what are the compelling arguments for keeping and banning the Confederate flag?

Hello and Good Evening Everyone,

            It is my understanding that any merchandise with the Confederate flag on it are being banned from being sold by various retail giants such as Walmart, Amazon and Ebay just to name a few.  This decision derives from concern that racism is associated with the Confederate flag.  I assume such a conclusion comes from a past historical event or events in which the Confederate flag was used in conjunction with violent acts to suppress the life and growth of African-Americans.  From a positive side, I also have heard the argument that the Confederate flag is a symbol of pride and heritage of southern states and nothing more.  I am not much of a history buff, so, it is hard for me to come up historical events and dates to back up these personal conclusions.  

             While I realize there are probably volumes of information on this topic as it is talked about within blogs and social media networks, I am still interested in knowing what everyone else thinks about the decision to ban any merchandising which has the Confederate flag  


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Enabbar OcapCommented:
It looked good on the general lee. I don't remember any accusations of racism against the dukes of hazzard.
I assume such a conclusion comes from a past historical event or events in which the Confederate flag was used in conjunction with violent acts to suppress the life and growth of African-Americans.
It might be more difficult to find significant examples of "historical event or events ... with violent acts to suppress the life and growth of African-Americans" that are not associated. Of course, most examples available to us are ones that are publicized. See, e.g., the lead picture at The Confederate Flag Was Always Racist.

Try to imagine any time in any town when the centered vehicle could be comfortably driven down a city street. It would be immediately and unquestioningly perceived as a racist statement anywhere I've lived since being old enough to recognize it, yet none of those shown around it seem to care. (I assume something more is happening out of frame, something gathering even more attention.)

But it's a published photo. Perhaps it's the only such flag in that area. How could we know? If it was the sole flag of its type and we all knew it, would it be as easily connected in our minds? As long as such images are regularly presented, we'll be influenced to think automatically of an association with racism.

But the same can be said of those who display the flag in such a way. The more they see its image in such a context, the more it becomes their symbol.

From a positive side, I also have heard the argument that the Confederate flag is a symbol of pride and heritage of southern states and nothing more.
Pride in what? What heritage?

The Confederate States of America existed for approximately four years, ending 150 years ago. It was a small fraction of the history of the U.S.A., and it hardly contributed to the growth of the wealth, power and world-wide influence of the nation in the years since.

I've heard various references like "the grace and beauty of Savannah" or of other cities in the South. I always silently add something like "(built on the backs of black slaves and dirt-poor white dirt farmers)" in my mind.

The pride/heritage seems only connected to the rebellion, not in any significant contribution before or since. Why the focus on that small period? (And how many of those living today had any part in it?)

It's been mentioned in numerous news reports, but it should be kept in mind that the primary subject "flag" is not the flag of the Confederate States of America. Rather it is the Confederate "battle flag", which eventually did become a part of later versions of the national flag.

But again, the focus is placed on the conflict (battle) and particularly on the roots of the conflict. The transition of the original national flag to its later versions had some roots in the desire to oppose "abolitionism", so it's fairly natural to see how it connects to racism.

Sorry I can't actually contribute to the "positive side" of your question. I simply can't see any as far as the "flag" is concerned.

Now, none of the above is to say that most Southerners are not the best of people and can't claim to contribute. That's just a separate item from thinking about the "flag".


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GMartinAuthor Commented:
Hello and Good Morning Everyone

             You certainly made some valid points here Tom in response to this post.  With respect to the decision made by TVLand to pull The Dukes of Hazard from being broadcasted, I am not sure I understand that.  Being a huge fan of The Dukes of Hazard, I can say that I have watched every season and episode of it.  Never once can I remember any of the episodes eluding to racism.  On the contrary, it was a down to earth show that communicated the importance of family values, principles, and working together for the better good.  It was certainly a show which was appropriate for all ages because of its clean and wholesome plot and dialect which is much more than I can say for today's shows being broadcasted.  To me personally, I believe the "pride" that southern states have is not in hate and racism.  Instead, it comes from the value they put upon family and togetherness.

             Thanks once again for your objective feedback given here.  It is always nice and refreshing to gather other people's input on various topics.

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I have no doubt that there is pride in family and togetherness and other characteristics. But how does that relate to the Confederate battle flag from a century and a half ago?

Flag defenders who are (apparently) sincere today often claim that the flag/symbol is in memoriam of those who fought in the War. But how is that not saying that it's a memoriam of those who fought to preserve slavery? In different words, a memoriam to racism?

Okay, so that would be rejected out of hand by most such defenders. The response would likely be that the conflict was over State's rights. Yet, the specific right in question was legal slavery. Had an agreement been made that preserved that practice, leaving the decision Constitutionally to individual State's, the war might have been averted. There might have been no secession.

But there would have been continued Constitutionally protected slavery. The USA would have been on record as approving the practice in any State that chose to allow it.

The question is about the Confederate battle flag and its image in the USA today. The question could have as easily been about a flag with a swastika. That's a symbol that is in living memories of many. Does it matter what the symbol is if it's held up for pride in family, togetherness, etc.?

Now, for The Dukes of Hazard, I can't look at it as anything but an unfortunate 'casualty'. I didn't watch it much, but it seemed harmless enough. Still, what if it featured a different symbol, one that was objectionable to a different group of people?

When a symbol is objectionable to us personally, it's usually easy to come down on one side or the other. When it's not, it can become "What's the big deal? It doesn't bother me."

I wonder how long it'll take for the General Lee to be digitally altered.
GMartinAuthor Commented:

           Thank you for providing such detailed and thought provoking points within this post.  I certainly agree with each of your views because they encourage any reader to look at both sides of this issue.  You certainly bring to light the harsh realities that have been historically tied to the Confederate battle flag.  As such, I certainly found it a pleasure and an enlightening experience reading and re-reading your insights.

             Have a good evening and thanks again.

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