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Change the flag and good will come to the state of Mississippi

I was privileged to live in Mississippi for a period of time. As a proud graduate of the University of Mississippi, I have a special place in my heart for the state and its people.

However, when I see the Confederate symbol incorporated on the state flag, I have great discomfort.  One cannot escape the fact that the Confederate battle flag was created to be flown in military operations against the United States of America, and it has been used as a symbol to:

1. support slavery,

2. defend segregation,

3. promote hate,

4. cause racial division.

From its creation to the present, the Confederate flag has stood for white supremacy. When that banner is raised, be it at a Ku Klux Klan meeting or as part of another flag, the underlining message is still there, regardless of individual intent.       

After a 17-0 loss to Mississippi State, then-chancellor Robert Khayat paid a visit to the Ole Miss coaching staff. There he found a totally demoralized group. Upon inquiring as to why so much gloom, Coach Tommy Tuberville responded quickly: “We can’t recruit against the Confederate flag.”

The state of Mississippi cannot recruit to its potential for much needed jobs, for tourism and multimillion-dollar conventions, for gifted human talent, etc., because of the Confederate flag, but that does not have to be.        

In the coming months, I hope Mississippians will convey to their elected leaders that they want the state to change the message, change the image, by changing the flag. This will result in good will, optimism and progress for the future.        

Dwight Tays

Nashville, Tennessee