Every so often I examine some innocuous event in my life and am often rewarded with greater wisdom and insight, not only into myself, but in the world in which I live. Although I describe the recent event I’m about to discuss as “innocuous,” at the time it was very much perceived differently by mostly all that bore witness.
Quick research into the flag reveals that it is not the official flag of the Confederacy, but the battle flag of Northern Virginia (The rectangular version being from the Army of Tennessee). Also the design of the flag is suggestive of simply wanting to be crossed out of the Union ala putting an “X” through something to signify it being removed from something else, with the stars representing the thirteen original united colonies. Today the flag has come to be known as a symbol for the South being called the Rebel Flag, Dixie Flag, and Southern Cross and is displayed by many as simply a symbol of southern pride and heritage, not racism and hate.
The problem here is that although one can say they want a symbol to represent something, when it is used in a certain way, it often comes to represent something different to others. A good example of this is the Nazi’z use of the swastika. They were not the originators of the symbol, but it is now forever linked to their use of it. Something similar has now happened to the Rebel Flag partly due to the use of it by groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the Dixiecrats, but also due to becoming a representation of the Confederate South and what it stood for.
Even though the Rebel Flag was not the official standard of the CSA, it did appear as part of the official flag, and considering the negative presentation is has gotten from some and the tenants of the CSA, it’s really no wonder why it gets the reaction it does or why many think it to be a symbol of hate. That, however, should not automatically be translated into the motivations or intentions of those that display it. To put it bluntly, everyone that displays the Rebel Flag is not a racist in support of slavery.
I’ll go further and say that if you think that everyone that chooses to represent themselves with the Rebel Flag is a racist, then you might as well think the same of anyone displaying The Stars and Stripes. What do you think the Cheyenne village of Chief Black Kettle at Sand Creek Colorado think of the American Flag? Let’s also not forget that the Ku Klux Klan also waves the American Flag. It seems to me that a personal choice of flag is not an accurate indicator of personal motivations.