condone racism, I find it highly hypocritical of Johns Hopkins to claim the moral high ground when it has such a dismal record of African-American enrollment.

D.R. Longway, Towson

Flag remains symbol of rebellion, bigotry

Let's forget the deep racial overtones of brandishing the Confederate flag and concentrate on what the flag really means ("Hopkins balks at Confederate banner," Nov. 20). The "fight for states' rights" (as some Confederate sympathizers call the Civil War) was a direct attack on the United States of America by a group dissatisfied with the policies of the U.S. government.

Indeed, the actions of the Confederacy were extremely similar to the actions of al-Qaida, as both were at war with the United States (with the major difference being that al-Qaida has attacked innocent civilians).

As a black man, I have issues with the Confederate flag because of the symbolism it has with respect to my ancestors. As an American, I have issues with that flag because it symbolizes an attack by a hostile force upon my country.

To celebrate the "heritage" of the flag is an affront to me as an American citizen and a black man.

Kevin Blackwell, Catonsville

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