A hateful heritage

The Confederate flag depicts a shameful time in American history

by Bri Branscomb, Assistant Editor

The south is notorious for many things; beautiful countrysides, sweet iced tea, charming accents- and racism. Unfortunately, the bottom half of the US is known for it’s overwhelming prejudice towards people of color, historically seen from its insistence upon enforcing Jim Crow, to one of its states being the home of the still-active domestic terror group, the Ku Klux Klan.

Perhaps one of the earliest instances of southern racism was when 11 of the states seceded from the union to retain what they believed to be one of their unalienable rights: the prerogative to own slaves. Though the Confederacy ultimately lost the subsequent civil war, their battle flag has persisted in some communities as a symbol of southern pride and heritage.

The Confederate Flag isn’t something that should ever represent the South again. It’s not something to be proud of, and it certainly shouldn’t be something that is acceptable to wear, display, or have honor for. With holidays such as ‘Confederate Memorial Day’ and ‘Confederate History Month’ being actual state-sanctioned celebrations in our lovely home of Texas, it’s time to have a conversation about the difference between acknowledging history, and revering it.

Simply put, the Confederate Flag should be considered a hate symbol. Why? Because, at the time of its creation, it represented the belief that black people were not people, but a commodity to be traded, enslaved, and profited off of. That is what it meant, and that is what it will always mean. You can’t remove the history from it. By doing so, you are minimizing the centuries of pain endured by the African-American community, and deciding to look the other way from what was a horrific display of inhumanity.

The racism of the Confederate Flag doesn’t just stop in the 1800’s, however. Today, the pennant has been used by domestic-terrorists such as Charleston shooter Dylann Roof, who took the lives of nine African-Americans in the attempt to spark a race war. It has also become used extensively by many white supremacist groups that reside within our borders. While everyone who may adorn the flag or display it proudly is not necessarily a white supremacist, they are certainly aligning themselves with a dangerous demographic.

The Confederate flag has, is, and always will be something that is hateful and offensive. It stands for years of oppression and struggle for the African-American community, and the racist connotations it has in our country, and specifically our state, should not be ignored. It has become something dangerous and inflammatory that can send the message that racism of any kind is still acceptable. I understand that it is a part of history. I’m not suggesting that we erase it; it is something that should be taught. However, the lesson it sends should not be one of the ‘bravery’ of the Confederates, but of the monstrosity of slavery and the lengths to which some were willing to go to retain it. It should be a lesson we learn from, not one we admire. The Confederate flag is heritage, yes, but it is also hate, and not something that anyone should be proud of.