Writing and Editing. November 2015. Wingspan Issue 1, page 7.
This is my position in a Pro/Con on the Confederate Flag printed in issue 1 of the newsmagazine. We wanted to issue a response to it after the events of the Charleston shooting over the summer and also some more local events that were happening at our school regarding the flag. I wanted to voice my opinion on this relevant topic and speak out against what I consider to be racism.
Con: The Confederate Flag is a symbol of hate, not heritage
Every day my dog goes wild at the sound of a large black Chevrolet truck. It’s not so much the sound of the deafening exhaust spewing global-warming carbon dioxide like it’s going out of style or the towering jacked-up size.
No, she goes wild at the white “stars and bars” cloth flapping in the wind behind it.
My dog may be the dumbest animal on the face of this earth. She ate neurotoxic rat poison, and when my uncle found out, he said, “You have to have a brain to be affected by neurotoxin.” But I think when she barks at that strip of cloth, she’s the smart one.
It’s brainless to think that the Confederate flag has ever been about heritage — or I should say that the Northern Virginia Confederate battle flag has ever been about heritage.
The actual Confederate flag looked only vaguely similar to the one flown on the backs of trucks and T-shirts. So if the flag were truly a “symbol of Southern pride and heritage,” why do people not fly the original Confederate flag?
Because they don’t truly care about heritage. They care about hate.
The Confederate flag we typically see today was hardly ever flown during the Civil War. It became incredibly popular, however, from the early 1940s until the mid to late ’60s. It was flown by a political party called the Dixiecrats, whose main goal was to perpetuate a racist agenda by opposing anti-lynching and anti-poll tax measures.
It was also flown by George Wallace, the governor of Alabama, a man whose name is synonymous with hatred and bigotry in the South during the Civil Rights era. If you can’t remember him, he was the guy who said, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever!”
What a great person for your symbol to be associated with.
Let’s look at another more recent person associated with this “precious sign of heritage.” Dylann Roof, the insane white supremacist gunman who decided to execute nine people inside a predominantly black Charleston church, posed in many pictures with the Confederate flag.
He wrote in his so-called manifesto, “(racial slur)s are stupid and violent. At the same time they have the capacity to be very slick,” he wrote. “Black people view everything through a racial lens….” What great words of wisdom for you Confederate flag supporters.
This racist sentiment should be a thing of the past just like this flag. The flag is simply a relic of a bygone era. Read your history books, ladies and gentlemen! We no longer live in the Confederate States of America.
In fact, the Confederate States of America no longer even exists. Russia doesn’t feel the need to fly the hammer and sickle anymore (as much as Putin might like to). Germany no longer hoists the swastika over Nuremberg. So why in the greatest nation on earth do we want to fly an object of antiquity and plain-and-simple racism over our capitols?
I’m not going to hop into one of that truck bed and tear that strip of cloth down because I recognize it is free speech to display that symbol. But just know if you plan on flying it, you are brainlessly promoting racism.
By Ari Sen
Supporters of the Confederate Flag participate in a rally. Photo used as Creative Commons.