on why i hate the confederate flag

7 Aug

Hello.

It is time for me to take a quick break from only posting pretty pictures of my life and actually try to explain my opinion on a hot button topic in our country currently (which interestingly enough was only mentioned once in the first round of GOP debates, and was fielded to the only black candidate, Dr. Ben Carson…) – race equality. More specifically, it’s ties to the confederate flag.

To preface my stance on the confederate flag, let me first frame my initial argument that began my research into the issue. My friend and west point classmate Shalela was wearing a “#black lives matter” shirt in her free time while deployed downrange. A complaint email was filed on her and she was banned from expressing her opinion and wearing that shirt. Although, as a friend, I am filled with rage and hurt for her being told to not wear that shirt and being robbed of the little freedom she has to speak out – I can understand why the military has a problem with it on the installation. In the military we aren’t really allowed to show political favor or opinion, which is why I came to this thought process:

If my friend can’t wear her shirt, then why are people allowed to fly over-sized confederate flags from their trucks while they’re driving around on a military installation (a three or four times a day occurrence on my post)? And is it a matter of coincidence that I only started to notice these huge flags after the court decision in South Carolina to take down the confederate flag that was flying off of their capital building after 8 Americans were massacred? Regardless of the answer to my second question, I do believe that with the confederate flag being as politicized as it is now it doesn’t have any place on a military base.

IMG_1991

A confederate flying on a United States Military Base where I work

I made the mistake of asking one of my coworkers for a number/email address to the garrison commander so I could address my issue and feel like I was doing my part to create a safer and more equal post. He first asked what my complaint was, and I tried not to tell him, since I work with a pretty right leaning group. But I eventually did and we got into a heated debate. I hold the stance that that the confederate flag is treasonous and also racist. I know that a lot of flag wielders claim to disagree with the racist claim, but I definitely don’t think you can argue that flying the flag isn’t treasonous (was flown to fight against the Union etc and lost), but I want to explain my logic showing that the flag is racist.

So here we go! A man named Alexander Stephens was chosen as the Vice President of the Confederate States of America. In a famous speech he gave, now referred to as the “Cornerstone Speech,” which explained why they were seceding from the Union and the goals of their new constitution. He basically said their new government was “founded on the idea that blacks were inferior to whites” with such quotes as:

The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution — African slavery as it exists amongst us — the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution.

What’s that again about the Civil War not being about slavery? Oh? The proper place of slaves is what caused the secession? That’s what I thought.

You may ask, “but what about state’s rights?? That’s the real reason for the civil war – not slavery.” I will ask you to take a look at South Carolina’s Declaration of Secession. True, the whole first part of the speech references the Declaration of Independence and how the Union had gotten away from all of the states being free and independent. But after they finish explaining the importance of being free and independent, they go on to explain their reason why: slavery. And more specifically, the damage being done by the non-slave holding states having “encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.” Mississippi’s Declaration of Secession is along the same lines stating that their position is only slavery based, defining it as the “greatest material interest in the world” and going on to say: “none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun.” If that isn’t racist, I don’t know what is.

The only reasons deemed important enough to quantify for preaching about free and independent states are all slave based. That they count for 3/5ths of a person in numbers of citizens, that they can’t bring them up North, and that a President that aligns with the non-slave holding states was elected to the United States. There are no other mentions of agricultural differences or other reasons we are taught for the Civil War – just that the Union is becoming anti-slave and they don’t want to be part of it – that it was inconvenient and unfair to them.

I say all of this to point to the fact that the Civil War was fought because of the southern states wanted to keep slavery alive and legal. This is why when I see a Confederate Flag I assume the person driving in that car or flying that flag is racist.

a few trucks a mile down the street from where I live, looking particularly foolish

A few trucks a mile down the street from where I live, looking particularly foolish

Also, here is an interesting article about how people in South Carolina have been vying for the confederate Flag that hung over the State House since 1962. And here is an article titled “Rejection of Flag Exposes Larger Truths About the Confederacy” which includes some points I don’t have the energy to make, but is a good quick read.

If you really think flying a confederate flag means “I love my states rights! I love the south!” Then please just do us all a favor and fly your state flag. If you want to honor those who fought in the Civil War/you’re a legacy of some Civil War general think to yourself: do the children of Nazi soldiers fly Swastika flags? No, because that symbol is still so charged with hate and violence. Well the same still goes for the confederate flag. Fly your country’s flag instead, because at the end of the day they were all still American (or fly a flag with their face on it).

xoxo,
annie

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4 Responses to “on why i hate the confederate flag”

  1. Lela victoria August 8, 2015 at 12:27 am #

    I enjoyed reading this and definitely agree if a #BlackLivesMatter shirt can be banned and the confederate flag should be up for consideration as well. What is interesting is that BLM doesn’t not fall in the political realm at the moment … It’s just a slogan that sparked a movement

  2. Kimberly Cale August 8, 2015 at 5:09 am #

    At our home, we fly the American Flag! <3

  3. Stephanie August 9, 2015 at 2:55 pm #

    Not all who fly confederate flags are hateful or violent. Using your logic, I could then say all black people loot and burn at they did in Ferguson, MO and therefore, all black people are a symbol of hate and violence. Banning a black lives matter t-shirt is just as bad as banning a confederate flag. Who ultimately gets to decide what is right or wrong? Flags and t-shirts are not the problem, people are the problem. Taking a flag or t-shirt away is not going to solve the ultimate problem with humanity.

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