The Confederate Flag As a Racist Symbol
The Confederate Flag As
A Racist Symbolby Nicole NicholsWith all of the flap and rhetoric about heritage, history and the Confederate Flag it is understandable if people are just a little confused and more than a little chagrined over the whole issue.There are those who take to the streets and boldly accuse the anti-confederates of wanting to strip the South and the Southerners of their history and their culture. They wish us to believe that the banner in no way represents racism but does symbolize Southern Pride and heritage. Uh…huh!
Beware of those claiming not to be racist while engaging in behaviors that clearly defy thoughts of unity and embracing diversity. One must give pause to determine what the true, and sometimes hidden, agenda of these folks really is.
If we are truly to believe that Southerners wish to cleave to their “heritage,” then are we to assume that the legacies of slavery and oppression that are an integral part of that heritage are being held on to as well? Given the association of the Confederate Flag with the atrocities that brought about the Civil War and the post-war usage of the flag, one can only draw the logical conclusion that the flag, itself, is a symbol of extreme hate.
During the Civil War the flag was used primarily to give the soldiers a means by which to tell their ranks from those of the Union soldiers when in battle. This was done largely because their field of vision was often limited by smoke. But, the flag also symbolized the secession of the South from the nation. Since much of the disagreement which led to this secession centered around the enslavement of people as well as the inhumane doctrines that accompanied such enslavement, one must ask why this “legacy” is one to be fought for.
All of the Civil War stuff aside, the primary objection to the flying of the Confederate Flag comes from its post-war history. After the Civil War the Confederate flag was adopted by one of the most noted and feared extremist groups – the Ku Klux Klan. The flag could be seen hanging or draped at their clandestine meetings, carried with them to their cross-burnings and lynchings and rapidly became a symbol of the black hearts and white sheets of the marauding gangs that terrorized people of color in our, once again, United States. Though slavery was ended hatred and racism continued to grow and to fester. And, the inequalities and injustices of extreme racism were proliferated by those standing behind or beside the Confederate flag.
As more racist and extremist groups formed the flag seemed to be the unifying symbol and common thread between the groups and has been and is currently being used by the American Nazi Party, Racist Skinheads, Aryan Nations and a host of other groups. That the Confederate flag is an internationally recognized symbol of racism and bigotry is inarguable. Former ranking member of the Aryan Nations, Floyd Cochran tells us…
“Everywhere I went in the racist movement the confederate flag was flown. Often times we hear or have been told that the confederate flag has to do with heritage. That is does – white privilege; a heritage that enslaved people and exploited people all in the name of white supremacy and the confederacy. Today in the 21st century, racist organizations know that marching and waving the swastika isn’t cool. However, waving the confederate flag is still acceptable to many. In many ways the confederate flag has become the 21st century version of the swastika. The swastika didn’t start out as a racist symbol of evil. Its origins are as a symbol of peace and well-being. Over the years it became known and seen as a symbol of hate – like the confederate flag.”
“At Aryan Nations I was taught what the confederate flag represented:
* 13 stars represented the 13 lost tribes of white Israel.
* Red was purity of blood.
* White was the color of our skin.”
Why then are we asked to believe that it is a symbol of “heritage” and “culture” and that it should be allowed to remain proudly waving over the capitols of our state houses? That white privilege is being threatened in America is not in question – it is. That people are no longer willing to accept practices, rites and archaic ideologies simply because they have “always” been there is certainly a refreshing given. And because of these changes the precepts and tenets of the extremist groups, their members and their sympathizers are being exposed and threatened. Hence, a new tactic must be employed. It has been practiced and rehearsed and placed into a three-piece suit. It walks and talks like an upstanding and concerned citizen. It has been given the mantra “I’m not racist – I am a racialist.” It has been polished and spit-shined and taught to use “White Rights” as a smoke-screen. And, it found a rallying cause in the Confederate flag issue. Now it is selling the idea of white culture, white heritage and an endangered white race.
The Confederate flag is a symbol of extreme racism. It’s “cultural heritage” is one of oppression, slavery, bigotry and hatred. It symbolizes the night raids and burning crosses, the atrocious indignities placed upon all people of color and the murdering and plundering of a malignancy untethered. To endow such a symbol with qualities such as “pride,” is a feeble attempt to camouflage the ugliness of all that it stands for and should never be accepted by a citizenry as rich and diverse as ours.
Nicole Nichols is a freelance writer and educator in the Mid-West.