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The Confederate Flag in Modern America: Should It Stay or Should It Go?


Al Dente
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I saw something about this on Twitter a while back (right after the Charleston shooting and the flag issue came up). Wish I could find it to give the author credit (and to save me from typing this out!) but it went something like this:

1870: No flag
1880: No flag
1890: No flag
1900: No flag
1910: No flag
1920: No flag
1930: No flag
1940: No flag
1950: No flag
1960: Heritage!

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Bart, could you explain what that means? Never mind - I see now that the flag wasn't flown at the South Carolina State House until Apr 11, 1961 - I actually didn't know that, so thanks for posting (the flag went up 4 months before the Berlin Wall did, and stayed up almost 26 years after the wall was torn down).
 
[Let me say a few words as moderator. First, that I'm really proud of our members for tackling this controversial issue (at least so far! :)) with class, intellect, and reason. Now the hard part: The truth is that if George Zimmerman himself wanted to join this website and argue his position, I would treat him exactly equally to the way I treat everyone else - he would be presumed to be a member here in good standing until proven otherwise by his own actions on this website. The same would hold true for a Grand Dragon of the KKK or any other white supremacist organization. Do I feel "good" about that? Of course I don't, but regardless of what an individual has done *outside* of this community, it's their actions here, and only here, that dictate how they're moderated - each individual is individually responsible for the way they are moderated - by what they do here, and only by what they do here. Should a situation like that ever arise, I apologize in advance to everyone, and I also realize that if it does, it might mean losing a large percentage of our members. On April 15, 2005, when I said "Everyone Is Welcome Here," I meant it: I'm sometimes asked, berated, insulted, and chided about how I can allow people in the restaurant industry who have committed crimes to come onto this website and be treated just like everyone else - most recently on July 24, 2015 by someone who didn't have the fortitude to write me back when I sought clarification - now you have your answer.]
 
Okay, the moderation portion of this post is over; now, I'm speaking as a regular old member. I'm going to un-delete a post of mine that I deleted shortly after writing it, because it's how I really feel (I was out of town when I wrote it, and decided that I didn't have the proper time to defend my words should the need arise). Anyway, here is what I wrote:
 
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Don't indict the entire South because of the beliefs of some misguided conservatives (and I say "conservative" in the non-political meaning of the word, as in, "someone who is against change").
 
A few years ago, I was at the Richmond Art Gallery. I don't recall why, but I was standing at the front door, and there was a guard there - a gentleman of color. Down at the end of the walkway, on the sidewalk, was a protest line of people carrying confederate flags, and the typical signs that say, "Heritage, not Hate." I looked over at the guard, and our eyes met for a moment, and I could tell he was being torn apart.
 
I wonder if these conservatives (and again, I use the non-political word "conservative" here) who chant the "Heritage, not Hate" mantra realize that slavery is an inherent, non-negotiable part of southern heritage. 
 
Since then, I did some research, and found out that these protests are apparently something of a regular thing, and they happen right around the Richmond Art Gallery because (if I remember correctly) that is around Monument Avenue - the place where Richmond bravely erected a statue of Arthur Ashe holding a tennis racket as his weapon, and a book as his shield (*).
 
Matt is going away to college next week, and I've often thought about a return trip down there, by myself, and breaking that picket line. I wouldn't say anything to anyone, but quite honestly, I'm a little afraid of what I might do - this, before I get the hell beaten out of me, and most likely get arrested. But I can't forget the look on that museum security guard's face, and I feel as though I owe it to him to stand up to these protesters, protocol be damned.

(*) To put the magnitude of this into perspective, recall that Richmond was the capital of the Confederate States of America beginning May 30, 1861. Here is the complete list of monuments currently on Monument Avenue, along with the sculptor and date of unveiling:

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Bart, could you explain what that means? Never mind - I see now that the flag wasn't flown at the South Carolina State House until Apr 11, 1961 - I actually didn't know that, so thanks for posting (the flag went up 4 months before the Berlin Wall did, and stayed up almost 26 years after the wall was torn down). 

Don -

You already figured out what I was going for (or the Twitter writer was), but I was shocked to learn that the whole "history, heritage, legacy" thing about the Confederate Flag was total BS.  It was simply a reaction to the civil rights movement, and black people being allowed to vote, and use front door, and ride on a bus, etc, etc.  Think about that!  In the midst of this great era of (attempted) equality, the white power structure basically said, "well, we may have to let you into our schools and let you sit at the counter, and ride the bus, but we'll never let you forget that you are less than us (and in case you start to forget, we'll do a little lynching here, and a little cross burning there)"

The "heritage not hate" crowd would be hilarious if it wasn't so tragic. The heritage they're so proud of is hate.

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Don -

You already figured out what I was going for (or the Twitter writer was), but I was shocked to learn that the whole "history, heritage, legacy" thing about the Confederate Flag was total BS.  It was simply a reaction to the civil rights movement, and black people being allowed to vote, and use front door, and ride on a bus, etc, etc.  Think about that!  In the midst of this great era of (attempted) equality, the white power structure basically said, "well, we may have to let you into our schools and let you sit at the counter, and ride the bus, but we'll never let you forget that you are less than us (and in case you start to forget, we'll do a little lynching here, and a little cross burning there)"

The "heritage not hate" crowd would be hilarious if it wasn't so tragic. The heritage they're so proud of is hate.

I'm not trying to be a nanny; I'm genuinely interested in what you say here. Do you *know* this is why the flag went up, or do you suspect it is? Brown v. Board of Education was in 1954, so they would have had fully 7 years to stew (even Michel Richard doesn't slow-cook that long). If this is true, why would they have waited until 1961? The election of Kennedy? The convenient excuse of a 100th anniversary? (Yes, that link was absolutely a cheap pimp.) Both?

On the other hand, South Carolina had Strom Thurmond in the Senate (another cheap pimp) at the time. Granted (pun intended), this was a state issue, and not a federal one, but the majority mindset of South Carolina in 1961 must be considered suspect - Thurmond, for example, ran in 1948 on a segregationist platform, and 100 years before the flag was raised, South Carolina was the only state in the confederacy to have *unanimously* voted for secession (and if you read that link, you'll note the vote came less than two weeks after Lincoln was officially elected).

Hell, I went to both undergraduate and graduate school in South Carolina, and can personally attest to the racism I witnessed there - by today's standards, some of the things I saw were absolutely unbelievable.

Anyway, I don't want to go off on a tan gent (another bad pun, but what the hell, we're dealing with skin color), but am interested in knowing if your post is rooted in fact, or supposition (even if it's supposition, that doesn't make it wrong; it's just not quite as strong). And yes, that was a rhyming couplet and I probably should have had less coffee this morning.

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I don't *know* it know it, but I read that in a number of news articles that came out after the SC church shooting and the renewed interest in removing the flag.  A few different writers and columnists mentioned the confederate flag issue wasn't even a thing until the civil rights era.  I can't cite any of them now, and if I'm wrong, I'm happy to be corrected, but my relocation was that the columnists were making the point that the rise of the confederate flag was in response to civil rights.

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