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Is the Confederate Flag inherently racist?

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Many people view the confederate flag as a symbol of racism and hatred - even to the point of wanting it to be banned. Its presence is prevalent in the South and southerners claim that it's an important part of their heritage. Thoughts?  

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Extremely so I mean think about it. the confederate states left the united states because they wanted to KEEP SLAVERY. That's fairly racist in my opinion. It represents decades upon decades of injustice to the minorities in america that were oppressed and marginalised . 

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Yeah, the Confederate flag has a history of symbolizing racism and inequality. The only reason the flag was made in the first place was to represent the Confederacy, a faction of the US who were mainly fighting for the discrimination and marginalization of blacks. No one should be proud that their heritage can be drawn back to the Confederacy. Thusly, no one should be proudly advertising a legacy of discrimination and oppression. 

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Well I'm not an american so I know a lot less about this situation and the personal feelings of people than somebody who is, but I would like to point out that the Union Jack (the UK flag) has represented slavery, dominion, oppression and a variety of murderous invasions in its time. Yet nowadays people walk around with it on cheap t-shirts and there's no campaign against it. In formal use, it still represents the union and therefore the people of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

It seems to me that flags represent a group of people, and that the views of a group of people are allowed to change. I mean I don't think that we should be going around trying to add land to the British Empire when my flag stands for that. And as another example, the English flag has come to be associated with far right anti-immigrant and racist groups within this country, so when I see people flying it nowadays (outside the context of major sporting events!) I actually find myself wondering if they support those views, which I do not.

I will admit that in the USA people are a lot more obsessed with flags and specifically their own flag than anywhere else in the world I have ever been, so maybe this flag thing IS a bigger deal for americans than anywhere else. However I do think that branding people who feel an identity with the confederate flag racist is most likely wrong (really, are all those people racist? I suspect not) and moreover somewhat unhelpful for community cohesion. Dragging up the sins of the fathers and making it clear that people feel they are also the sins of the sons - by telling them that the flag which represents them hundreds of years on is still a sign that they support slavery - surely just fuels societal division. To those people who do still show the confederate flag, if you ask them what it means they don't say 'slavery', they say that it's part of their identity as part of the 'South' US.

Just a point of view.

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Speaking as an American, we love our flag. I don't exactly understand why we love it so much but oh well. Something about nationalism and the red scare and the 1950's I would guess.

anyways, about the confederate flag. The one in question is not really the official CSA flag. (Red with a blue x and 13 stars. The most recent official flag is the stained banner.) The one I question is the battle flag. 

Over the years, the battle flag has become associated with "rednecks" and "whitetrash" culture.

I have mixed feelings about the CSA and the use of their flag, personally. On one hand it's the flag of a rebbellion group that lost a war. 600,000 or so died in the process of preventing that flag from becoming a real country. Historically, it's part of a pretty neat part of US history. On the other hand it's come to mean "white pride" in a modern context. 

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The American civil war was not only about slavery. Furthermore, the swastika is still used in multiple cultures despite its affiliation with the nazis so I think if the meaning of the flag has changed over time it shouldn't be an issue.

Perhaps southern states should vote on whether the flag should stay or not ? 

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I was born in and grew up in the American south, but don't really identify as very southern because neither of my parents or other extended family members really grew up there, and my ancestors hadn't yet arrived in the US when the US Civil War was going on.

This is a bit tricky. Sandwich makes great points about how a flag represents a group of people whose views are allowed to change. However, I think in this case it's a little different. While the states that seceded from the Union did so because they felt that the U.S. government at the time was encroaching on states' rights, it was because these states felt the issue of addressing whether or not slavery should be outlawed should be left for the individual state to decide, not for the government to decide. That's why I find it funny when people say "It's my heritage or identity." Are you proud of a flag that represents a dark period in the history of the US that in addition has been used by white supremacists to oppress and demonize blacks? There are many other things that can easily represent southern heritage, so why not pick one of those to represent you? The flag should certainly be in museums and discussed in history textbooks because it's really important to learn from our history so we don't repeat it, but it has no place on a public building because of its racist connotations.

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I think an important thing to note here is that it's not the flag or the flag's design itself that is racist, but rather, it is what the flag represents and the ideas and meanings people have attached to it that does. One of the reasons why the Confederate flag is associated with racism and slavery is due to when the flag has appeared; and you can't exactly control when the flag appears, thus controlling what the flag represents to the majority. The flag, to my knowledge, wasn't meant to represent an approval of slavery, racism, and whatnot when it was first designed, so I wouldn't exactly call the Confederate flag inherently racist, with the word "inherently" as my point of emphasis. The flag was meant to be, again, to my knowledge, a way of remembering the many who died during the Civil War, so it definitely didn't start off as being a symbol of racism. When we look at it from this viewpoint, it makes sense for some to identify strongly with this flag, for it represents their culture. It's a pity that the flag's use and its message have changed so drastically throughout the years. With that said, I, like Sandwich and a couple other participants in this thread, am not an American, so I may have less of a grasp on the knowledge pertaining to the issues presented here.

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I don't think that anything is inherently racist- even something like a swastika, but there certainly is a negative connotation with both those symbols, and for good reason! The confederate flag, whether you like it or not, was a symbol of rebellion against the United States, which is not something to be proud of, at least in my humble opinion. The reason there was even a confederacy was because the South feared Abraham Lincoln was going to take their slaves, whom were the biggest source of the South's money at the time. This is basic United States' history.

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9 hours ago, iiimee said:

I don't think that anything is inherently racist- even something like a swastika, but there certainly is a negative connotation with both those symbols, and for good reason! The confederate flag, whether you like it or not, was a symbol of rebellion against the United States, which is not something to be proud of, at least in my humble opinion. The reason there was even a confederacy was because the South feared Abraham Lincoln was going to take their slaves, whom were the biggest source of the South's money at the time. This is basic United States' history.

I suppose the argument is that what something symbolises is time dependent. The swastika was a symbol of peace, but is now a symbol associated with Neo-Nazi right wing groups, its significance has changed. The question is, should historical connotations preclude modern ones?

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17 minutes ago, Sandwich said:

I suppose the argument is that what something symbolises is time dependent. The swastika was a symbol of peace, but is now a symbol associated with Neo-Nazi right wing groups, its significance has changed. The question is, should historical connotations preclude modern ones?

I think that everyone has the right to see something with a different meaning. However, those who find peace in those symbols should also take the time to understand why somebody doesn't, and vice versa. You can't really justify the confederate flag without justifying rebellion because from the very beginning its meaning was that of rebellion. From a legal standpoint, I think the government shouldn't endorse any symbols that could possibly offend people of a certain race/sexuality/gender, but of course those who want to wave the flag around should be free to do so: After all, it's their property if they're waving it around. The government is in a way every citizen's property, so the government waving something around that could possibly encourage hate towards some of those citizens is uncalled for and wrong.

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