Society telling those who feel positively about the confederate flag that they do not have the right to display it, because it “is a symbol of racism and slavery”, is an issue throughout America that causes unwanted and unnecessary problems. This issue requires education on the topic, and the people of America to have an open and unbiased point of view. When most people are asked, “what does the Confederate flag represent to you? “, they answer with, “racism”, “slavery”, or something to do with the oppression of African Americans.
Their answers are simply opinions, so it is not right to say that they’re wrong. However, what many people fail to understand is that there are always two sides. There are people being denied basic rights, such as flying a confederate flag on their vehicle in a public place, simply because there are other people who are offended by it, sometimes even without reason. One question that not many people know the answer to is, ‘What did the Confederacy really stand for? “. To answer this question, is to answer with an opinion.
Symbols can be taken in many different ways, it simply depends on the person, and their beliefs. Some people in America believe the flag to be a symbol of racism, and slavery because of the confederate states being pro-slavery, however there are many Americans who believe just the opposite. Many people believe the flag to be a symbol of independence and the Confederate states exercising the state’s rights according to the tenth amendment of the Constitution, “… it is a flag of honor, designed by the confederacy as a banner representing state’s rights and still revered by the South”.
Southern U. S is no longer pro-slavery, however, they are still proud to fly the confederate flag because it is a part of their history and culture, and to them it symbolizes Independence and the freedom of the states. By telling the people, who love and take pride in the flag and what it means to them, that they cannot fly it because there are others who don’t have the same opinion as them, is telling them that their opinion is wrong. When thinking of what a symbol really is, it is never said that a symbol can represent one thing and one thing only, it is simply an interpretation of the meaning of an object, place, person, etc.
Giving the Confederate flag a label based off of the common view is telling all people with different opinions that theirs is wrong and they are not allowed to express it. A student at Rogers High School this past year, 2016, was reprimanded for displaying the confederate flag on their vehicle. They were told that if they did not remove it, they would have the privilege of parking at the school taken away, which they also payed for. The cause of this was simply because someone had complained, and said that they were offended by it. They claimed that to them, the flag was a “hate symbol” and a symbol of “slavery and racism”.
The person who displayed this “hate symbol” on their vehicle was never asked their opinion, or allowed to argue their side, they were simply told to remove it. A fact that should be brought up is, the U. S flag that we still have today flew over a slave nation for almost 90 years, yet people think of the confederate flag as the symbol of slavery and racism. People still view the U. S flag as the symbol of our great country, rather than the things it may have symbolized in the past, the same should be said for the Confederate Flag and the independence and potency of the Confederacy.
One reason why many people today believe that the flag represents slavery and racism is because of certain beliefs that the Confederate states were known for. The confederate states were known for their pro-slavery view, and because the flag represents the confederate states, the flag was given a misinterpreted meaning. Another reason people have this belief is because of the types of groups and communities that have adopted the confederate flag as their own, and given the flag a completely different meaning, “It is necessary to disclaim any connection of these flags to neo-nazis, red-necks, skin-heads nd the like.
These groups have adopted this flag and desecrated it by their acts”. Many people associate the Confederate Flag with groups like the KKK, or White Supremacists, or even murderers in cases like The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church killing, “The contentious nature of the Confederate flag, seen by most Americans as an offensive symbol of slavery and racism, became a hot political issue following the racially targeted church killing”.
Basing opinions off of groups that didn’t originally identify with the flag causes biased and wrongfully developed opinions, however still not wrong. People are also being denied their right to fly the flag because quite a bit of America is set on being “politically correct” and not offending anyone. Not many people realise that America is becoming this way, however some people do, such as Ben Jones a former actor, “He says the flag is being attacked in a ‘wave of political correctness’ that is vilifying southern culture”.
People are avoiding conflict by siding with the opinion that is the most “popular” instead of fighting for what they truly believe. To solve this problem, society needs to come together and make an effort to understand both opinions. Neither opinion is wrong or right, and neither opinion is going to diminish, people need to find a way to converse and come to a solution without creating conflict. Education on both sides of the argument is necessary in order for this to happen.
The people who disagree with the flag need to understand and respect the reasons behind the supporters of the flag, and the supporters of the flag need to understand and respect the adversaries reasons behind disliking the flag. It requires mutual effort from both sides of the conflict, and education on the topic with unbiased and open minds. As stated by an opponent of the flag, “I sat and I listened, all day long with great interest, and empathy, for what was said. I understand you loving and supporting your ‘heritage. ‘ But ‘grace’ means that you ought to also love and support mine.
It is not a one-way street. “‘. The Confederate Battle flag may mean many different things to many different people, but no opinion is more right than another. The rights of the supporters should be protected, just as the feelings and beliefs of the adversaries should be protected as well. The supporters need to understand that the flag does represent slavery and racism to some, such as the people whose ancestors were slaves during the time of the civil war, or those who simply feel grief and pain when they see the flag.
Also, the adversaries of the flag need to understand that the supporters should have the right to express their beliefs just as everyone else does, they have reasons as well, such as it is their culture, their history. They believe that the Confederate states fought for the rights of the state’s, and not allowing the federal government to dictate what they can and cannot do. Each side needs to support and empathize with the other in order to solve this issue.