Mz.MiMi asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

What does the Confederate Flag mean?

Today I had a friend really go off about the fact that one kid was flying it from the back of his truck. She sees it as a sign of racism and believes that anyone who flies it still supports racism.

I'm thoroughly confused because I have known two people who wore shirts with the flag on it, and have still talked to me and associated with me as an equal (My friend & I are black btw).

One girl at my school say that it's a matter of freedom of speech. Another girl went as far as insisting that it's people like my friend who increase the separation between whites and blacks because of the way she thinks.

Can someone please help me understand?!

6 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    there were several flags of the Confederate States of America used during its existence from 1861 to 1865. since the end of the Civil War, personal and official use of Confederate flags, and of flags derived from these, has continued under some controversy.

    the state flags of Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee are all based on Confederate flags. the flag of North Carolina is based on the state's 1861 flag which dates back to the Confederacy and appears to be based on the first Confederate flag. the flag of Alabama and perhaps the flag of Florida also seem to be of Confederate inspiration, although this is disputed.

    Source(s): Fair & Balanced
  • 1 decade ago

    You ask a careful and thoughtful (in the literal sense of that word) question. First off just a technical point. What you mean by the "Confederate Flag" was a battle flag used by the Confederate army. The actual flag of the Confederacy was quite different. That aside, the problem you are grappling with comes from the flag meaning different things to different people. To some it is just a cool looking decoration and nothing more. To others it represents racism as it is associated with the slave-holding society of the pre-Civil War south. Now yes in the case of some people that is exactly what they LIKE about the flag. But that does not by any stretch of the imagination apply to everyone or even to most people who display that flag. To a much larger group of people, most of them but not all of them White southerners, it is simply a regional flag. It is a statement that the South, today, is a special place with its own culture and history and Southerners take some pride in that. As with all regions that does not mean that you are saying that every part of your culture and history is great or that everything that happened in the past was good. Myself, as an historian, I'd cut a lot of slack for those who wish to display that flag.

    Good question.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The Confederate Flag as we know it was actually the naval battle flag of the CSA.

    The flag isn't about racism, though the ties cannot be ignored. The flag is more a point of regional pride, which was the main cause of the Civil War's scope.

    Also I think there is a degree of "coolness", so to speak, in that flying or draping the flag somewhere is an act of rebellion against American society, similar to wearing Che Guevara t-shirts.

  • 1 decade ago

    Right off note that 'the stars & bars' isn't the red 'confederate' flag with the X extending from corner to corner.

    The actual 'stars & bars' looks a lot like the US flag except with 2 red stripes & one white stripe (i.e. the bars) and about a dozen stars in the blue field symbolizing the states that seceded and the 2 or 3 that weren't able to b/c Northern troops occupied them to keep them in the Union. Because the flag looked so much like the US flag from a distance, it had a tendency to cause dangerous confusion on the battlefield. So the Confederate government decided to change the flag.

    For the actual military units in the field, Confederate units were issued a perfectly square red flag with blue X on it. This was the 'battle flag' of the Confederacy. When the Confederate government decided to change their national flag, they took the battle flag design & slapped it on the upper left corner of a white rectangular flag. Unfortunately when the wind didn't blow this white flag looked like a surrender flag. So the Confederates added a single red bar going from top to bottom on the end opposite of the little battle flag design on the corner.

    As to what the 'battle flag' means, it was the flag issued to Confederate units that were fighting NOT for slavery but for "states' rights", i.e. being able to decide what's good for your state's population instead of being told by D.C. This fight still goes on today, in a sense, whenever folks argue that they "don't want Washington meddling in our local business", etc.

    Anyway, after the Civil War the Federals occupied the South to insure blacks got their newly granted rights. Unfortunately, the Federals used heavy-handed methods to do so. Looking at their burnt & devastated country, left to fend for themselves without government help but watching ex-slaves getting lots of help, several southerners began to rebel against all this. They wore white sheets to represent the ghosts of Confederate dead, flew the old "battle flag", & called themselves the Ku Klux Klan. Though they originally wanted to ensure justice for the defeated southerners, many of them turned to terror to the get the job done.

    The flag's meaning began to change from one of 'states rights' to organized terror. Sadly, heritage groups like The United Daughters of the Confederacy did nothing to stop the Klan from mis-using the flag. Nor did they intervene when Southern states began to use the flag as part of their state flags to show they would not enforce civil rights laws for blacks. As a result the flag came to be known as a symbol of hate.

    Nowadays, while there ARE white southerners who still use the flag as symbols of hate many whites are reclaiming the flag as a symbol of heritage. Thus why you'll occasionally see bumper stickers with the battle flag on it and the motto "Heritage, Not Hate". Still, after about 100 years of misuse by the Klan, its not surprising most Americans associate the flag with racism.

    Source(s): Designs of the Confederate flags: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confederate_flag
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  • ?
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    I think it still represents slavery, racsim ect..I only see that flag down south, and ususally red necks wear or have that flag.

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