Hate speech disguised as “Southern Pride?”
Is The Confederate Flag As Hateful As The Swastika?
Confederate flags flew as the South fought in defense of slavery, while Swastikas were the symbol of the Third Reich as they terrorized Jews in Germany. Do you think the flags are equal in the shameful bits of history they represent? Many Southerners (of many races) fly the flag in their yards, on their cars, or rock in on their clothing as a “symbol of their history.” But are they sending a racist message regardless of what they say their intention is? Peep this writer’s take on the flag as a hate symbol. Via WashingtonPost:
Hubert Wayne Cash, 65, a Navy veteran and retired phone company worker, spent an hour at his home Tuesday explaining why he allowed the recent erection of a giant Confederate battle flag in his wooded back yard north of Fredericksburg overlooking busy Interstate 95.
“I’ve got 50 ancestors who fought in the Civil War,” Cash said. “I honor their heritage.”
The gray-bearded Cash was gracious and thoughtful. I applaud his willingness to answer skeptical questions from an incorrigibly pro-Yankee news columnist.
But I still think Cash and his allies are wrong to display the flag. It’s the principal emblem today of a hateful cause — the protection of slavery — from which it cannot be divorced.
Germans don’t use Nazi swastika flags to honor their dead from World War II. The same logic applies to the Confederacy, even if the Nazis’ sins were worse than those of Jefferson Davis and company.
Of course, the United States can’t ban the Rebel banner outright, as German law prohibits the display of swastikas. The First Amendment protects freedom of speech.
But the public can and should try to shame the Confederacy fan club into scrapping the emblem of a wicked purpose and leaving it to be displayed only in museums and history books.
There are plenty of other ways to commemorate one’s Rebel ancestors. What about plaques, flowers or the Virginia state flag? The Confederacy was big on states’ rights.
Here’s my main complaint about the flaggers, which Cash did little to dispel: Like many in the “Southern heritage” movement, they aren’t just committed to honoring individual Rebel soldiers. They insist also on trying to whitewash the Confederacy by saying the Civil War was about something other than slavery.
Do you automatically assume those who fly the flag do so with racist intentions? Or…is there a way for Southerners to display the flag as a part of their heritage — separate from it’s association with slavery?