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A member of the Tampa division of  the United Daughters of the Confederacy, walking with the Dixie float,  hands Confederate Flags to African-American children during the annual 4th of July parade in Brandon, Florida. The UDC and one of the Tampa camps of the Sons of Confederate Veterans sponsored the Dixie float. In 2008, the SCV of Tampa erected the world's largest Confederate Flag near the intersection of Interstates 75 and 4. The SCV and UDC's promotion of southern heritage periodically leaves them defending against charges of racism. For examples, see here and here.

At the time the flag went up over the interstates, Tampa Bay Times columnist Daniel Ruth penned these words that still ring true to my experience in Tampa today,

Every whip of the massive Confederate Flag in the air over the entrance to Tampa tears at the emotional skin of thousands of black residents of this community who are reminded again and again that unreason, myopia and bigotry remain all too sadly alive and well in this still very Southern city...This region of the United States of America, the same nation Barack Obama was elected to lead, does indeed have a grand and glorious heritage of literature, music, architecture, food and many other unique characteristics that can and should be celebrated and honored without the presence of a piece of cloth signifying the terror of human bondage, the ominous heritage of oppression.

I study philosophy and social theory at the University of South Florida. I am also a photographer, map lover and sometimes poet.