This confederate flag controversy doesn’t seem to be going away, so I’m going to offer one more explanation as well as a proposal that might help everyone get along.
First off, let’s see the flag in question:
This actually is NOT the Flag of the Confederacy. This is actually the Confederate Navy Jack.
THIS is the actual confederate flag (or one of the versions, there were several):
So, we are actually arguing about the Navy Jack, not the confederate flag. So, I will refer to it as the Navy Jack from now on. Because that’s what it is.
Personally, I think the Navy Jack is a symbol of racism and oppression. And the creator of the flag, a man named William T. Thompson thinks so as well. In his own words, in 1863:
“As a people we are fighting to maintain the Heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race; a white flag would thus be emblematical of our cause,”
Maintain the Heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race. Call me crazy, but he didn’t seem to want to offer my ancestor’s a seat at the table.
Interestingly enough, these words can also be found, almost verbatim in the Cornerstone Address. The Address was delivered by Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens at the Athenaeum in Savannah, Georgia, on March 21, 1861. It’s interesting reading, but the portion pertinent to this conversation is here (bold added by me for emphasis):
Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.
Not only did the founders of the Confederate party believe that blacks were inferior and, therefore, should remain slaves, they were proud of being the first to admit it and to set up a government based on this fact.
These are the words of the creator of the flag and the government it represents. Both state blacks are inferior and should not be allowed to be free. I don’t think you can get much more racist than that.
I’m going to go out on a limb and give some of you the benefit of the doubt. Even though I’ve had some less than kind things said and done to me by proud wearers and displayers of the Navy Jack, I’ll let you use the line that has been trotted out more times than mustard at a hot dog stand,
“It’s Heritage, not hate.”
You’re right, the Navy Jack is part of the South’s heritage. But what exactly are your proud of? This isn’t meant to be a condemnation, I’m sincerely curious…where is the pride in:
- Declaring war against your own country (and losing)?
- Wanting to enslave an entire race of people indefinitely?
- Pitting families against each other?
- Dividing a nation? (Though if it weren’t for the Civil War West Virginia might not exist, so do with that what you will.)
What exactly are you proud of? That is an awful lot of hate. You’re going to need a helluva lot of heritage to counteract that. Sadly, there are plenty of people who want to continue to use the Navy Jack as a symbol of racism and intolerance. The Klan is one, but check this out, courtesy of Bipartisan Report:
From Business Insider: In Germany, the Confederate flag is not void of political context. European skinheads and neo-Nazi groups have adopted the Confederate flag and variations of it because of its historical context as a symbol of racism and white supremacy.
So, again…where is this heritage of which you should be proud?
But once more…I’ll make a concession. If you really REALLY want to insist that this flag is about your heritage and pride in where you came from, I have a modest proposal.
Take your flag back. Well, actually you’d be stealing it from its creators and wrestling it away from the groups mentioned above, but I digress.
Seriously. Officially claim the flag.
Yeah, daunting task. Okay, how about this:
You let everyone who thinks that flag is racist know which of you flying and displaying it are good decent human beings and which ones are the skinheads, klansmen, crazies, neo-nazis and we’ll call it square.
How could you do that? Well that’s up to you.
Or, you could just do the easy thing and put Navy Jack where it belongs…in the history books.
Go ahead, work it out and get back to me.