Helene Cooper: Confederate Battle Flag Is ‘a Symbol of Hatred’ for Me

‘When I see that battle flag, for me it’s a symbol of hatred’

TODD: “Can I just tell you, Helene? I want you to react to something here. Josh DuBois, who of course was the president's first head of the White House Faith-based Initiative, he wrote this in the Daily Beast about this, what Jerry just brought up. "The question now is: Will we convince ourselves of the delusion that this killer is the only one who is sick? Or will we examine our national conscious and finally take steps to become well? One of those steps has to be white Americans having an honest conversation about white culture." And he goes on to saying, you know, "We always say we got to have blacks and whites having a conversation together. Blacks need to have a conversation. But we never do call on white America to look inward."

COOPER: “No, we don't. I thought it was extraordinary essay. And I was glad to see that he wrote that. And I think it's something that we probably-- I don't know that I'm necessarily the person to be talking about white America having conversations at their dinner table. But I think it's something that we as the media don't really call on when we talk about, you know, having a conversation about race. We talk about blacks and whites having a conversation about race. I know when I first got hired by the Wall Street Journal and I had not really been very far South before, I remember driving. I was hired in the Atlanta bureau of the Wall Street Journal. Driving across the border into Georgia and realizing at the time-- this was 1994. And the Georgia state side had the Confederate flag on it. And as a black woman, I blanched. And I can't describe for you. When I see that battle flag, for me it's a symbol of hatred. And so it's very hard for me to cross that bridge and try to understand when. You know, and I understand that a lot of people in the South believe that this is heritage. You know, and as a black woman, I see that. And it's a tough one for me.”

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