The Confederate Flag – Racism or Southern Heritage?
NATIONAL – In the wake of the Charleston South Carolina Church Massacre that claimed the lives of 9 people last Wednesday, controversy over the confederate flag and southern heritage has all but completely eclipsed coverage of grieving families.
RNRF spoke to a few local residents to see if they believe the flag should remain the focus of debate in the aftermath of the horrific attack.
But before we begin, let’s take a moment to remember those whose lives were taken so violently in a place where love and kindness is supposed to overpower evil and hatred.
Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45, Cynthia Hurd, 54, Tywanza Sanders, 26, Myra Thompson, 59, Ethel Lee Lance, 70, Rev. Daniel L. Simmons, 74, Rev. Depayne Middleton-Doctor, 49, and Susie Jackson, 87.
Despite expressions of forgiveness by victim’s families, directed at self-proclaimed white supremacist Dylann Roof, politicians, certain media outlets and some retail stores have begun anti-confederate flag campaign. They claim the flag represents racism and that it’s time for it to disappear from state capitals and other public places. That belief hasn’t gone over well with southerners who say the flag is about “Southern Heritage” not racism.
Common belief among those who oppose the confederate flag is that the civil war was about slavery and therefore the flag represents slavery. The fact is, the Civil war was primarily about states’ rights vs government rule; which is exactly what our founding fathers fought for less than a hundred years prior to the civil war. Of course there were other factors, including slavery, but many also forget that even during the civil war, northerners also owned slaves. In addition, many confederate soldiers did not fight for to protect slavery; some even disagreed with the act altogether.
We spoke to a few of our viewers and presented the question; “Do you think the confederate flag represents racism?”
“I’ve got mixed emotions… Unfortunately, in the world we live in people use it out of context. Originally I found it to be about heritage, but with the racism and the media fueling society I feel like a lot of it’s meaning has changed. With anything in life, there are always bad apples though” said Brian Jacobs.
Many, like Jacobs’ believe media hype takes advantage of tragic incidents to propagate ideological belief or fan the flames of an already hypersensitive atmosphere. For example, when people hear of a shark attack, they automatically think of the movie Jaws and blame a Great White Shark. When a white cop shoots and kills a black suspect, whether they are guilty or not, “all cops” become the enemy of society.
Shana C. says “I don’t fly the flag and I’m from the north, but does removing it end racism?” She goes on to say, “I think it’s going to cause more strife between blacks and whites because it’s part of southern heritage and they are not all racists.”
We found the following comments from a recent facebook thread, regarding the elimination of the confederate flag:
Sig Delgado says, “The very idea of the confederacy was racist to it’s core. To say otherwise is a lie.”
Stevie Johns says in response to a previous comment, “You rednecks only rock the flag cause its been around…if the flags gone I’m sure you can find something else to put across your back window of your truck…that flag means nothing…you wanna represent something…Fly an American flag.”
Some say we are going down a path of censorship and if we ban a flag because if offends some of us, then we are opening a Pandora’s Box of political correctness and fascist rule.
What say you Hernando? Should the flag be banned? Does it represent racism? Do you think problem will get worse now that a symbol of the south has been deemed racist?
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