The Stars and Bars

By far, the most commented on posting on this blog is Racists and Their Precious Confederate Flag.  There are varying opinions on either side of the issue, and I figured it was time to do a follow-up post.  Firstly, let me say that I’m not backing down from my position.  While I do understand the symbol of the Confederate Flag has it’s very important place in history, I do believe that history is where it should stay.  I just cannot bring myself to buy into the “it’s our heritage” argument.

History:

The symbol most associated with the term “Confederate Flag” isn’t really the true Confederate Flag.  It’s not even the true “Stars and Bars”.  This term belongs to the first Confederate Flag, seen below (there were seven total).

First Flag of the Confederacy (”Stars and Bars”)

The big “X” shaped blue cross with white stars on a red background is actually the Confederate Battle Flag, and even that term isn’t unique to this design.  It is, however, the most popular and is increasingly the only design you’ll find associated with the term.  In the design below, you’ll notice the flag is actually square, not rectangular like most national flags.

Battle Flag of the Confederacy

The modern “Confederate Flag” is a rectangular version of this flag, and is actually a combination of the Second Confederate Naval Jack (same design, but different shade of blue and rectangular) and the Battle Flag.

Modern Day Controversies:

Today, this symbol is synonymous with hate, racism, bigotry, Jim Crow, slavery, segregation, and separation .  It’s history is intertwined with the history of the “slave states” who fought for “individual state rights to self govern”.  Throughout the Civil War and beyond, the symbol of the confederate battle flag became synonymous with the Old American South.  Being associated with the South in that time period meant that the flag would be irreparably linked to slavery, bigotry, and the like.   On top of that, hate groups like the KKK utilized this flag, whether “officially’ or not, to spread their message of hate and intolerance.  More recently, the Battle Flag has shown up at the football games of LSU and Ole Miss.  Both schools have less than stellar history in race relations without the flag being thrown into the mix.  The LSU version flag was colored th the LSU purple and gold, but the layout remained the same.  Recently, a group of black students and protesters marched against the Flag, citing already deep-seeded racial divisions at LSU.    For the Ole Miss crowd, no changes was made to the flag’s appearance .  It flew at most football games, both home and away, until Ole Miss head coach Tommy Tubberville asked that the flag not be flown at football games.  He stated that he didn’t want the flag and it’s divisive nature associated with Ole Miss.   in 1999 Ole Miss formally banned the flag from all sporting events.  In 2000, under a challenge from a lawyer for the white supremacist Nationalist Movement, the 5th Circuit court upheld the decision.

Aside from colleges, many states have the confederate battle symbol as part of it’s flag.  These states include Mississippi and Georgia (though Georgia’s flag closely resembles the first Confederate Flag).  South Carolina flies the complete flag on the state capital grounds after legislation was introduced (and passed) to have it removed from atop the capitals dome.

Throughout all of this history, the flags image, name and  conotation has been forever marred.  It’s now synonymous with hate, racism, and separation.  Too many acts of “legalized terrorism” were committed under this flag for it to be anything other than a symbol of racial divide.

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~ by Deuce on November 26, 2007.

2 Responses to “The Stars and Bars”

  1. I know it’s been a while since anyone has posted a reply to this post, but why not add one now?

    People can pick any image and make it a symbol for anything. Even if it is not in harmony with the original meaning of the symbol. (ie: the rainbow; or the svástika) Unfortunately the symbol of the confederate battle flag is recognized by many as a hateful symbol. Whereas for many others, it is a symbol of the South and does not represent slavery, racism, or anything negative for that matter. Everyone will see in a symbol what it represents and means to them. It’s a shame that those who recgonize “The Stars and Bars” as a symbol of Southern culture – not a hateful portion of the past – cannot use it without being seen as bigots.

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