An end to the raising of the Confederate flag

Luke Armstrong

Biloxi, Mississippi on a hot summer day. It was as if a drawl ripped through the sun-ripened air, which was swollen with the weight of the day. Sweltering heat rippled and luffed the horizon, and a colossal Confederate Flag, sitting atop a government building, waved in unison. A black family sits to my right. The tension became too great: I turned to them and asked what they thought of the symbol, and the government’s support of it. “It’s horrible, but that’s the South.”

A world away, a concert venue in Marin County swarms with teenagers. A buzz of intoxication simmers above the crowd, scintillating along with the ripples in the very same flag. Only this time, the symbol is being donned atop the cowboy hats, on baseball caps.

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To some extent, I get it. We are nearly 150 years removed from the horrors that the Confederacy represented. It makes sense that Marin teenagers are ignorant to the implications of the Flag.

The terrible reality is that there is a subculture at Redwood in which young men find it acceptable to don apparel featuring the Confederate Flag. I’ve recently become cognizant of some possible reasons or rationales for such behavior, including the following:

1. It represents Southern heritage and/or pride.

2. It represents the notion of conservative values (specifically states’ rights)

3. It represents a time during which the South underwent a time of great abundance and commercial success.

As for the first argument, there are plenty of means by which one may betoken their pride. To use a symbol such as the Confederate Flag follows simply idiotic logic. It would be as if one were to wear a swastika in order to convey German pride. The Confederate Flag and the swastika represent the darkest times in the history of their respective republics, so the notion of Southern pride should be extinguished as soon as the Flag is raised, be it on clothing or in conversation.

In reality, the Confederate Flag hearkens to a time of racism, treason, and institutionalized systemic hatred and bigotry. It is extraordinarily offensive — I would argue that it is one of the most deplorable, vile symbols that has ever been rendered by the human hand. The Confederate Flag has been used for decades as a hateful symbol — it has even been used by the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacy groups. It represents a time during which hundreds of thousands of individuals were beaten, whipped, raped, lynched, tortured, torn from their families, and enslaved. These things were done within the bounds of the law.

And now, almost 150 years after the abolition of the Confederacy, I find that the same racist mentalities are being replicated by today’s youth — again, fully within the bounds of the law.