The Confederate Flag Is a Racist Symbol. Let’s Not Pretend It’s Anything Different.

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Fia Cooper

The American flag should be flown with pride, but the Confederate flag should be seen for what it is: a racist symbol.

Olivia Aragon, Staff Reporter

On Dec. 20, 1860, the South seceded from the Union, creating what would soon be known as the Confederacy. After this secession, the Civil War began on April 12, 1861, when the Confederates attacked Union soldiers at Fort Sumter.

This led to the loss of over 620,000 Americans, and a flag that in the years to come would be flown by a mob as it rioted at the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

What the Confederate flag represents still seems highly contested. According to a poll that was conducted in 2020, 44 percent of people thought that the flag was a symbol of Southern pride, 36 percent said that it was racist, and the final 20 percent felt indifferent about the subject

I am not against anyone having pride in the geographic location of where they are from, but I do take issue with them using a flag that has, from its inception, represented racist ideology to display that pride. 

Furthermore, this claim that the Confederate flag has to do with Southern pride is often propagated by the fact that it is everywhere in the South. But that claim completely ignores the real reason why the flag is flown and that it ties to a racist history.

The Confederate flag that is paraded today isn’t the actual Confederate flag. 

Instead, it is what was known as the Confederate battle flag. In 1948, the battle flag was used and popularized by the Dixiecrat Party, a political segregationist group based in the South that used the flag as a symbol against the federal government in resistance to desegregation. In addition to this, the Klu Klux Klan in the 1930s and 1940s also widely used the flag. 

To defend their use of the flag, many Southerners might argue that it represents their heritage. However, those who make this argument are wrong because if they knew their history, they would realize that they are praising the wrong flag. Also, if they did know the history of the Confederate battle flag, then they would know it was used by the KKK and the Dixiecrat Party in order to promote racist laws and legislation like segregation. 

It’s critically important for everyone, especially in the South, to be educated on the history of this flag and the groups that used it because that paints the true picture of what it represents.

To further emphasize the fact that the Confederate flag is a symbol of racism, it was used by the South as a way to establish its own country in order to keep slavery. That was the only goal when forming themselves as separate from the Union.

Another argument that is often used to defend the use of the Confederate flag is that it symbolizes the states’ rights. This is misrepresentative because it wasn’t just about states’ rights, it was about the Confederacy separating from the Union so that they could keep slavery. If slavery wasn’t in danger of becoming illegal, the Civil War as we know it wouldn’t exist. 

If a state wanted to leave the U.S. because they were not allowed to break federal law, claiming that federal regulation infringes on their state rights, their reason to leave wouldn’t be justified.

Similarly, the South was arguing that it was a state’s right to allow people to own other human beings and, within that right, it was also OK for the owner of the human beings to abuse, murder, and rape their slaves. They were not doing a noble thing — this is also not justifiable.

Additionally, when the South seceded from the Union, they were no longer states. Instead, they were their own country, meaning they weren’t fighting for states’ rights anymore, they were fighting to be their own country so that they could continue to have slaves. 

The point is, no matter which way you look at it or which Confederate flags you use, it’s racist. I will not argue that it should be banned, because of freedom of speech, but it is spitting on history to pretend that it is something that it is not. 

It is not noble to fight for slavery. It is not southern pride to use a flag that represents a racist political agenda. The Confederacy is not a heritage to be proud of. It is not patriotic to fly another country’s flag. 

At the end of the day, it is important for the Confederate flag to be recognized for what it is: racist.