The Confederate Flag Promotes White Supremacy Not Southern Heritage

Riya Bathina, Staff Writer

The United States’ history of racism and discrimination is still something our society is working to correct, but one symbol from the 1800s has still found its way into our lives: the Confederate flag. The Confederate flag originated from the Civil War and was a prominent battle symbol for the South. However. even today many southern and midwestern states have the Confederate flag outside houses, churches, and even schools. Although the history behind the Confederate flag may be necessary to consider, the trauma and message it sends out is something to contemplate due to its severity. The Confederate flag has no place in the United States.

The racist history of the Confederate flag is abundant, and the symbol itself was used to protect the institution of slavery. It is now used to promote beliefs rooted in white supremacy. The sightings of this flag in the South can have people questioning and even fearing for their safety. However, many southerners justify their flag being put up as a way for them to convey their regional identity. A group named ‘The Virginia Flaggers’ has petitioned for a Confederate flag to be hung up outside of Richmond, and one of its prominent member’s arguments is connected to history itself. Barry Isenhour states, “Southern soldiers fought for the family and the state. We are tired of people saying they did something wrong. They were freedom-loving Americans who stood up to the tyranny of the North. They seceded from the U.S. government, not from the American idea.” Although the South is commendable in their efforts to fight for their beliefs, it is also noted that they not only stood up against ‘the tyranny of the North, but the banning of slavery and racism. Racism is something you cannot avoid when discussing the Civil War, and although several causes exist when talking about the Civil War, slavery is the primary one. You can display your heritage and origin in ways that do not promote white supremacy and foster an unwelcoming environment. White southerner’s delusional idealization of the Confederate flag erases a substantial and traumatizing part of history associated with that symbol.

During one of the most significant movements in 2020, The Black Lives Matter protest, a man was seen tying a Confederate flag near protesters. This seemingly simple act does not convey pride in heritage but rather an intimidation tactic to make those around him feel unsafe. If Southerners feel proud that, at one point, their part of the country was brave enough to fight for what was right, why are those same Southerners tying up a flag carrying years of hateful prejudice to scare those exercising their right to fight for what is right? Encouraging flying the Confederate Flag is like promoting white supremacy and the decades of hurt and oppression the United States has caused black people and other minorities. Microaggressions, hate crimes, and even murders are committed just because certain minority groups exist, and the beliefs that white supremacists hold encourage this violence and discrimination.

The Confederate Flag is not something to take lightly and see as a reminder of Southern heritage but should be seen as something that can spark more hate and racism in a country with enough animosity towards minority groups.