Interesting debate whirling in my head this morning:
There are many is our country who believe this is a symbol of racism. There are many others who believe the Confederate flag is an historic symbol that is more representative of the cause for states’ rights. My argument here is that the meaning of a symbol changes according to how it is used in society:
Most in our country consider this to be a symbol of racism. When we see a swastika, we think “Nazi”. But the origins of the swastika would not seem to be based on any racist views. According to “About.com”, “Artifacts such as pottery and coins from ancient Troy show that the swastika was a commonly used symbol as far back as 1000 BCE” (http://history1900s.about.com/cs/swastika/a/swastikahistory.htm). Surely these were not made by ancient Nazis.
We relate the swastika to racism because our culture recognizes it’s use in Nazi Germany as socially significant. This brings us back to the Confederate flag. How is it being used in our society today and how has it been used in recent history? Do a Google image search for “rebel flag” and you will find a lot of images featuring slogans regarding Southern pride. At the same time, a search for “confederate flag kkk” will find images of the flag being used as a symbol of “hate”. Now this is not to say the presence of the Confederate flag at a Klan rally automatically makes the symbol one of racism. One could view this the following photo and conclude the KKK teach their children to keep and open mind when it comes to skin color:
But correlation doesn’t mean cause. It is the way the Confederate flag is used in Klan rallies that causes it be a symbol of hate in such a setting:
It would appear the flag’s history causes the flag to hold different meaning for different people. This is not to say the confederate flag is universally recognized as a symbol of “hate”. It’s application defines its meaning. To me, the symbol’s relation to white power and slavery overpower its potential use for Southern pride. That is to say, I am more opposed to slavery than I am proud to be Southern. It means more to me to not present a symbol that could be viewed as a racist symbol than it does to show I am proud to be from the South. But the meaning of this symbol isn’t up to me.
Now we come to a battle of who can be more stubborn. Is the symbol more important to racists or those with Southern pride? Is this symbol more emblematic of the cause for states’ rights or slavery?