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Are Confederate Flags a symbol of racism?


I have always thought the confederate flag was meant to offend people. But I thought I was wrong because so many people have them.

13 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The answers show just how little people understand their own history. I'll endeavor to answer this question, because many clearly need to learn the truth. Whether they listen to it or not is another matter.

    First, there are a number of Confederate flags. During its short history, the C.S.A. had three different national flags. However, what provokes the most discussion (and is exclusive in the answers given to this question, weak though they are), is the Confederate battle flag--the square flag, with a blue, starred "x" in the center of a red field.

    As to the matter of the war, it should be first noted that it was not a "civil war". A civil war is when both factions are fighting for control of the same government. This was not the case. The Southern people were fighting for the right to self-government, and the North was fighting against the right to self-government. The person who stated that the South "took up arms against their government" is clearly mistaken. The Southern army fought for its government, just as the Northern army fought due to the dictates of its government.

    To suggest that the war was fought over slavery ignores several facts. Lincoln made it clear in his inaugural address that he would not only not interfere with slavery, but would Constitutionally protect it forever (with the passage of the original 13th Amendment, being debated at that time in Congress). He wanted the Southern States to return to the Union for one reason: tariffs. Prior to the war, the Southern States paid 90% of the revenue to the federal government, through high tariff rates. They left because Lincoln's party, the Republicans, wanted to increase the tariff rates. Keep in mind that South Carolina threatened to nullify such an increase previously, during the Jackson administration. Lincoln made it clear that his interest was in high tariff rates, which directly and disproportionally impacted the Southern States, due to their import/export ratio. Lincoln understood that the Southern ports, with their lower tariff rates, would be favored by England and other countries for obvious reasons--it would cost them less to sell their goods at such ports. In fact, when Lincoln was advised to let the Southern States leave the Union, his reply was: "But what about my tariff?" And the Southern States were right. After they left the Union, the Northern States increased the tariff rates dramatically.

    I wonder if those who suggest that the Southern States' secession was "treason" would say the same thing about Massachusetts--which threatened secession on six separate occasions. Or what would they think of the New England States, not only discussing secession (during the Hartford Convention), but also a separate peace with England during the War of 1812? That is quite a bit different, given the fact that the White House had been burned to the ground, and the U.S. was literally at war with a foreign power. After the Battle of New Orleans, and the fact that the war was won in the South, they abandoned their talks of secession. Massachusetts didn't, however. And yet it was Massachusetts that supplied the first troops to invade the South.

    Now, let's look at the facts. The original 13 colonies entered the constitutional republic of republics, called the United States, voluntarily. They delegated only certain powers to the federal government, and never gave up their right to secede. The right to secede was recognized by Jefferson and Madison, and never questioned until the South did it.

    If there was no invasion of the Southern States, there would have been no war. Prior to the war, and prior to Lincoln becoming president, the C.S.A. sent emissaries to Washington to discuss a peaceful resolution to the issue. They were rebuffed and lied to by the Lincoln administration. War came only when there was no choice but to fight. How many would think it ok for a foreign power to occupy a fort overlooking a major American city? Or, how many would suggest that it's somehow "treason" to take up arms and fight to preserve your freedom, and the very existence of your country?

    Look at what has happened since the war, and you will see which side was right. The federal government has continued to grow larger and more powerful, and the States are little more than conquered territories.

    The Confederate flags have plenty of historical significance. And the Confederate battle flag is a symbol of Southern pride and heritage. If you're not Southern, you probably can't understand it. However, when Southern people hear "Dixie" playing, and see the battle flag waving in the wind, it brings about great pride. This is what the battle flag is all about.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Actually, it's funny you ask. I grew up in New York but spent 2 years living down south (Like "Confederate" down south).

    Until I moved to the south, I felt the Confederate flag was a symbol or racism and many people down south agree. It's quite a dispute among people in the south.

    However, I've since come to understand that the flag doesn't stand for the Confederacy, racism, or anything like that to MOST people there. It's a symbol of southern pride.

    Sure, there are many racists and many people find the flag offensive but by assuming that it's meant to offend, we're being just as biased as they are. It's all about understanding their perspective and what it means to them.

    Do I think they should still get rid of it? Yes

    Do I understand why they don't? Yes

  • 1 decade ago

    A confederate flag is an ambiguous symbol. Maybe it merely means you are a proud son of the South, on the other hand it may mean that you think owning slaves was a sacred right worth fighting and dying for. Since slaves were black this is probably racist.

    Is it possible to own slaves and not be a racist? I guess it could be so if you were black and you owned some white slaves and some black slaves. Even in a non-racist context it wasn't nice.

    A confederate flag is not a good way to win friends and influence people who are black. It may even in some contexts get you hurt.

  • ?
    Lv 4
    5 years ago

    it fairly is a historic image, merely like the German flag with a swastika is historic, merely like the yank flags, previous and recent are historic symbols. human beings extrapolate too many stuff into racism, oppression, and so on.......this is no longer that FLAGS that have been to blame for any of that, this is the individuals. i do no longer see something different than a historic flag, whether unique or newly made.... human beings fairly need to recover from the final, do not forget it so it would not get repeated, yet pass away it contained in the previous and stay contained in the present. No physique, a minimum of contained in the u . s ., is a slave right this moment except you communicate working all the life for purely adequate to stay to tell the tale being a slave or being oppressed.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I think they are. The Southerners who display them say that the Confederate flag stems from a celebration of their heritage. That whole Cofederate and Civil War heritage stems from hatred. It was a society of pro-slavery, hence the enslavement of blacks. If they want to celebrate Southern roots, surely they can find something other than a Confederate flag.

  • Demi
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    I consider it a flag of an enemy of the United States of America. If the Confederacy had won your civil war, it would represent an entirely different country. I do not consider it an American flag at all.

    But I'm a damn Norwegian immigrant. What do I know? Oh, that's right. I know what flag I saluted when I joined the U.S. Army after I moved here, and it wasn't the Confederate flag.

  • ?
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Well what did the Confederate army stand for and there's your answer.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    No, especially not here in the south, a lot of white people still fly them and a lot of them aren't racist.

    But a lot of people do take it as a sign of racism.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    i'm from the north. I see it as a symbol of anti-americanism. Those people took up arms against their American brothers and did not want to be Americans anymore. That's treason, and it cost hundreds of thousands of lives. My town has a statue of a Union Soldier even today.

  • HC
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    I don't know whether they are, but in general, that isn't the intention of the person displaying it.

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