It’s just a flag. It’s about heritage, not hate. It is a military flag used to represent our brave soldiers from the south.
So why are people offended by it?
All over social media, people are claiming the Confederate flag does not represent racism. There were several different flags, but the Naval Jack with the Southern Cross is the most commonly associated with the Civil War and the Confederate states.
All of the various Confederate flags were used to represent the desire of the states of the Confederacy to secede from the union. Everyone who waves one either knows that or skipped history class.
We can probably all agree that the flag represents the south’s rebellion against the Union during he Civil War. But wasn’t the civil war simply about states rights? Wasn’t it about individual freedom and the rejection of intervention by the federal government? The states themselves answered that question when they declared their intention to secede from the United States of America.
Here are excerpts from the confederate state’s declarations of secession. (I added the boldface to help skimmers.)
While the subordination and the political and social inequality of the African race was fully conceded by all, it was plainly apparent that slavery would soon disappear from what are now the non-slave-holding States of the original thirteen. The opposition to slavery was then, as now, general in those States and the Constitution was made with direct reference to that fact.
The prohibition of slavery in the Territories is the cardinal principle of this organization (the Confederacy).
Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery— the greatest material interest of the world.
It (the Union) advocates negro equality, socially and politically, and promotes insurrection and incendiarism in our midst.
Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property (slaves) established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.
A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery.
She was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery– the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits– a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time.
In all the non-slave-holding States, in violation of that good faith and comity which should exist between entirely distinct nations, the people have formed themselves into a great sectional party, now strong enough in numbers to control the affairs of each of those States, based upon an unnatural feeling of hostility to these Southern States and their beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery, proclaiming the debasing doctrine of equality of all men, irrespective of race or color– a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of Divine Law. They demand the abolition of negro slavery throughout the confederacy, the recognition of political equality between the white and negro races, and avow their determination to press on their crusade against us, so long as a negro slave remains in these States.
We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.
Reading this, there can be no question that preserving slavery and white supremacy was one of, if not the major reason for the secession of the slave-owning states.
Back to the flag…
In 1956, two years after the Supreme Court voted to desegregate schools, Georgia decided to redesign its state flag to include the Confederate battle flag. They removed this symbol from their state flag in 2003. Mississippi still uses it.
In 1962, in response to the civil rights movement, South Carolina began flying the Confederate flag from its statehouse.
How could the descendents of slaves be offended by this? How could anyone possibly think this flag represents racism?
How could they not?