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Daily Archives: August 2, 2015

What is racism?

Floyd resident Rob Neukirch, the male half of a mixed-race couple who are proud parents of Preston and Cooper Neukirch, says he ran into what he feels is racism in Floyd last Friday night.

Neukirch ran into Tim Boone who promoting a motorcycle poker run to hype the Confederate Flag that is under fire from many circles as a symbol of racism.  He parked in the parking lot of Tommy Bell’s Towing on Main Street to spread his love of what many others consider a symbol of Confederate racism and engaged in debate with those who happened by.

Many consider pro-Confederate flag dialog verbal diarrhea. Others disagree. Neukirch says he tried to talk reason with Boone but felt he found little chance of rationality when, in the midst of Boone’s claims that neither he nor the Confederate flag are racist, referred to Cooper Neukirch as “colored.”

Rob, of course, challenged what he felt was a racist remark about one of his children.

Boone says he is “not racist” and use a widely disparaged and dated, some feel, despicable racist term to call a child of a mixed-race couple “colored.”

When Neukirch recounted what happened to a group of us outside the Floyd Country Store during the Friday Night Jamboree, the reaction was sadness.

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Rob, Michele and their children since returning to Floyd in 2004.  They owned Oddfellas Cantina, where I dined frequently, and I helped prepare a educational video for Mount Rogers for Michele.

I also had the pleasure of photographing Preston on the basketball court and in track.  He now an education major at the historical and world-renowned research university of William & Mary.  Cooper is currently proving his talents in basketball and track.

Those who adore the Confederate flag are free to display it if they want and others feel it is a symbol of racism.

Boone says he was referring to “colored people” that he knows in the course of his life and not young Neukirch specifically.

Perhaps but use of such a term, which is sensitive to some, perhaps should also be avoided.