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The Blue & Gray Press | December 11, 2017

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Confederate flag preserves ongoing racism in America

Confederate flag preserves ongoing racism in America

By HANNAH PARKER

“It is southern patriotism, and I am just supporting my state’s history,” a phrase you have probably heard far too many times by southerners sporting the Confederate flag, has and never will be viable.

Sure, the Confederate flag supports southern states and their history, but in a highly negative light. We all know why the Confederacy broke off from the Union, because of state rights, significantly the legalization of slavery. The Confederacy lost the Civil War, and slaves were freed through Union President Abraham Lincoln’s issue of the Emancipation Proclamation.

So why, if the Confederate flag was flown during a time of racial and national division, would so many Southern Americans want to support such a symbol?

Some argue they want to fly it in honor of the Confederate soldiers who fought for their families and states during the Civil War. Although that is understandable, any solider should be honored for their sacrifice and bravery and there is a place for such recognition.

Civil War battlegrounds, for instance, would be a perfect place to fly the Confederate flag in honor of fallen soldiers. Perhaps even in a museum for American history where these soldiers could be recognized.

This resolution is unfulfilling to many people, where as our First Amendment rights give any and all Americans the right to freedom of speech, and while flying the Confederate flag is a form of that, it is still racially offensive.

In Lebanon County senior Christopher Shearer, of the Lebanon County Career and Technology Center, was sent home from school by the principal for wearing an offensive Confederate flag t-shirt that had the word “redneck” running across the top.

Fox43 covered the incident, and in an interview Shearer’s mother, Jennifer Shearer, spoke out, saying,

“I demanded to talk to the principal. He told me that the shirt that he was wearing was offensive and I immediately asked him, ‘offended who? Did Chris say something wrong? Did he offend someone? Was he mean? Was he rude?’ And he said ‘he offended me,’” Shearer said. “He mentioned recent events down south.”

Shearer claims that her son was not being offensive to anyone because he did not say anything outright, but clothing can speak just as loudly as words.

Based on recent shootings such as the ones in Ferguson, Missouri, there is constant debate over the usage of the Confederate flag, making it almost impossible to be ignorant about the stigma that it carries.

Yes, Shearer’s son has the right to wear the Confederate flag on clothing if he wanted to, but in school systems, obscene or offensive clothing is not tolerated, and a Confederate flag shirt falls into such category.

For there is no refuting the fact that the Confederate flag highlights a low point in American history, and it supports a time of division.

Flying the Confederate flag in modern day America is equivalent to flying the Nazi flag in modern day Germany.

Today African Americans are still fighting oppression and racial division in America. If America is trying to be a country of progression and acceptance, why support an outdated symbol that is offensive to so many Americans.

The Confederate flag is a symbol we should remember along with those who gave their lives for the cause that symbol represents, but do not disguise it as a symbol for “southern patriotism” when it is truly a symbol of racism.

Comments

  1. Alumni McDoogle

    The confederate breakup from the US was more about economic tariffs than slavery. And the emancipation proclamation didn’t free the slaves, it only freed the slaves in the rebelling states. All the slaves still in the Union were forced to slave away. The 14th amendment ended slavery in all US territory. So really, an argument could be made that the US flag is just as/if not more racist than the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia. But that would be too complicated to explain, lets just yell, “RACISM” and have that be our argument instead.

  2. History Major Alumni

    Absolutely not– the Confederacy did not secede because of tariffs. First, tariff rates in the late 1850s were at the lowest they had been since the turn of the 18th/19th Century. Second, the rates paid by Southern ports was a drop in the bucket as compared to Northern ports. For example, in 1859 New York City had $35 million in tariff expenses; New Orleans, the South’s largest port, had $2.1 million.

    Secondly, the Confederate secessionists *tell us* they’re seceding because of slavery. Explicitly.

    Third, the Emancipation Proclamation was never designed to free every slave, it was designed to target the Confederacy’s economic backbone– slavery. The Border States (MO, KY, MD, DE) had slaves, yes, but Lincoln was attempting other plans to try and free them– compensated emancipation, gradual emancipation, etc. Besides, it’s a classic attempt to deflect by saying the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t free all of the slaves– no one is saying it did.

    Fourth, it was the 13th Amendment, not the 14th, that abolished slavery in the USA.

    Fifth, the Confederate Battle Flag is not exclusive to the Army of Northern Virginia. Specifically, the design of the picture used with the story isn’t even the ANV’s design. Another attempt to deflect, besides the fact that the Confederate battle flag was eventually incorporated into the design of the Confederacy’s Second and Third National flags, meaning the battle flag is still part of the Confederacy as a whole, not just the Army of Northern Virginia.

    In conclusion, don’t talk if you have no idea what you’re talking about.