IS THE CONFEDERATE BATTLE FLAG A SYMBOL OF RACISM?
With historic monuments being taken down all over the South, is the Confederate flag next?
The Confederate flag, more appropriately the battle flag of Northern Virginia, was used to differentiate the US flag from the Confederate States of America.
The bigotry and oppression that the pre-Civil War Southern Negro experienced is not what the Confederate flag represents today, rather, it stands as a historical memorial to the 650,000 men that died and the millions who were wounded (1 in 13 were amputees)on both sides of the line, roughly 5% of the population. That is more deaths than all the U.S. war casualties combined. It reminds us of the courage and bravery that surrounded the war that divided the country.
While slavery was the match that lit Fort Sumter, the underlying reason was the independence of the states to govern themselves. The question of states’ rights was at stake when the South seceded from the Union; much like today where unpopular Federalism runs roughshod over the states.
It is a source of sensitivity, both pro & con, and is more about the sentiment it carries, than the flag itself. How one interprets it depends on their racial bias or lack thereof. A few ignorant white supremacists groups like the KKK and skinheads have misappropriated its use as a symbol to promote their hate for blacks, Jews, immigrants, & Catholics. When taken in this context, naturally, it is racist and intended to hurt those that are in their sights.
The KKK flew multiples of the American Flag in its formative years and still does today. Why hasn’t the American flag suffered the same criticism as the Confederate flag? Is it because it would be considered politically incorrect to attack the flyers of Old Glory? Or is it simply an easier mark? Should the well intended uses of the flag be suppressed by inflammatory rhetoric that targets anyone that flies it?
Where were the complaints when the Confederate battle flag flew over the WWII Cruiser USS Columbia, or in Okinawa when it flew at the top of a mountain where it could be seen for miles when the island was secured? 15,000 American lives were lost. Or in Vietnam when marines wore and flew the battle flag? America lost 55,000 soldiers of all races.
Striking the flag doesn’t change history. It creates a wider racial divide between the silent majority and the radical left. Racial meanings are attached to discredit the user and then reinforced by the same individuals that point to its use as being racially divisive.
It becomes self serving. Call it racist and those that are racist will use it to further their cause. Those that are diametrically opposed will then point to it as racist. Cycle repeats.
The Civil War, regardless of sides, is a part of our glorious history. Southern pride will not be wiped out because the flag is discredited or not flown. It changes nothing. Everyone knows the real meaning of the flag…..it is not aimed at blacks nor a hatred of them, rather it is part of our American Southern culture.