I am not a scholar of American racial politics, but when there is something obvious to point out, I point it out. Today it was a lesson about hate:
The additional flag flying over the capital of South Carolina--known as the Confederate flag despite the best efforts of pedants--was not always there. I pointed out that this flag had gone away but came back in the 1950s and 1960s, that it was put on the flags of many southern states and was popularized deliberately as a symbol of opposition to the civil rights movement (my tweet of this has gone viral... well, viral for me: more than 160 RTs, 100 favorites so far).
Of course, then this leads to the question of: why would one oppose equal rights for African-Americans? Hmmmm. Why should those of a different color be denied the front of the bus, to be denied to eat at restaurants and stay at hotels of their choosing? To be denied the right to vote? The only answer, of course, is racism. Sure, it is easy to look back from 2015 to 1955 or 1965 and call those who opposed civil rights racists, but other than hate/fear of African Americans, what can motivate the denial of equal rights?
So, yes, it is pretty easy to see how the Confederate flag is a symbol of racism. Not just because it was a symbol of a government founded on the defense of slavery, but because its return was part of a process of attempting to fight the civil rights movement.
Whenever anyone contests this and argues that the Confederate flag is a part of southern heritage, I was wonder why they would want to venerate that part of the South's heritage that is defined by hate and racism. The answer, of course, is that they are racists denying that they are racists. Otherwise, they would pick other symbols of the South as defining their heritage.
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