‘I don’t want to discuss this’

If you’ve taken a ride along River Road in North Arlington near the Belleville Turnpike recently, there’s a possibility you may have noticed something out of the ordinary.

Near the property that is owned by Bell-Pike Motors waves a Confederate Flag.

Although it’s not on the car dealership’s property, it sure looks it. But it is in fact on a pole in the backyard of a home on the dead-end of Roosevelt St.

The flag, which has many representations that are open for interpretation, has received mixed reviews from local residents.

The owner of the home declined to elaborate as to why he put up the flag.

“I don’t want to discuss this,” the man said.

(The Observer is not naming the resident.)

One North Arlington resident, Vance Green, who is black, says that while in the past the sight of a Confederate flag flying in his hometown might have caused him angst, it doesn’t at this point in his life.

“As a black man, I’ve had mixed feelings about the flag my whole life,” Green said. “It doesn’t bother me anymore — I don’t have the right to dictate or impose my views on this. It’s a flag. There are no words or emotions attached to it. For others, it might elicit emotions, but it’s free speech.”

Green said the flag’s owner should have every right to display it.

“It’s on private property,” he said. “It’s protected free speech. I understand people may see it as repulsive, but I don’t.

Not everyone is as unfazed by the flag as Green, however.

Kearny resident Lucille Danis, who had been shopping across the street from the display at the Dollar General, said she was shocked when she parked her car, stopped — and noticed it flying in the wind.

“I can’t say I am pleased by seeing that,” Danis said. “Didn’t we just see a bunch of Confederate monuments taken down in some southern state (Louisiana) just this week? Places are getting rid ofreferences to the Confederacy. This just doesn’t make much sense. It’s offensive.”

Meanwhile, a neighbor, who asked that we not use his name because he feared retribution, said he’d seen the flag through an alleyway on Roosevelt St.

“It doesn’t belong here,” the neighbor said. “I have no idea why he put it up. That flag represents everything that was once wrong with this country … especially slavery. I hope it comes down sooner than later.”

The Observer Staff