Grad commends S. Carolina boycott
By biconews On 8 Feb, 2000 At 05:00 AM | Categorized As Archives | With 0 Comments

By John Holder

Dear Friends,

I see that some of the Haverford and Bryn Mawr athletic teams have decided to cancel their participation in South Carolina events because of the boycott relating to the Confederate flag. You’re doing exactly the right thing.

I’m a native and current resident of South Carolina. I moved back to my hometown in this state five years ago. I teach political science at the local college, and I’m a county Democratic Party official. And I enjoy living here. South Carolina has a lot to recommend it - but that doesn’t mean I agree with the way everything gets done here.

I’ve been doing what I can in my community for the past few years to turn public opinion against flying the flag. Unfortunately, far too many of the elected officials in this state have spent their lives hearing only one side of the story and listening only to people who look and think exactly like them, and they either don’t know or don’t care what the outside world thinks.

Haverford and Bryn Mawr have taught you and me to respect people of different backgrounds, and to be interested in - rather than afraid of - ideas that aren’t exactly like what we’ve been exposed to before. But that tradition of tolerance and respect for diversity - to say nothing of intellectual curiosity - doesn’t exist among enough people in South Carolina’s halls of government.

The only thing we can do is to keep trying to build pressure to take the flag down. Hopefully, what the boycott will accomplish is to finally know that the Civil War is over, or we’re complaining about the result. One way, we look like idiots; the other, we look like racists. If we keep segregating ourselves from the rest of the world, we’re going to end up like South Africa in the dying days of apartheid - being the only people in the world who Don’t Get It, and nobody else will want to have anything to do with us.

But if South Africa can change, so can South Carolina.

I’m not at all surprised that my alma mater and its sister school have taken a principled stand on this issue. Haverford and Bryn Mawr have been standing up for peaceful, constructive social change and progress for far longer than any of us have been alive. I’m pleased and proud that the current HC/BMC students are carrying on that tradition. I’d love to hear from any of you who’d like to discuss this further.

Best wishes,

John Holder

Haverford Class of 1985

Lecturer in Political Science,

Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC

Secretary, Democratic Party of York County, SC

833H Lucas St.

Rock Hill, SC 29730


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