It is like having to look always ahead, to the distance and see the long slog in between. In Home and Exile, Chinua Achebe said, "We did not see the need to demonize white people. We just wanted out from under their rule." The world has made it clear that inter-ethnic conflict is not always black and white, as illustrated by the ethnic conflict in Nigeria post colonial "independence" between the Yoruba and Igbo peoples--both Nigerian--that resulted in the slaughter of thousands and thousands of Igbo. Recognition of that fact does not change that the issue is about dominant majority, however it plays out in a nation, a country, a state.
In Mississippi, it has become a conflict between those who see the symbols of the Confederacy as heritage, and those who see them as emblems of white supremacy that fully denied human rights during and after the enslavement of Africans, and as representative of a desire to maintain and even celebrate that white supremacy in the form of the norms of culture--the "rule" if you will. However, one feels about it, their really is no way to deny what the Confederate flag symbolized and that the heritage behind it is a heritage that harmed people, and a nation. It reminds many of us of that harm on a daily basis when we see it flying over the symbols of government, education, and institutions that are supposed to be for all of us. The fact that some people cannot grasp that reality and examine the "traditions" that have become dear to them does not disconnect the symbols from the origins. The greater harm is perhaps from those who do understand the origins and still see that white culture as right and desired.
What to do when your horse falls in a hole--go in the hole with him; you were part of the reason he got in this mess. I am learning that with my students--to go in the hole with them--not to stay in the hole, but to acknowledge the reasons they are in the hole and to help us both get out of the hole together. No matter who we are, we are all in this hole, even when we can not see it.