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Is the Confederate Flag "Racist"?

Updated on December 16, 2017

Exploiting Grief

Once again the Democrat Party is ginning up bogeymen to scare black Americans into thinking that white-robed Klansmen are about to lynch them as they’ve exploited the grief and sorrow of the family and friends of those associated with the victims of the massacre in Charleston, SC in order to affect their political ends.

On June 17, nine members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC were gunned down by Dylann Roof. The grieving had hardly begun before Democrats started cranking out their race-baiting operation to keep the race war alive. If a group of low lifes got together to intentionally trivialize the death of those nine people, they could not have hatched a more galling plot or have trumpeted a more trivial issue than the Confederate Flag issue to belittle the lives lost and the grief of those left behind.

Now that the news cycle has run its course on the Charleston massacre, the awfulness of the event is no longer the focal point of moral outrage. Now, the animus has been redirected at a flag, the so-called “Confederate Flag,” an emblem of mixed symbolism that comes to us from America’s past. That Flag means different things to different people: to some, it is a symbol of southern secession. To others, it is a symbol of the many southern lives lost during the Civil War. To some black Americans it is a symbol of slavery and demoralization; to other black Americans, it is a symbol of southern pride.

The fact is that what the Flag symbolizes is complex and does not allow a single interpretation of its meaning. Even though that's true, some Democrats (mostly white liberals) have decided to focus on one aspect of the Flag's meaning in order to marginalize the south for political purposes. At this moment, the conservative Christian south is a real problem for the Democrat Party. The vendetta against the Flag is just the kind of thing that American progressives use to divert American attention from their shenanigans of keeping the race war alive.

"So often as a society we deal with the symptoms without dealing with the disease and we think we've done something..." ~ Ben Carson
"So often as a society we deal with the symptoms without dealing with the disease and we think we've done something..." ~ Ben Carson | Source

Who is Telling You This?

I do not identify with the Confederate Flag, not in the least. To the best of my knowledge, I have never bought, flown, drawn, or even touched such a flag. I have always identified with the idea of national union and never with the Southern Cause. I do not accept the Southern apology, you will never likely hear me say that Lincoln was a “dictator” and the works of Thomas di Lorenzo are not on my future reading list. I have long been critical of the idea of “state’s rights” (states don’t have rights—they have powers; individuals have rights, many of which are legal claims against state power). In fact, honestly, my visceral response when I see the Confederate Flag waiving somewhere is “ignorance”; it reflects ignorant people who are so unaware that they don’t know how flying that flag makes them look.

So, I have neither a cultural nor an emotional attachment to that Flag, but my feeling about the Flag is only that: just a feeling, a feeling that I probably picked up from our culture. But I can, like I hope you can, separate my feelings from the facts and the facts tell me that a vendetta against southerners (or southern states) that fly that Flag can’t be taken seriously in the face of real racist acts that undermine social harmony.

Some Black Americans Identify with the so-called "Confederate Flag"

A Flag is a Flag is a Flag

Even though I have no attachments to the Confederate Flag, I also believe that trying to attach some animus of “racism” to the Flag with the goal of eradicating it from the public is the ultimate in trivial pursuits. This is just the kind of tactic that Democrat race baiters drag out to make guilt-ridden whites jump through a series of hoops to prove to the world that they're not racists. This is one of the favorite indoor sports of Democrats who aren’t very good at outdoor sports.

That flag is no more a symbol of racism than is Old Glory or a statue of George Washington. That flag, like Old Glory, is a checkered flag. But I don’t mean “checkered” like the one at NASCAR races; I mean it’s checkered with the good and the bad. For while Old Glory does stand for independence, freedom and liberty, it’s also the flag of the Trail of Tears, Dred Scott, Japanese internment, and the Tuskegee Experiments.

But we honor Old Glory anyway because of the good that it stands for and that any flag represents both good and bad because it represents, ultimately us, and our history. And many southerners value the so-called Confederate Flag because of the good that it stands for. Those who say that all that it stands for (or its dominant association) is racism have been listening to white liberals beat the drums of racial animosity. They have heard it said that the Confederate Flag is the flag of southern slave holders and the flag of the Ku Klux Klan. But we simply cannot be held hostage to evil men who use otherwise benign symbols to advance their causes. Consider the words of historian John Coski, author of The Confederate Battle Flag: America's Most Embattled Emblem:

It’s equally true that we should not allow and cannot, historically or ethically, to be fair allow the Ku Klux Klan to define the flag. Some people would have us say “the Klan uses that flag; that’s all that I need to know.” No, it’s not all you need to know. Why should we allow a justifiably marginalized group to define a symbol that means so many different things to so many different people?...It is equally invalid to say that the Klan has defined the flag for all times.

But if your well-meaning liberal friends are intent on joining the witch hunt anyway, if they are going to get on the warpath against racism by the burning of flags, they should know that the head waters of symbolic racism are not in the Confederate Flag; they are in the Stars and Stripes. In fact, there is no end to the imagined symbols of racism that you can pursue once a person gets started. What’s next? Statues of George Washington, James Madison, or Thomas Jefferson? George Mason was a major southern slaveholder. Will we have to rename George Mason University? Will all vestiges of Thomas Jefferson on government property need to be dismantled and hauled off to some museum?

Like attacking the Washington Redskins' mascot, liberal Democrats want black Americans to keep swinging at the blades of windmills, attacking things that don’t matter. Going after the Confederate Flag is a testimony as to just how stupid Democrats think black Americans are: they think they can wave a flag, and yell “racism” and that blacks will cower in fear. That way they can continue the real policies that hurt black Americans such as abortion, and the welfare policies that keep single black mothers chained to the Democrat plantation. Today, black Americans should be wary of efforts to arouse the racial animus within them by lashing out at symbols which have no basis in substance. Today, there are blacks that recognize this. For example, Ben Carson has said, “So often as a society we deal with the symptoms without dealing with the disease and we think we’ve done something...”

I was glad to see that that the victims of the Charleston massacre have kept the voices of hatred at bay. Their response was mostly a response to forgive and they are a model to all of us of forgiveness even in the midst of such sorrow and unfairness.

Of course, the state of South Carolina should not forgive Dylann Roof. They should try him and execute him for the crimes he's committed and the suffering he's caused.

What Do You Think?

Do you think the Confederate Flag should be removed from all government buildings?

See results

© 2015 William R Bowen Jr


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    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      Brad Masters 

      3 years ago from Orange County California BSIT BSL JD

      The Civil War wasn't about slavery, it was about economics. Both the North and the South had slaves, but the South needed the slaves to work their crops. The North was using machines to build their products more and more.

      We allow the Mexican Flag to be flown in the United States, and they like the South also lost a war.

    • Bibowen profile imageAUTHOR

      William R Bowen Jr 

      3 years ago

      Anything that is "southern" and "historical" can be labeled as "racist" or "supportive of slavery" and if that is true, then there is no southern symbol, be it flags and monuments, that are not subject to the whitewashing (curious expression, I know) that is currently under way. But, as I have read some of the more positive expressions by black Americans toward the South and the so-called "Confederate Flag," I believe that a unity can be maintained without physically deconstructing the South of its heritage. And that is that we recognize these symbols for what they are: a mixture of the good and the bad, but are none-the-less, long-standing testimonies to who we are as a people and what we have been through together. Thank you for your insights and for reading.

    • profile image 

      3 years ago from upstate, NY

      " That flag is no more a symbol of racism than is Old Glory or a statue of George Washington. That flag, like Old Glory, is a checkered flag. But I don’t mean “checkered” like the one at NASCAR races; I mean it’s checkered with the good and the bad. For while Old Glory does stand for independence, freedom and liberty, it’s also the flag of the Trail of Tears, Dred Scott, Japanese internment, and the Tuskegee Experiments."

      The logic here is airtight, it's hard to disagree with! Where do you draw the line, I read that they're now digging up confederate graves and taking down monuments to confederate hero's. Sounds like there real aim is to attack southerners, although they're going to need them in the next election.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I must say i loved the info in vedio and i liked the artical i am 44 years old my family never owned slaves ever as far back as we can go i grew up in a world that the first in fluance of the Confederate flag was on atop of a car named general lee we love it from then on and many times i saw the flag on top on peoples flag poles and my thought went beck to the show and i was always thinking alot of people sure liked that show then in middle school i obtained a new meaning of the Confederate flag and it was misleading to what i thought of it and agine in high school i found out more about it and now today from a video here you have here on this artical just in this video i a better understanding of this flag and what it stands for i never held this flag with as much respect as i do now just from the man in the video i held it up as pride tradition the southern past i come from and now i hold it up for the men who tried to give us the south they stood up for yes i saw the flag flown to represent rasicit meanings and i tell you i saw it flown a lot more for good than bad im from Pulaski Tennesse so i really have saw it flow to represent the bad but it was only a few the most flew the American flag i do not teach preach or talk rasicit its just not what my mom tought me the southern states that flew the Confederate flag was a great place to be to live anywhere else was just not the same i lived in a few other states over my life time and it never compared to home the flag is not the thing that makes itself rasicit it is the person holding it that makes it that way just like the persons going after it .I by far am not dumb nor have a limited thinking problem i fly the Confederate flag with pride not only that i liked it its history and knowing what i know now ill fly it for the passed it was made for and anyone that has a tie to the Confederate battle flag we cant change history we cant make people like everyone we cant make eveyone happy so the only thing we can do is respect what others believe so if you fly a flag of your choice ill respect it as long as its not terrorist driven if i dont approve of your flag then ill deal with it but i want ask you to pull it down so i expect the same in return we live in America where many flags are flown from many places we need to learn to respect others and their beliefs thats the best we can do

    • Bibowen profile imageAUTHOR

      William R Bowen Jr 

      3 years ago

      Yes. Blacks (like whites) are divided on the issue. I'm sure you viewed the video that I posted. I saw another video of a young black man being interviewed about the flag. He said that the people that were making an issue about the southern flag in the face of tragedy in Charleston are people that want to be entertained rather than solve America's problems. I'm with him. Finally, it would be refreshing if the Democrat Party would frankly discuss the history of racism and own up to their dominant role in it throughout history up to the present instead of pointing their fingers at flags, statues, and other symbols. You have to admit; it's pretty insulting. They have a lot to answer for, yet they continue to point the fingers at others. Thank you for reading and your thoughtful comments.

    • Bibowen profile imageAUTHOR

      William R Bowen Jr 

      3 years ago

      Anyone can hijack a symbol. The Klan regularly employs the American flag at its rallies. You're forgetting to mention that most of those states that were opposing the advancement of civil rights (and co-opting the Battle Flag) were under Democrat control. The fact is that flag has a rich history, only a small part of it has to do with slavery. And, no, if you study history, racism and slavery have little to do with each other. The fact that Americans enslaved black men and women is hardly a footnote to the peculiar institution throughout history.

    • adagio4639 profile image

      Larry Allen Brown 

      3 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

      "Going after the Confederate Flag is a testimony as to just how stupid Democrats think black Americans are:"

      Has it occurred to you that most of those Democrats, ARE black Americans? Or do you think that Blacks aren't themselves...Democrats that find that flag offensive? Take a good look at who wants the flag removed. The Democrats you're talking about happen to be black as well as white.

    • adagio4639 profile image

      Larry Allen Brown 

      3 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

      ""Is the Confederate Flag "Racist"?"

      That depends on if you think slavery is racist. It was run up flag poles in the Southern States in the early 60's as a protest to the Civil Rights Movement. Would that qualify as a symbol of White Supremacy and is White Supremacy racist?

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 

      3 years ago from Missouri

      This was a well thought out, well spoken article. You speak from the voice of reason and I commend you for that. The Confederate Flag is a symbol, nothing more; a symbol which means different things to different people. I do feel it has no place in government but if a private citizen wishes to own it, that freedom is guaranteed under law. We are a country of individuals who need to allow one another to be individuals, yet come together for the common good of all. Sometimes, I think that gets forgotten or ignored.

    • Bibowen profile imageAUTHOR

      William R Bowen Jr 

      3 years ago

      R Talloni, thank you for reading and your thoughtful comments.

    • RTalloni profile image


      3 years ago from the short journey

      Excellent food for thought. I saw a news blip that contained an exchange between a young black man and a young white man. The white man seemed to be trying to explain something but the thing that caught my ear was that the black man said, "Nothing has changed." The media cut the video after that comment. Really? Nothing has changed? Oh me. That there is still racial hatred in some corners of both the north and south (the world over) is a sad thing and there is more work to do, but Carson is right, and so are you. The criminal that killed the people in Charleston should be dealt with to the full extent of the law, first as justice for the victims and their families, and also as an example to anyone else who might think of doing such a thing.


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