Let us examine some of the arguments for and against the continued display of the Confederate battle flag.
This week, the Navy’s High Admiral created an order banning the installation of Confederate battle flag in any public place on naval installations, ships, aircraft or submarines.
The move follows a similar directive from the U.S. Marine Corps, which moved in April to ban the use of Confederate flags on all marine locations.
For many, this decision is not just an obvious decision, but a long delay. The red banner with its blue X was the symbol of the greatest uprising in American history, the rebellion of eleven states, which waged war against the Union and made America’s armed forces their enemy.
But for some, the Confederate warfare represents no rebellion, but rather, the idealized heritage of the American South. For those who support the use of the Confederate flag, displaying it on a navy or seafloor does not support the insurgency, but rather helps to assert some southern pride.
Yet, 150 years after the Civil War, as the United States continues to face its ugly, racist past, there is a renewed debate about how the American South should be proud. Let us examine some of the arguments for and against the continued display of the Confederate battle flag.
Confederate battle flag – A piece of history
A common defence of the use of the Confederate flag is that it refers to the history of the American South, although such a dialogue is hard to account for the worst aspects of that past world – slavery.
When the Southern States declared their independence from the Union in 1860, Southern political leaders insisted that secession was a matter of states’ rights and that each state would set its own rules rather than dictate the proposed Confederate States of America. By some federal government.
But you cannot address the rights of states without asking the question: What is the right of a state?
The question of slavery has been defined as the political and economic debate of the country, and there is no denying that the southern partition is a response to abolitionist movements throughout the country. The Confederacy was created to allow states to continue enslaving black people. Any attempt to deny these aims is a severe case of historical revisionism.
Is there anything else to be proud of in the South?
The ugly history of enslaving an entire race, on the one hand, has tons of pride in the American South. The South has given us leaders of the civil rights movement, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks and John Lewis.
The South has helped create space travel and, from its shore, has introduced more than 200 crew flights to the stars.
The South has provided us with the literature on Harper Lee and William Faulkner, fried chicken, barbecue, Coca-Cola, DisneyWorld and purely American music – jazz, blues, gospel, country and rock n ’roll, all from the contributions of Southern blacks and whites. Everything should be a source of pride.
But the Confederate battle flag shown does not represent the best of the American South. It is important to note that the Confederacy used a variety of flags during its short tenure, but the most recognizable red and blue banner was specifically used in the war against Union forces.
Today, waving that banner does not mean that you want to honour the true heritage of pride from the American South. The American reason for the states’ right to allow human beings to buy and sell is that you want to honour those who raise arms against the US military.
Our ancestors died for the flag
Some argue that Confederate warfare is a way to honour their ancestors who took up arms to defend their home state from invading northern troops. Organizations such as the United Daughters of the Confederacy were created to honour the immediate relatives who died in the civil war and were responsible for the installation of statues of Confederate leaders in the South.
For them, the Confederate Flag is a way to remember the efforts of their loved ones.
But the Confederate States of the United States never became a republic. After four years of civil war, the southern states reunited with the Union and established a truce that continues to this day.
While it is understandable to want to honour your grandfather’s memory, you must recognize that we have decided to live in a united country represented by the American flag. The Confederate flag, meanwhile, did not represent the rebel efforts of a few southern rebels.
The reality is that the meaning of symbols changes.
The evolution of a symbol
During Jim’s time, black Americans were frightened by the Lynchian epidemic, banned from voting rights and formally separated, forced into prosperous schools and neighbourhoods, and excluded from financial services that allowed them to build a better life.
At all times, Southern leaders who supported this system of inequality used the Confederate battle flag to signal the cause of permanent separation.
If so, it is impossible to argue that the Confederate flag is not in favour of racism because, more than a century later, it stands for it. Consider the swastika, another sign of hatred. The Nazis of Germany acquired the geometric form from an ancient Hindu tradition, in which the symbol symbolizes good fortune.
But once it was accepted as the official symbol of the Nazi regime, it was almost impossible to link Swastika to anything else.
Yes, it is still used as a good omen in some Eurasian cultures, but people cannot print a swastika today thinking that it will be associated with anything other than hate and genocide.
Such is the case with the Confederate war. Regardless of your affiliation with the American South, you cannot deny that many people see the Confederate flag and are reminded of human slavery, the secession of Jim Crow and the armed rebellion against the US military.
A great way to celebrate Southern pride is to find a new symbol that does not represent so much ugliness to many.