When I was young, my mother drove me through Jonesboro, Georgia, the seat of Clayton County and the setting of Margaret Mitchell’s book, Gone with the Wind. As she drove along South McDonough Street, I looked out the car window and noticed men in white hoods carrying the Confederate battle flag outside the county courthouse.
I was too young to really understand who they were and why they were there. When I asked my mother what I had seen, she said, “They believe white people are better than other races. Sometimes, they have parades and rallies, and they can be violent.” My mother raised me to respect everyone and treat them how I wanted to be treated. She rejected racism, and she taught me to do the same.