The Confederate Flag: Racist or Proud?
Updated: May 23
Let's talk about this:
1861-1865. The American Civil War.
Many Americans are taught in school that this war was fought purely over the issue of slavery- and while it was a major contributing factor, the Civil War was about much more. Let's start with the South. The 1860s South was this place that believed wholeheartedly in state's rights. They believed that each state should have the ability to dictate their own laws and not have to look to the Federal Government to approve them or, in their opinion, rule them. They wanted the United States to be a confederation of sovereign states, not an indivisible nation with a sovereign government. One of the main issues that sparked this huge controversy was slavery.
The South was an agricultural powerhouse- and relied hugely on the free labor that slavery provided. Their main crops- tobacco, rice, cotton, and sugar- were very labor intensive- and without slavery, these Southern plantations would have to pay for the harvesting of their crops (imagine having to pay people what they deserve?). So when the Northern states started to abolish slavery, tensions rose in the South, resulting in the Southern states declaring succession from the Union, which became the name for the North, and ultimately the name for the Northern troops, while the Southern troops were appropriately dubbed the Confederacy, in honor of their goal.
This war was HUGE- in case you didn't know. It was over whose way of life was going to become the standard for the United States. It dictated what kind of nation we were going to become, and- most importantly- it decided whether or not the United States was still going to be involved in the Atlantic Slave Trade.
The Union used the American Flag as their symbol- and the South, or Confederacy, created the Confederate Flag to symbolize their mission:
So let's examine this: is it a symbol of Southern pride and tradition? Or a symbol of the South's racist heritage?
Often, the flag is associated with the KKK, a horrible organization that I won't give the time of day to- but in fact, the organization uses the official flag of the United States more often, and does not list the Confederate Flag as its official flag.
In the light of the recent catastrophes in South Carolina, where a pastor and 8 members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church were shot and killed in what is thought to be a racially motivated attack, the state of South Carolina has come under fire for having the Confederate Flag flying above their capitol building. Interestingly, Actor Wendell Pierce tweeted: "The Nazis are responsible for the Autobahn and advancing rocket science. Do we fly the Nazi flag to remember that 'heritage'?" I think he has a point.
Obama himself weighs in on the issue as well. He states that the Confederate Flag has a place in America: and that place is in museums.
I'd be interested in seeing what my Southern friends, especially those of African-American heritage, have to think: and I'll be letting you know. In the meantime, what do you think? for more information on South Carolina, and comment below with your opinions!