I don’t think I can take one more person posting something on social media about how the confederate flag is “not racist” or “had nothing to do with slavery.” If you’re one of these people…or you know them…please read this and share it with the rest of the people who have either fallen for the misinformation that is spreading like a virus or are just in denial about their support of racism.
I’ll start with one of the core facts that many of these people actually have correct. What is generally called the “confederate flag” is actually not the official flag of the confederate states. It was actually the battle flag of confederate general Robert E. Lee.
This is where those who are trying to explain the flag seem to go off into “what the hell?” land. Here are their arguments (and how they are so very wrong):
Their Argument: The Civil War wasn’t about race or slavery.
The Truth: Yes….it was. It is very clear from the Declaration of Causes for the confederate states that they were attempting to secede due to “increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery.” It’s pretty simple. They wanted slavery. The majority of the people didn’t (and elected Lincoln based largely on that belief). They didn’t like the fact that they lost the election and, like children, said that they weren’t going to play anymore if the rest of the nation didn’t play by their rules.
Their Argument: Any use of the term “war of northern aggression”
The Truth: You are an idiot and are just trying to deny reality. Again…refer to the Declaration of Causes for the confederate states.
Their Argument: The people who are good at this claim that the flag is just a symbol to honor the fallen southern soldiers of the Civil War.
The Truth: That was initially the primary use of the flag after the Civil War. However, in the 1940’s the flag was adopted as the symbol of the Dixiecrats. This short-lived political party included maintaining segregation as one of their causes. Other causes included opposing anti-discrimination laws and opposing making lynching a federal crime. Even though the party died off, the use of this flag in support of racism continued such as when Alabama Governor George Wallace raised the flag above the state capital to protest desegregation. The flag may have been used as a way to honor the dead at some point in our history, but it has taken on the more racially motivated negative connotation that it had when the confederacy used it in their war to keep slavery.
Trying to explain away that the confederate flag (or Dixie flag or whatever they want to call it) is not racist by dismissing the reality of the Civil War or simply ignoring the use of the flag as a symbol supporting segregation does not work. There is a connection with “southern heritage,” but that heritage includes long periods of slavery, segregation, and racism. It’s a reality that people who embrace their heritage must accept. It’s okay to accept the mistakes of your predecessors and move on with a promise not to repeat the mistakes of the past. Denying that there was a problem does nothing but imply that you are okay with what those people were supporting.
This flag was used in war against the United States. It should never be flown at a government building. The same people supporting this would be marching in the streets against any government building flying a flag associated with Nazi Germany, Communist Vietnam, or countries that support terrorist organizations. A battle flag of a group of people who took up arms against the United States and caused a war on our own soil is no different.
The next time you see someone posting that this flag is not racist or connected to slavery and that anyone who says otherwise needs to get educated…let them read this and see if they are willing to “get educated.” You’ll probably just get something about crazy liberals followed by ‘Murica! (An ironic exclamation for someone supporting a separatist flag.)