Hurley's teams, known as the Rebels, don a logo that features the Confederate flag waving from a sword. The school's Facebook page shows football players running onto the field beneath the Confederate flag after bursting through a homecoming banner on which a hand-drawn version of the battle flag is the most prominent feature.
"Since all of this has come about, our community has stood behind the logo and the flag," Hurley High principal Pamela Dotson told The Huffington Post this week, echoing comments she made first to the Bristol Herald Courier. […]
[I]n Hurley, residents see the current debate as "just about politics and ignorance about the true meaning of the flag," according to Dotson, who described the school's use of the flag as an honor to area soldiers who fought and died in the Civil War and a reminder of the area's history.
"The folks that chose our mascot were not pro-slavery. They were not racist," Dotson said. "Nothing malicious or ill-minded was intended."
Buchanan County, home to Hurley, is 96.1 percent white, according to the Census Bureau. Just 2.9 percent of its 23,000 residents are African-American.
Hurley High, Dotson said, has just one black student this year, an athlete who she said wears the Rebel uniform and the Confederate flag that adorns it with pride. She hasn't heard any complaints from a black student in her three years as principal.
"Never," Dotson said. "They've been accepted with open arms as part of the family."
Right. Those very few black students are going to stick their very lonely necks out to protest. But hey, they haven't said anything, so they must be fine with this daily reminder that their heritage is one of chains and whips.
They must be happy to honor the soldiers who fought to keep their ancestors in bondage, since they haven't said otherwise. It's "heritage," not hate so if they know what's good for them they'll continue to keep their mouths shut and stay in the "family"—that's the message Ms. Dotson is clearly expressing here.