The Confederate Flag’s Heritage of Hate

In the wake of the horrible shooting in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday evening there is a growing chorus calling for the removal of the Confederate from the statehouse grounds in Columbia. A petition is now circulating, which includes 215,000 signatures calling for the flag’s removal and State Representative, Norman Brannon, a Republican announced that he will introduce a bill to make it a reality.

Beyond South Carolina, Mitt Romney called for its removal. In an interview Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts offered the tired response that this is a local issue that the citizens of South Carolina need to decide. True enough, but that does not give anyone – least of all a sitting governor – the right to push the issue aside. This is the time for good people to be counted. We are past the point of trying to assuage constituencies for political reasons with vague platitudes.

Consider Lindsey Graham’s response.

But this is part of who we are. The flag represents, to some people, a civil war and that was the symbol of one side. To others, it’s a racist symbol and it’s been used by people in a racist way.

Notice the way in which the flag is understood by Graham. It’s purely a symbol that has been used in ways that we would consider racist. It implies that these ‘ways’ are the exception to the rule. They are aberrations. We are free to decide to pick and choose which side we want to identify with: heritage or hate

We run the risk of reducing Dylan Roof’s close identification with the Confederate flag as just another example of its connection to racial violence. Even after nine people were brutally murdered in a church by an individual who went out of his way to articulate a deeply disturbing racial manifesto that justified the killings, many believe that it is still possible to flip the gestalt switch on the meaning of the Confederate flag.

Roof’s fondness for the Confederate flag is no accident. He follows a long line of Americans stretching back into the 1950s who utilized the flag as a symbol, not just of hate, but as a form of active resistance against full black citizenship. Though we may prefer to think about these heinous murders as extreme they follow from the same ideology and hate for African Americans. Roof’s identification with the flag sits comfortably among photographs of ordinary white Americans who resisted every step of the civil rights movement from the admission of blacks into the University of Mississippi to the march from Selma to Montgomery and beyond.

It’s meaning is well understood for anyone who chooses to look and face history.

The fact that individuals may have different interpretations of the Confederate flag is irrelevant in this situation. We are talking about a Confederate flag on the grounds of a state capital – a state that chose to fly a Confederate flag atop its dome beginning in the early 1960s in defiance of integration and that now flies it on a 30ft pole next to a Confederate memorial.

Now more than ever it must be removed if the elected leaders of the state of South Carolina have any pretension of being rightfully seen as representing all of its citizens. In the name of justice and democracy: TEAR IT DOWN NOW!

Note: Yesterday I shared some of my understanding of the Confederate flag on NPR’s “On the Point.”

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45 comments… add one
  • London John Jun 24, 2015 @ 2:08

    Here in Britain the newspapers have been informing their readers about the significance of the CBF in the US, although I suspect some of the journalists have only just hastily read up on it themselves. But there has been no mention at all of the display of the CBF by British racists, who have never been in doubt as to what it means.
    Interesting that Roof had a Rhodesian flag. Since the defeat of Rhodesia I haven’t seen or heard of that flag being used by British racists, although during the conflict “Support Rhodesia” bumper stickers were a common racist emblem. I wonder how Roof made the connection?

  • MarkS Jun 22, 2015 @ 11:47

    According to Roof, he conducted a Google search of black on white criminal violence, and he was appalled to discover “page after page” of horrific instances of black on white criminal violence. For their part, the CoCC, one of the internet sources he consulted, unapologetically asserts that the data they offer comes directly from reliable sources, including the DoJ. I would think that if black on white criminal violence has reached a crisis level, it would be far better to discuss the matter, rather than angrily dismiss it as racist propaganda.

    PS- On the very day of the shooting, in the very same city, two African-American men, Trenton Barnes and Lorenzo Young, were convicted of brutally murdering Kelly Hunnewell, a white mother of four. It is one of many such stories reported by the CoCC, and it is, quite obviously, not falsified propaganda.

    • Rob in CT Jun 23, 2015 @ 11:56

      I would think that if black on white criminal violence has reached a crisis level, it would be far better to discuss the matter, rather than angrily dismiss it as racist propaganda.

      But it has not. The rate of violent crime in the USA has been falling for over 20 years (since a peak in the early 90s). Therefore, any claim that violence (including subcategories of violence – white on white, black on white, etc) has “reached a crisis level” should be viewed with extreme skepticism. Given the agenda of groups like the CoCC, it’s not hard to figure out what’s going on: selectively reporting to make it look like “race war” is upon us, when in fact nothing of the sort is true.

      Additionally, there is no ideology out there that says black Americans are better than white Americans and that’s fine to treat whites accordingly. Whereas, unfortunately, the opposite is true (it was far more true in the past than the present, thankfully, but it’s not entirely gone).

      This young man killed 9 people and couldn’t have been clearer that he did it because he’s a hardcore racist.

      [I post this mostly for others, rather than as a reply to a person I’m almost certain is beyond reaching. Given that other, very very similar posts have popped up, it seems this is the talking point of the “race realist” crowd]

      • MarkS Jun 23, 2015 @ 13:10

        “But it has not. The rate of violent crime in the USA has been falling for over 20 years (since a peak in the early 90s). Therefore, any claim that violence (including subcategories of violence – white on white, black on white, etc) has “reached a crisis level” should be viewed with extreme skepticism. ”

        Yes it has. And it is interesting you mention a peak in the early 90’s and selective reporting, because this crisis has been going far longer than that. To that end, have you ever heard of the Wichita Massacre? Because of selective reporting, you probably have not:

        Ever hear of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom? Because of selective reporting, you have not:

        Ever hear of Autumn Pasquale? Because of selective reporting, you have not:

        Tell me, should these victims be ” extremely skeptical” about the a crisis of interracial violence?

        The Confederate Flag is not even window dressing relative to this issue, and to suggest that it was somehow the cause of Roof’s malevolent act patently absurd. The above is what Roof claimed motivated him, not, for goodness sake, a piece of cloth.

        • Rob in CT Jun 24, 2015 @ 4:54

          I had you pegged exactly right. Sadly.

        • Rob in CT Jun 24, 2015 @ 5:18

          Once again in the interest of informing others:

          Statistics, not anecdotes.

          One of particular interest is that the homicide rate for white Americans is basically on par with the homicide rates of our peer nations (2.5/100k as against, say 2/100k for Finland). There is no epidemic of black on white violent crime, except in the nightmares/fantasies of people who fear/long for a race war. Which is to say, bigots like Roof.

          Non-white groups, particularly black Americans, both deal out and suffer higher rates of violence. Most crimes are committed by people you know or live near you. Communities with very high rates of unemployment and poverty – concentrated disfunction, if you will – have crazy high crime rates, whereas other communities do not. White, black, hispanic or other.

          Go on, Mark, tell us all about how “the blacks” are uniquely violent and how we should all fear them. Then, for bonus points, explain how your views differ from those of Dylann Roof.

          • Jimmy Dick Jun 24, 2015 @ 8:59

            Nice job, Rob it CT!

  • Leo Jun 22, 2015 @ 9:56

    The debate whether to remove the Confederate battle flag from South Carolina’s state capitol, touched off by last week’s Charleston church shooting, has arrived in Mississippi.

  • Patrick Jennings Jun 22, 2015 @ 8:40

    You can not eliminate the Confederate flag as a piece of history, however, there is no genuine reason to flaunt it. My kin served in the Civil War, all for the south…and they lost. I can not find a better way to put it. They lost that war. My grandfather once told me that his grandfather (Coffee’s Missouri Cavalry) was ashamed for fighting against his country.

    To the best of my knowledge the county seat of every southern state has a statue remembering the Confederate. Most former Confederate capitol’s do as well. I have no problem with this. The people fought, in their time, using the moral compass of their era, and they should be remembered for the role they played in shaping US history – for bad and good. This should be enough.

    Put the flag in a museum. Put the flag in the hands of those too ignorant or aware and let them display their lack of education while supporting their 1st Amendment Rights. Put it in a closet, but most importantly make it what it really is…a battle color of a failed insurrection.

  • Ken Noe Jun 22, 2015 @ 7:46

    WIS-TV Columbia reports that Gov. Haley is holding a news conference today (Monday) at 3 PM. “A source close to the situation says Gov. Nikki Haley is formulating a plan with State House leaders to remove the Confederate Flag from the State House grounds.”

  • Julian Jun 21, 2015 @ 19:38

    Dylann’s verbal and written perceptions are quite directly stated: he felt that authorities were not doing enough about interracial violence – how do we deal with/refute/address/listen to his perceptions – is it a failure of media reporting or education?? is it an issue of lack of jobs and economic opportunities ?? – do we corrall or control the debate too much? should we release more accurate statistics?

    the Trayvon Martin case was clearly a trigger and this fairly ordinary youth seemed to read the case in a manner very different to public intellectuals – as open and shut and as the death as justifiable

    Also do heritage and flag debates mask how similar he is to other youth who are radicalised via the internet into Islamic terrorism or anti-feminist terrorism as in Canada – or anti Semitic terrorism as in the Paris supermarket or a cocktail of several issues as with Brevers – and set out to enact lone wolf events – what is this process and why do young men (generally more than women) feel victimised to the extent that they need to correct these perceived injustices by mass murder

    shortcutting to the flag and neo-confederate movements makes it all so much easier to deal with – and avoids looking at the ease with which individuals feel alienated from mainstream debate and concerns and also avoids looking at the fallout of the many public debates around race in the US throughout the first six months of 2015 –

    • Patrick Young Jun 22, 2015 @ 4:03

      Jill, Roof says the “awakening” that led him to violence was reading the website of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a racist organization descended from the White Citizens Council that organized resistance to desegregation in the South. It was this website, not any personal encounter with interracial violence, which prompted his radicalization. That website is filled with racist propaganda.

      The incident of interracial violence which triggered Roof to go to the Council of Conservative Citizens web site was the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman.

      So, pretty much everything you wrote is nonsense designed to distract attention from an incident of terrorism.

      • Julian Jun 22, 2015 @ 6:41

        Oh Patrick I nearly put my foot in it and write that I did say it was a terrorist act and that the most informative way to “read” Dylann’s actions was via their parallels to other terrorist actions in which a young man or men opens fire on groups he wishes to remove from society ranging from feminists to Moslems, not via the specificities of Southern history and memory which shunts debates into old dead ends of oppositional vitriol. However I then realised it was another poster you were addressing.

        But you raise a crucial point about the volatility of any move to prevent or pre-empt future such incidents. Dylann drew his beliefs about a disastrous tsunami of racial violence being ignored by authorities from a mediated source that was propagandistic and biased, yet the fears that this misinformation raised in Dylann were tangible enough for him to take direct action, it was real or true enough for him to validate taking lives as an “answer”. How do we address the intangibilities of [albeit delusional] perceptions and irrational world views – they may be repellent or mendacious to most observers but the resultant deaths are real. How do we encourage people to question and rethink tenacious driving fictions

        Historically society seems in the last few decades to be paralysed in the face of the power of a motivated individual intending to commit violence under the influence of an aberrant idee fixe – and decades of programs and projects to prevent such incidents as Dylann’s shooting in Charleston seem to have had the opposite effect

    • Andy Hall Jun 22, 2015 @ 6:07

      Roof was not concerned with “interracial violence” — he was fixated on a twisted, hyperbolic narrative of out-of-control black-on-white violence promoted by groups like the Council of Conservative Citizens and websites like World Net Daily and Occidental Dissent. (He cites the CofCC specifically.) As Josh Marshall noted earlier today, it’s a 21st century version of Birth of a Nation, gross and vulgar propaganda calculated not to inform, but to enrage and motivate people to support a specific cause — in this case, white supremacy or white nationalism, as reflected in Roof’s affinity for the antebellum South and white regimes in South Africa and Rhodesia.

      You are right about one thing, that the current focus on Roof and the Confederate flag are distracting from recognition of the underlying ideology — and its proponents — that inspired him and set him on a course to act. At this point Roof appears to be what we’ve come to recognize, at least in case of Islamist terrorism, as a “self-radicalized” actor who may have had minimal (or no) coordination with other groups, but nonetheless is clearly and explicitly inspired by their rhetoric in carving out his own path toward murder.

  • Jill Jun 21, 2015 @ 13:16

    Some people are starting to emphasize the point that Dylan Roof explicitly stated (in his manifesto) that the reason he perpetrated this terrible deed was his anger over interracial violent crime. Given this fact, wouldn’t a sensible response to this tragedy include an inquiry into the phenomena of interracial violence, rather than focusing on something like the Confederate Flag, which was, at most, peripheral to the issue?

  • Sylvia Jun 21, 2015 @ 7:50

    You will NEVER take Mississippi’s flag down – all this is doing is stirring up more hatred and division. I f we don’t learn to respect each other’s rights, this country is doomed. We must learn to get along, not keep stirring up hate as this anti-flag is doing. Leave the states to choose their own flag – they have that right without some group swarming in to dictate to them.

    • MSB Jun 21, 2015 @ 8:28

      How about we start respecting each other’s rights by not blowing away 9 people collected in a church for Bible study in the name of “taking our country back” from our fellow citizens?

    • James Harrigan Jun 21, 2015 @ 9:24

      The fact that a majority of MS voters want to keep the flag simply proves that a majority of MS voters are racists who want to keep rubbing the faces of their black neighbors in this potent symbol of white supremacy. A democratic majority in favor of racism is not absolved of criticism.

    • John Betts Jun 21, 2015 @ 11:10

      Never say “never,” Sylvia. What may seem impossible today can change very quickly as public opinion changes.

    • Andy Hall Jun 21, 2015 @ 14:09

      Leave the states to choose their own flag – they have that right without some group swarming in to dictate to them.

      That’s funny, considering that the first thing heritage advocates usually do is ask H. K. Edgerton to bring his peripatetic performance art to town.

  • John Betts Jun 21, 2015 @ 7:11

    I think some of your comments here are a bit much, Kevin, but I do agree that it is far past time to remove the CBF from the Capitol grounds in South Carolina AND from the Mississippi state flag as another poster remarked. It belongs in a museum or some other historical venue that’s solely for that purpose and NOT given state endorsement. I find it quite telling that the CBF in South Carolina wasn’t lowered while the USA and state flags were. Very insulting and speaks volumes about where time period the legislators are stuck in.

  • Patrick Young Jun 21, 2015 @ 6:01

    Dylann Roof did not just use the Confederate Battle Flag as a badass symbol of rebellion, he connected it on his website to an ideology that draws heavily from the Southern Nationalist and Neo-Confederate organizations that most vocally defend the flying of the CBF. He used the flag as a symbol of the notion of a deep Southern white connectedness that Northerners, immigrants, and blacks cannot participate in, and of a militance that he rallies other white men around.

    • Andy Hall Jun 21, 2015 @ 8:39

      That’s exactly right. His “manifesto” might be described as a condensed, Readers Digest-style version of the ideas and beliefs spouted for years by people like Gordon Baum, Brad Griffin and J. Michael Hill and their organizations. A week ago Roof could’ve joined any Confederate heritage group or online community, espousing the same ideology he described in his manifesto, and been welcomed with open arms. Roof used the Confederate Flag for the same reason that the League of the South does — because he sees the antebellum South as a model to emulate.

  • MSB Jun 21, 2015 @ 2:18

    Seconded, Kevin. Thanks.

  • Richard Scott Farris Jun 20, 2015 @ 20:36

    Kevin Levin you and your fellow treacherous treasonous traitors [to the real America–our original Constitutional Democratic Republic of Republics (Sovereign States) of 1789/USA to 1861-65/CSA] will LOSE your misguided crusade to destroy our Confederate States Flags*–because you are simply WRONG! (*FYI our CSA Flags–like the Flag of Great Britain, et al–are based on the Christian emblem of “The [Greek] Cross of Saint Andrew”–an original Apostle of Jesus Christ and the Patron Saint of Scotland.)

    You are just another quantity-instead-of-quality uninformed, misinformed, misguided would-be promoter of False Propaganda (i.e. the northern yankee MYTHS of American History, Heritage, and Tradition). Damn your lies to hell from whence they come, and I Pray upon you the maximum sentence in purgatory allowed by God under Heaven for your lies and crimes against Truth, Justice, and The American Way! (Unless of course you publicly recant and repent of your evil sins against our American South before you die. You should start by reading and committing to your Heart, Mind, & Soul the TRUE facts revealed via the best-selling book “The South Was Right!” [1994, Ron & Don Kennedy] and any and all other definitive books by the renowned Kennedy brothers–such as “Myths of American Slavery”, et al.)

    It’s self-evident that you and your fellow fools, liars, frauds, & hypocrites desperately need authentic Education re American Truth to counteract all the despicable indoctrination you have so obviously been brainwashed with for many years and many unthinking generations. Otherwise you and your miserable ilk remain nothing but a pathetic loser gang of ignorant biased anti-South bigots, prejudiced belligerent defiant immature racist children. And y’all are therefore a Shame & Disgrace, a Scandal, and a dangerous Tragedy before God and Man.

    Your Core Problem is that you worship man-made government instead of God–particularly do y’all worship your illegitimate corrupt incompetent “United States federal government”! Do you worship God or government?? Are you a mortal sinner idolater or a true Worshipper of our Creator Savior God???

    Btw, I joined the SCV (Sons of Confederate Veterans) in 1979 at the age of 22. I am 50% Arab (Lebanese), 8% Native American “Indian” (Choctaw, Cherokee), and 42% “White” (Northern-Western European: Scot-Irish, English, Welsh, French, German). The genealogical “experts” tell us that “Native Americans” have been here 8,000 to 12,000 years and were originally ASIAN!…And if there’s one shred of Honesty & Fairness in you, you must very well surely know that at least 10% (60,000) of our patriotic, noble & heroic Confederate States soldiers were black (free & slave)…

    The point being–contrary to your damnable False Narratives and False Stereotypes–European-Americans, African-Americans, Native-Americans, Asian-Americans, Jewish-Americans & Arab-Americans from 1861 to 1865 for 4 long years of unprecedented “total war” rightly and proudly served our incomparable Confederate States Army! (This wonderful and impressive Reality is a matter of indisputable official CSA AND USA Records.)

    By God, Guns, and Guts we proud Southerners know where true Liberty, Freedom, and American Independence was founded, fostered, won, and now preserved–and it’s NOT your fraudulent 100% slaveship-owning Boston puritan cult Un-patriots*! (*Aka Liberal “Progressives”, Socialists, Communists, Fascists, Nazis.)

    DEO VINDICE (Latin, meaning “God Vindicates”, and we Authentic Americans [“un-reconstructed”/non-indoctrinated-non-brainwashed Southerner Americans] expect God to vindicate our glorious CSA–NOT your unconstitutional/illegal immoral corrupt incompetent federal government-dominated involuntary Yankee Union! Indeed it was our truly voluntary Confederation of States–the CSA–which remains the genuine Repository of our Constitutional Democratic Republic of Republics [Sovereign States] as envisioned & intended by our Founding Fathers & Framers.)

    R. Scott Farris, Hattiesburg, Mississippi–“The Hub City of Southern Miss!”

    • Kevin Levin Jun 21, 2015 @ 2:19

      Thank you for posting this in multiple places and I do hope you feel better as a result.

    • Jimmy Dick Jun 21, 2015 @ 4:15

      He already vindicated the Union in 1865.

      Best selling? Renowned? So is Charmin toilet paper. That is also the best use of the Kennedy’s books.

      Hey, if you want to believe in what respiratory air technicians write instead of what professional historians write, that’s your choice, but why do you ignore all the facts?

    • Ken Noe Jun 21, 2015 @ 5:47

      William Porcher Miles, who first designed what we know as the Battle Flag, explicitly stated that it was not a St. Andrew’s Cross, and had no religious connotations whatsoever.

    • Andy Hall Jun 21, 2015 @ 11:15

      Clearly your “Education re American Truth” didn’t include rules of capitalization.

    • Allen Edelstein Jun 21, 2015 @ 16:16

      It must be so satisfying to know God is on your side. My only problem is so many leaders on all sides believe God is on their side. Hitler did. Whose side is God on? In a universe so incomprehensibly vast that even our planet doesn’t come close to qualifying as even a grain of sand I don’t know. I’m not as smart as you are.

    • John Betts Jun 21, 2015 @ 19:36

      Well Mr. Farris, that’s your view of the flag. Yet when I look at comments by folks who designed various Confederate flags or used them flag during the War and after, I find something very different. For example William T. Thompson, designer of the so-called “Stainless Banner” or 2nd National Confederate Flag (which incorporated the CBF) is quoted as follows:

      “As a people we are fighting to maintain the Heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race; a white flag would thus be emblematical of our cause… we still think the battle flag on a pure white field would be more appropriate and handsome. Such a flag would be a suitable emblem of our young confederacy, and sustained by the brave hearts and strong arms of the south, it would soon take rank among the proudest ensigns of the nations, and be hailed by the civilized world as THE WHITE MAN’S FLAG… As a national emblem it is significant of our higher cause the cause of a superior race, and a higher civilization contending against ignorance, infidelity and barbarism.”

      See pp. 415-417 of “Our Flag: Origin and Progress of the Flag of the United States of America” by George Henry Preble (1872, Albany: Joel Munsell). URL –

  • Leo Jun 20, 2015 @ 20:27

    I enjoy your blog very much and find it both informative and thought-provoking. Your blog and Andy’s Dead Confederates are my two favorites. I have learned a lot of things about the Civil War from both of these blogs that were never covered in my school years, and I am inspired to dig deeper in American Civil War history.

    I hope I am not out of line; but since you deal mainly with Civil War memory, I have a question for you and your readers.

    How can someone honor or acknowledge a Confederate ancestor while also understanding many in the African-American community find the Confederacy repugnant? That is to say, what lines should not be crossed and does this understanding flow both ways? Is there a middle ground?

  • Leo Jun 20, 2015 @ 15:39

    I’m surprised the Mississippi state flag hasn’t received more criticism as of late. The Confederate flag takes up 25% of the flag and was placed there by the conservative democrats and redeemers after the end of reconstruction. Naturally, the slavery apologists will say it was put there to honor the fallen confederate veterans, but if you read the original state law creating the 1894 flag, you will not find anything about honoring confederate veterans or anything about the confederacy. The legislature took great pains to hide the confederate flag in the wording of the law.

    I would suggest Mississippi return to the Magnolia Flag since it has a historical connection to the past without having been tainted by a hate group. It’s the perfect compromise, but our governor is a pandering coward and the legislature is no extremely shortsighted.

    • Sylvia Jun 21, 2015 @ 7:44

      Mississippians VOTED to keep the flag as it is in 2001. Let Mississippians choose their own flag and you worry about yours.

      • Leo Jun 21, 2015 @ 12:24

        Sylvia, I am a native Mississippian and am under no illusion that the Mississippi state flag will change in my lifetime. We aren’t 50th in everything good and 1st in everything bad without reason. I know Mississippi does not embrace progress easily. That is why we are the butt of so many jokes.

        I love my home state of Mississippi despite what you might think, I want her to prosper and be a welcoming place for everyone. By suggesting Mississippi reinstate the Magnolia flag, I am seeking not only a common ground for everyone, but a path that honors the bravery of the Confederate solider while understanding the painful legacy of the segregation era. The Magnolia flag was actually carried by the Confederates you appear to hold in such high regard and was never soiled by a hate group or used as a symbol of white resistance to civil rights. Our current flag was adopted 29 years after the Civil War.

        I sincerely hope you can understand why so many people may view it very differently than you. I hope you can understand how southern whites took it off the field of honor and turned it into a reminder of subjugation and hate. Maybe this will change with time, but I do not see anyone working to remove the stains of the recent past.

        I will leave you with some quotes by two great Southerners:

        “I hope to live long enough to see my surviving comrades march side by side with the Union veterans along Pennsylvania Avenue, and then I will die happy.”
        ~. James Longstreet at a Memorial Day Parade in 1902.

        We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.
        ~. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Randall Jun 20, 2015 @ 13:28

    I am curious. When Aaron Alexis, a New York City African-American, slaughtered 12 people at the D.C. Navy Yard, did you conclude it was because there was a inherent evil deficiency in the American Flag that drove him to it? He was, after all, a contractor for the United States Navy and he closely identified with the U.S. Flag.

    • Kevin Levin Jun 20, 2015 @ 13:31

      Thanks for the question, Randall.

      No, I didn’t because the U.S. Flag is our nation’s flag and embodies our entire history, including our founding ideals that give us hope that we can advance the project of freedom, democracy, and justice for all Americans.

      • Lance Wendling Jun 20, 2015 @ 19:54

        What does “our nations flag” represent to the first people of this nation? More atrocities were committed against native american by troops carrying that flag than africans, slaves and african americans and the confederate flag. Many native americans view the american flag as a symbol of hate. US troops have committed 1000 times more atrocities while bearing our nations flag. By your band wagon logic I guesz we need to do away with it as well.

        • John Betts Jun 21, 2015 @ 7:13

          The Confederacy had 4 years. Given the plans of its leaders if they had won the War, I do believe their atrocity count would have increased exponentially.

    • Andy Hall Jun 20, 2015 @ 14:16

      Aaron Alexis, as far as I’m aware, didn’t build a website to present his ideology and beliefs, and then post a bunch of pictures of himself with the U.S. flag on it. The gunman in Charleston, by comparison, posted several dozen pictures of himself either with the Confederate flag or at various antebellum or Confederate history sites around South Carolina. In his “manifesto” he praised antebellum southern patterns of race and culture, and expressed many ideas that are commonplace within the Confederate heritage movement today. Taken all together it is a coherent and consistent set of ideologies that are commonplace among southern nationalist/white nationalist groups like the League of the South. His use of the Confederate flag was not by chance; it had a very specific and intentional meaning.

  • Bdt Jun 20, 2015 @ 12:31

    I’ve seen people refer to the confederate flag as “the American Swastika” and feel that is a totally appropriate nickname. Not sure where it came from, but making the connection between the swastika and the stars and bars can put things in perspective. If any German government building had that country’s most notorious emblem of hate flying on a pole outside, no one would hesitate to take it down.

  • David Jun 20, 2015 @ 12:00

    You hit the nail on the proverbial head Kevin. Flying the confederate flag was as wrong in 1960, as it was in 1860 or 2015. No matter how you mince words or thoughts, (Graham’s comment), it will always mean one thing……that being a symbol of the fight to preserve slavery in the United States. No one ever wanted to “Take Their Country Back” until we elected a African American President. I think the group who originated that particular phrase are around 35% of our population………which to me is the scariest thing of all.

    • James Harrigan Jun 20, 2015 @ 12:25

      David, you said “it will always mean one thing……that being a symbol of the fight to preserve slavery in the United States”. I have to disagree. While the flag was born as a symbol of the fight for secession, its central meaning now, dating to the Civil Rights era, is as a symbol of resistance to full citizenship for black Americans. People like Dylann Roof are not nostalgic for the Confederacy, they are nostalgic for a much more recent era when black people “knew their place”. And it is not just homicidal losers like Roof – all people who make a point of displaying the Confederate flag are making a conscious, explicit statement that they hold black people in contempt. In this, they are indeed honoring their heritage.

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