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The Lookout | September 20, 2017

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Confederate flag: heritage or hate?

Confederate flag: heritage or hate?
hookl
  • On August 25, 2017

By Haneen Hammad
Staff Writer

A peaceful rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12 that protested the removal of a Confederate statue quickly became a tragic terror incident when a white male violently rammed his car into the crowd. The incident killed one and injured multiple people.

Whether or not there is “blame on both sides,” as our president claims, the aftermath left the state of South Carolina flying flags to mourn the tragic event. Among the flags was a symbol: a Confederate flag.

According to a 2011 Pew Research Center poll, roughly one in 10 Americans feels positively when they see the Confederate flag. The same study showed that 30 percent of Americans reported a negative reaction to seeing the flag on display.

The poll also showed that African-Americans, Democrats and the highly educated are more likely to perceive the flag negatively.

Some argue the flag is a symbol of slavery and injustice, while others insist it is purely a symbol of patriotism and heritage for the south.

But what does that actually mean?

Can you simply embrace the flag solely for the history and heritage of the south without promoting racism?

I think not. In my opinion, those who are celebrating the heritage of the south are embracing the history that came with it, therefore promoting slavery and racial injustice.

My point is, there is no way someone can hold the flag without including the bad and ugly that comes with it.

Comments

  1. Richard M Turcotte

    Stupid incendiary headline. This is a complex issue with many ways to percieve the problem and solve it. A college journal should approach this sensitive topic with more maturity.

  2. Lynn Scott

    For many the Confederate Flag is incendiary and it seems naive not to understand that. If there are so many ways to solve the problem, I do wonder why it hasn’t been!

  3. Ceteris Paribus

    “In my opinion, those who are celebrating the heritage of the south are embracing the history that came with it, therefore promoting slavery and racial injustice.” So that means that no history — anywhere in the world — can be celebrated? Because all history, of all peoples everywhere, has something that could be considered immoral. History can be remembered without be celebrated. This is a complex issue, as Richard M Turcotte has stated, and the conflation of “celebration” with memory is dangerous.

  4. Lynn Scott

    Over generalizations are not helpful here. I agree that history is different from celebration, but what history we remember and celebrate, and what history we remember but don’t celebrate is important and reflects our values as individuals and as a nation. Personally, I celebrate the history of struggles for justice that have led to a more just society and better living conditions. I celebrate the Civil Rights struggle that ended legal segregation and opened up more opportunities for people of color; I celebrate the Women’s Movement that opened up various professions for women. I celebrate a labor movement that gave workers a forty hour work week and a living wage. And on. Personally, I don’t celebrate the lost cause of the Civil War. It’s worth thinking about what you wish to celebrate and why.

  5. Ceteris Paribus

    Lynn Scott, I completely agree with all the things in our history that you say you celebrate. “And on.” However, I can’t and don’t want to make anyone think or act like me by force in any sense. You say that these things reflect our values as individuals and as a nation — I think that the most important thing to celebrate is that we CAN be individuals in this nation. That’s how I feel, you know, “personally,” and I can think this way without endorsing slavery or any kind of injustice from the past. By the author of this article saying that they reject “celebrating the heritage of the south,” they’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater — their sloppy tone and word choice has implied that the heritage of the South, things like the blues, amazing authors, food, and culture should not be celebrated because of ties to injustice. This is why I was stating that no culture could be celebrated by this implied criteria.

  6. Lynn Scott

    Yes, agreed. A lot of good things have from the south including the blues and some very great writers. The confederate flag, however, carries very specific meanings and I think most southerners would reject it as a broad symbol of southern culture. If you look at the history of the confederate flag and of statues commemorating the confederacy and its leaders– many were raised in the 20th century at times of white resistance to civil rights struggles. They were meant to be a warning to blacks to stay in their place. Even Robert E. Lee did not want to have such commemorations. He said,

    “I think it wiser,” the retired military leader wrote about a proposed Gettysburg memorial in 1869, “…not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion the feelings engendered.” http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/robert-e-lee-opposed-confederate-monuments/

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