Rejecting the Confederate battle flag

[This Op-Ed appeared in the Carrol County Times March 1, 2018]

Recently, several Carroll countians have expressed disagreement with Superintendent Stephen Guthrie’s decision to ban the familiar Confederate battle flag from Carroll County Public Schools.

Those who disagree with this decision often refer to “the history of this country,” but they rarely sound as if they have talked to historians, or at least discussed their views with a handful of African-American friends who have had experiences with the flag, before holding forth.

The flag at issue was one of several battle flags used by Confederate forces, Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia in particular, during the Civil War (1861-1865). It is defended by some today as a symbol of the South, the Confederacy, the “Lost Cause,” and Americanism.

However, today this flag is more strongly associated — in the minds of many white and most nonwhite Americans — not with patriotism, but with the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups. This tie between the flag and racism was formed in two main waves of partisan public opinion.

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The Adjuncts Among Us

letter to the editorOn June 6, ballots were counted at the National Labor Relations Board office in Baltimore, as union organizers and representatives of McDaniel College’s administration looked on. By a margin of 82 to 36, the adjunct faculty at McDaniel voted to form a union. Negotiations will take place during the coming academic year on a first contract. What does all this mean, and what big issues are at stake?

First, an adjunct faculty member is a college-level teacher who is hired by the College to teach a course – once, and maybe again, or maybe not. There are a lot of adjuncts in American higher education; at McDaniel there are more than twice as many adjuncts as full-time “regular” faculty members.

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