Yes the Flag is Racist. Now it’s Time to Let it Go.

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. ~ The American Pledge of Allegiance

I remember saying this in school.  To me, patriotism means one flag which everyone is united under.

A Symbol of White Privilege, Literally

When I was a kid, being from Washington D.C., the first time I’ve ever seen the confederate flag was off of a toy car which was the Duke’s of Hazzard car which was named “The General Lee”, which also had no meaning to me.  Looking at it now, the show was about two men on probation who blew things up with dynamite, drove around dangerously while evading police.  Being that they were white, I now wonder how these characters on “probation” evading “police forces” would turn out had they been black.  Now, I can clearly see how the flag is a representation of white privilege; even when black people attempt to defend this flag, they still don’t remove the white privilege symbolism from it.  If your argument consists of parading around a village idiot who suggest that blacks should have committed mass suicide, or an attention whoring guy who said he “wants to be different” multiple times… You already lost.  Misinformed black people do not help your cause.

The Confederate States of America was a conceptual nation made of the Southern half of the United States, nearly all slave states.  Basically, they were a mass of people who wanted to break from the United States of America.  By any objective standard, this is called “treason”.  In addition, we won (USA), and they lost.  They wanted to upkeep American Slavery because that’s their primary means of economy.  Upholding the idea that black people are inferior or even subhuman more or less, was the ideology that buttresses American Slavery.

Currently, I don’t see a single logical argument that supports flying that flag at any government/official capacity.

The “Confederacy” existed for only four years in American (read:  the South’s) history.  It is strange to see a mass of people act as if the flag is a timeless symbol of the entire South.  The flag in question wasn’t even the flag of its hypothetical nation, it’s a unit-specific battle flag.  In fact, it was REJECTED as a national flag in 1861 — at the very beginning of the Confederacy.

To drive the point further, here’s a couple of the actual Confederate flags right here:

The “Heritage” Argument is weak

Being that we now see the actual flags of the Confederacy, this utterly destroys the heritage argument.  If it’s about heritage, then why aren’t one of these being the one that’s flown and dressed today?  Obviously, these flags represent something more encompassing than a mere battle flag, so why bother with a battle flag when you can claim the whole Confederate States of America?

Being that the Confederate States of America only existed for four years, it’s safe to conclude that this debate on this flag speaks on the era defined AFTER that flag as flown.  It stands for the “feel good jollies” of whites born out of the 2nd Class citizenship of blacks.  The flag in question gained momentum and popularity long after the Civil War, around the 1940’s – 1960’s as the flag the Dixiecrats flew, which represented a lot of things oppressive, such as supporting segregation (from blacks) and anti-amalgamation/marriage laws (with blacks) which also include supporting voter discrimination laws (against blacks) and Jim Crow law in general (against blacks).  Also, this meant they supported the state sanctioned torture, mutilation and extrajudicial killings of blacks, either by police or by private citizens.  That means lynchings, people.

In the south, if you’re black, if your car stopped on a random dirt road somewhere and the houses have this Dixiecrat flag in their window… these are not houses they relay the message of “safety” for you.  Sure, modern day you may have a friend who may attempt to appropriate one, but in a place with too many of these flying it meant you didn’t belong there.  In some places, these towns are called “sun down” towns, because if you are black this means by sundown you need to get the hell outta there unless you wish to come up missing.  These are the things that this flag represents, ranging from minor slights and micro-aggressions, to an ideology of pure malice.  Oh, and don’t go around with a white girl (if you are a man) in your car in these places.  Yeah.

“There will be no mixing of the races in the public schools and college classrooms of Georgia anywhere or at any time as long as I am governor….All attempts to mix the races, whether they be in the classrooms, on the playgrounds, in public conveyances or in any other area of close personal contact on terms of equity, peril the mores of the South….The next portent looming on the horizon is a further declaration that a State’s power to prohibit mixed marriages is unconstitutional.” ~ Marvin S. Griffin, Governor of Georgia, State of the State Address 1956

Sure, many states had the rebel flag in it, but most of these states, once again, only began doing this during the Civil Rights era.  The State of Georgia for example which once had two-thirds of its state flag as the rebel flag, only added it in its state flag in 1956, not 1861-1865.  South Carolina rose that flag over its capitol in 1962, not anytime near 1861-1865.  George Wallace, governor of Alabama at the time, rose it over Montgomery in 1963, explicitly for the reasons of being pro-segregation and pro-Jim Crow…. towards blacks.  In addition, while not ever being the official flag of the KKK, it’s racial aspect has been used by the KKK to convey a very racism-specific message.

A Rebel with a Cause… Pro-slavery was that Cause

“…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. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that “Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,” and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.” ~ Declaration of Causes which Justify the Secession of South Carolina

“Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world.” ~ Declaration of Causes which Justify the Secession of Mississippi

“Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error….Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth….They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails.” ~ Corner Stone Speech, Alexander H. Stephens, Georgia, 1861

As a people, we are fighting to maintain the Heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race; a white flag would thus be emblematical of our cause… Such a flag would soon take rank among the proudest ensigns of the nations, and be hailed by the civilized world as the white man’s flag… As a national emblem, it is significant of our higher cause, the cause of a superior race, and a higher civilization contending against ignorance, infidelity, and barbarism. ~ William T. Thompson, designer of the “Stainless Banner” flag.

“This country was formed for the white, not for the black man.” ~ John Wilkes Booth

The history of the American South, while full of historical revisionism to remove any racial context, is still heavily racist toward blacks and this fact remains without contest.  For someone to pretend the racial aspect of the Southern way of life wasn’t there, or was insignificant, there’s just too many facts they are missing.  These facts are well documented, still preserved.  Don’t know what caused the Civil War?  Just read the Declaration of Causes to Secession.

Problem:  the Originators vs. Appropriators battle didn’t happen

Speaking of which, if the flag is about “heritage”, why did the “pro-heritage” people allow the “pro-racism” to use it without any fight or argument?  If appropriation is the issue, there’s usually a huge fighting debate between two groups:  the originators versus the appropriators.  Think about it; you see this with everything, from Native American feathers to cornrows.  If there was bad forces appropriating something good or neutral, there’s ALWAYS a fight for who gets to own it.  This is precisely why Westboro Baptist Church doesn’t get to represent all of Christianity — there are people more than willing to FIGHT for what they believe is good and true, and they will disown, admonish, intellectually battle those who use these symbols for evil.  With that being said, WHY on earth did the originators allow the racists to appropriate their beloved heritage symbol?  They didn’t care because:

  1. They were complicit with the racism, bigotry, and bias.

Overall, In my opinion, because you allowed racists, bigots, and men full of malice to use this symbol without incident, you honestly don’t deserve to fly it for heritage.  Think about it this way:  You allowed racists to drive your car.  They crashed it, it doesn’t work properly anymore, and there’s no fixing it.  You cannot drive your car anymore.  Buy a new car.

The “Butthurt” Argument is a runaway train

“Well why don’t these people (i.e., blacks) grow some thick skin?  Why everybody gotta to be offended by something?  What people need to do is grow some thick skin and… (rant ad infinitum)” ~ The Butthurt Argument

This is the primary argument I hear which attempts to belittle, silence and shame the person who is not in support of the symbol.  As I’m a fan of runaway train logic, I only want to point out how self-inflicting this argument is:  A person who is against this flag being flown can wittingly say that the supporter of the flag is equally butthurt on the notion of it being taken down.  You cannot post an argument against emotion towards a symbol which pulls at your heart strings a bit, and NOT expect the same thing to be said to you.  Perhaps, it is those who wish to keep this flag in circulation who need thicker skin, who need to not be offended, etc.  If a black person, or anyone with sense, is emotionally driven to disagree with this flag, then those who are in support of it are more than likely twice as emotional in regards to it.  So, due to the fact that this argument grants Team TakeDown a judo flip in debate momentum, this argument is null and void.

Additional runaway trains are arguments that tend to “one-America” themselves.  America is ONE nation, under ONE flag.  Not two.  If someone wants to claim colorblind policy especially, then they must include — not ignore — the voices of Afro-Americans by default.  A person like the typical conservative republican (who are also Dixiecrats modern day) who likes to parrot talking points like “There’s no African-American, Indian-American, Asian-American, just American!” are bound to begin eating their own foot if they support the confederate flag with a “one-America/colorblind” argument.  It may pay to carry some seasoning salt with you in this debate just to pass towards the next guy who put his own foot in his mouth, because he will.  They may however, upon this revelation, get salty enough.

Monday, July 6, 2015, South Carolina voted 37-3 in support of removing that flag.  Republicans, Dixiecrats, Conservatives, Fox News, just let it go.  You cannot call yourself a patriot while flying two flags, especially a flag of treason.  And being that no one stopped bigots from using it, no one can.  And no one should.

Illustration by: Tom Stiglich
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  • Shawn Ben

    The confederate flag is a piece of shit. I live in the south. Grow thicker skin my ass! This flag is a symbol of racism. These are the same mfs that are always saying go back to Africa when you disagree with them. My late father served in the military. This is the only reason why I respect this nation’s flag. Both of my late parents were victims of Jim Crow and segregation. The confederate flag is something I would wipe my ass with! To any butthurt that disagrees can kiss my ass! I shall never claim this as part of my heritage as a southerner.

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