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Author Topic: Confederate Flag  (Read 2833 times)

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Offline consortium11Topic starter

Confederate Flag
« on: June 25, 2015, 07:24:48 PM »
It's safe to say the confederate flag (or, more accurately, the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia under General Lee) has been controversial for a while.

For some it's a sign of their history and cultural heritage. For others it's a symbol of hate and repression, the representation of a system and group that sought to keep others in slavery and fought for their right to do so. For somewhat obvious reasons it tends to be more popular amongst the white population of the US than with other groups and is likewise more popular in the South than the North. Because of its links to rebels and rebellion those who support it and its use sometimes claim it represents freedom... a position those opposed to it argue very strongly against.

This tension between the two positions has been bubbling under for decades but in the wake of the Charleston Shootings, where the perpetrator had previously been pictured holding it, the dam appears to have burst. A number of states which display the flag in an official capacity either have or are in the process of removing them while a number of retailers have stopped selling all products which contain the flag.

So, my question is in essence in three parts:

1) Is the "Confederate Flag" a symbol of hate that should be viewed in the same way that the swastika is?

2) If the answer to the above is yes, are there still some circumstances where it should (or at least could be displayed)? This story in particular comes to mind; Apple have banned all products which contain the flag from the App Store. This includes a number of historical strategy games depicting the US Civil War such as Ultimate General: Gettysburg  . Apple have since clarified that they removing the flag when it's being used in an "offensive and mean-spirited way" but 1) there doesn't seem to be a distinction in what they've removed so far and 2) if the flag is a symbol of hate then isn't it always going to be offensive? Should a film like Gettysburg be censored and have the flags removed?

3) As mentioned at the start despite being the most widely known flag from the Confederacy this flag was never an official Confederate Flag. While both the second and third flags of the Confederacy have some similarities to it, the original flag of the Confederacy looks considerably different. Is that flag more or less offensive? Does the fact that the "rebel flag" only ever represented an army and not the Confederacy itself matter? Does the fact that the "rebel flag" has come to represent the Confederacy in popular culture trump its historical origins?

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Re: Confederate Flag
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2015, 07:37:16 PM »
The Confederate Flag was used as a symbol of a would be nation of slavors and ultimately white supremecists, as well as a symbol of this nation's divided past. It's offensive to flaunt it and at most deserves to be a museum piece, since all history deserves to be remembered anyway, regardless of how checkered it was.

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Re: Confederate Flag
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2015, 08:01:24 PM »
Its a symbol of oppression and insurrection. but I think the way its being censored is extreme. We need to know the goods and bad of our history in order to learn from them and evolve.

It should be remembered and seen but not fly on any government or federal buildings.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2015, 08:04:31 PM by Lustful Bride »

Offline Katrina

Re: Confederate Flag
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2015, 08:28:08 PM »
One thing people are failing to remember, the north had slaves too.

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Re: Confederate Flag
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2015, 08:41:03 PM »

1) Is the "Confederate Flag" a symbol of hate that should be viewed in the same way that the swastika is?

So the first Amendment no longer applies to a movement of culture genocide? The 'Rebel Flag' has been a monument to honor the deceased war veterans of the Southern States who died for fighting for their beliefs.  One can not view it as evil and if so, how can they view it any more so of the American flag which flew over slave ships and also during the time of the Trail of Tears? In early history, America has been no different in tyranny.  Should we view the U.S flag just as racist for its past controversy? Would the case been any different if the shooter had an American  Flag instead of a rebel one?

Quote
2) If the answer to the above is yes, are there still some circumstances where it should (or at least could be displayed)? This story in particular comes to mind; Apple have banned all products which contain the flag from the App Store. This includes a number of historical strategy games depicting the US Civil War such as Ultimate General: Gettysburg  . Apple have since clarified that they removing the flag when it's being used in an "offensive and mean-spirited way" but 1) there doesn't seem to be a distinction in what they've removed so far and 2) if the flag is a symbol of hate then isn't it always going to be offensive? Should a film like Gettysburg be censored and have the flags removed?

Again, seems things are being blown way out of proportion, especially to banning of games. Even the swastika still shows up in gaming(though unsure about Apple products, since I do not invest in them much. If they ban that too, then I suppose that is fine; otherwise be saying Rebel Flag is more offensive then a nation that once sought out mass genocide.) No towards censoring of films. If it gets to that extreme of burying cultural history and enforcing all traces gone, than that would make the U.S no different to its tyrant past. Which ironically the U.S flag is suppose to be freedom against tyranny. 

Quote
3) As mentioned at the start despite being the most widely known flag from the Confederacy this flag was never an official Confederate Flag. While both the second and third flags of the Confederacy have some similarities to it, the original flag of the Confederacy looks considerably different. Is that flag more or less offensive? Does the fact that the "rebel flag" only ever represented an army and not the Confederacy itself matter? Does the fact that the "rebel flag" has come to represent the Confederacy in popular culture trump its historical origins?

Again, I don't see the Rebel Flag as a 'Confederate Flag.' As stated in the first paragraph, the Rebel Flag was drafted and adopted to serve as a symbol to the fallen veterans and serve as a reminder of heritage within the South. It was never an official flag of the Confederacy.  The swastika, however, was an official flag of Germany. The Rebel Flag on the otherhand has been a franchise of pop culture, the Rebel Flag has been a symbol in following wars as well, should we scrap the 'USS Columbia' for having a Confederate Navy Ensign as a battle flag?( In addition to the Navy Unit Commendation, Columbia received 10 battle stars for World War II service.
Columbia flew a Confederate Navy Ensign as a battle flag throughout combat in the South Pacific in World War II. This was done in honor of the ship's namesake, the capital city of South Carolina, the first state to secede from the Union.)

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Re: Confederate Flag
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2015, 11:45:32 PM »
You know, for a hemisphere that was incredibly ensconced in the slave trade, people (especially Europeans) are quick to point the finger at America. Is it on the same level as the Swastika? Hell no.

If you want to get technical the American flag (Old Glory) has more nastiness involved in it than the Stars and Bars. Just go ask you local Native American... any of them.

You know, let's ban the South African flag, or the flag of Great Britain, there was a helluva lot of sketchy stuff involved in that. Has it been co-opted by some pretty terrible people? Yeah. And honestly, meh, but to ban it? That's just the worst aspects of censorship.

You know what, I want to ban Canada's flag. I just don't trust it on general principle, too polite. :P
« Last Edit: June 25, 2015, 11:47:24 PM by Inkidu »

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Re: Confederate Flag
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2015, 01:17:26 AM »
     I don't believe all symbols must only be read to mean one thing, but I do believe some are more problematic than others.  It's something of a false equivalency comparing the standard American flag to Nazi flags or to the Confederate flag.  There are certainly quite a few things the U.S. government has done that are worthy of criticism, but they are not so generally on the scale of the Holocaust.  The U.S. political system, while it does have significant institutional vestiges of economic apartheid even today, has not remained simply fossilized in a culture that publicly denies the legitimacy and independence of the Black population. 

      And for those who say, 'Well the North had slaves too...'  So what exactly!  Is the idea: 'How dare they change' ???  How dare anyone fault the South for doing something the North might have shared in at one time, and later thought better of?  It's precisely because they were changing that the South went and seceded (see in particular the declaration by South Carolina below)!  Yeah yeah, they felt so betrayed and just when they were making loads of money too.  But if no one is allowed to take a stand and say, ya know, we're not going to do this anymore, well then, the US should never have been allowed to change its mind and fight the Nazis or anything...  And maybe some of us should never have been allowed to follow state laws and put on seat belts for a change in the 80's.  What ever is that about. 

     Even where I may agree that U.S. government has done some terribly awful things (both long ago and more recently), I do not see how that should make it helpful to be flying Confederate flags celebrating other historically awful things.  At least, not from government buildings which in anything of a republic, are supposed to represent the current aspirations and culture of the people.  Saying one symbol is just as bad as another, if you fly one that has any bad history anwhere, then why should anyone find reason to reject any of them, from any time period or discriminatory group whatsoever? Well, that is a lot of "whatabouterry."  This can lead off into, well if anyone ever smoked a cigarette and contributed to cancer next door, then obviously they have no right to worry when someone invades their neighbor or nukes a city.  It's getting into "Let us do whatever we want cause look, you have issues too," sort of logic.   

     And for what it's worth, if someone wants to go out and burn a standard American flag in complaint about failures of the present government and the present broader culture to pursue whatever people see as the interests of its present-day citizens, that's alright with me.  Better burning a few flags to "fan" a discussion or simply vent frustration, than burning churches or crops or human bodies (especially others' bodies).     

      Much of the point of seceding was for the Confederacy to continue the slave system to resist rising pressure for change.  The Confederate states asserted that they were motivated by firm beliefs in White superiority and that slavery was necessary to maintain their ways of life in peace (either to maintain commerce, and/or out of fear about Whites losing overall power). 

      The Washington Post reports a number of interesting details, which I don't believe contradict that.

But for example (with potential racism trigger warning -- but it's evidence): 
South Carolina
Quote
We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assumed the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of Slavery; they have permitted the open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace of and eloin the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books, and pictures, to servile insurrection.

For twenty-five years this agitation has been steadily increasing, until it has now secured to its aid the power of the common Government.

Mississippi
Quote
Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation.

Texas (a couple others can be found here, too)
Quote
In all the non-slave-holding States, in violation of that good faith and comity which should exist between entirely distinct nations, the people have formed themselves into a great sectional party, now strong enough in numbers to control the affairs of each of those States, based upon an unnatural feeling of hostility to these Southern States and their beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery, proclaiming the debasing doctrine of equality of all men, irrespective of race or color-- a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of Divine Law.

      There may be a good deal of subterfuge and hypocrisy about race and discrimination (and chunks of foreign policy more generally) in America today, but this racist position the Confederacy took is no longer upheld in most public forums.  It is more likely to be used as part of a contrast: These are things one just does not say, and how far have we come (or not, in uglier cases) from acting and making rules in ways that people who did say them in the past might have wished to act?

     And the Confederacy claimed an interest in leaving the Union.  Unless we mean to allow Texas, Arizona and whoever to forget the Constitution and just write up their own immigration and foreign trade policies, perhaps take care of their own military defense while they're at it (the states, or the local disorganized militias? ugh, I can't imagine)...  Then it doesn't make a great deal of sense to be putting a separatist flag that got so many killed, on government buildings.

 .........................

     
Its a symbol of oppression and insurrection. but I think the way its being censored is extreme. We need to know the goods and bad of our history in order to learn from them and evolve.

It should be remembered and seen but not fly on any government or federal buildings.
     
     So in terms of whatever to do about it, basically I agree with this.  If individuals want to kick around what it means, that's one thing but it should not be a regular project of the present government institutions to elevate it.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2015, 04:34:40 AM by kylie »

Offline Cassandra LeMay

Re: Confederate Flag
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2015, 02:41:04 AM »
What I think we are missing in this debate so far is what the "Confederate Flag" came to symbolize long after the Civil War. To the best of my knowledge the battle flag was not in widespread use until after WWII and started to spread in response to desegregation and civil rights movements. When Georgia incorporated the Confederate battle flag into its state flag in 1956 it happened in a stong anti-desegragation modd, i.e. Georgia was pretty much giving Washington and the civil rights movement the finger. When South Carolina raised the flag in 1961 it was ostensibly for the centeniary of the Civil War, so why didn't they take it down again until 2000?

Whatever the reasons for the Civil War, from all I have read on the topic it seems pretty clear to me that modern use of this flag started as a symbol against equal rights for people of color. Given I would say that this flag does represent hate, or at the very least a strong resentment for equal rights, and that, because of that modern conmtext, it doesn't matter that the historical flag was only a battle flag and never the Confederate flag.

Offline Scribbles

Re: Confederate Flag
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2015, 03:24:57 AM »
I hope its okay if I comment, I know little of the confederate flag or how it affects Americans but I do have some opinions regarding symbolism...

So, my question is in essence in three parts:

1) Is the "Confederate Flag" a symbol of hate that should be viewed in the same way that the swastika is?

I feel when people look upon such symbols, they should attempt to use a more objective mind-set rather than instantly getting offended and attempting to go on the attack.

The Swastika is not inherently evil, it was actually a borrowed symbol that is still held as sacred by some religions. Simply because bad people utilize something does that instantly mean that we should bow to those bad people by not only making the symbol their own but going so far as to lend it gravitas?

If the American flag were to be associated with something evil in the future, should the world forget what it stood for in the past and how it united a people by instantly erasing all signs of its existence?

Quote
2) If the answer to the above is yes, are there still some circumstances where it should (or at least could be displayed)? This story in particular comes to mind; Apple have banned all products which contain the flag from the App Store. This includes a number of historical strategy games depicting the US Civil War such as Ultimate General: Gettysburg  . Apple have since clarified that they removing the flag when it's being used in an "offensive and mean-spirited way" but 1) there doesn't seem to be a distinction in what they've removed so far and 2) if the flag is a symbol of hate then isn't it always going to be offensive? Should a film like Gettysburg be censored and have the flags removed?

I feel that when it comes to entertainment, or history, people need to differentiate between simply depicting a symbol and subscribing to the ideal behind a symbol, there is a difference...

Quote
3) As mentioned at the start despite being the most widely known flag from the Confederacy this flag was never an official Confederate Flag. While both the second and third flags of the Confederacy have some similarities to it, the original flag of the Confederacy looks considerably different. Is that flag more or less offensive? Does the fact that the "rebel flag" only ever represented an army and not the Confederacy itself matter? Does the fact that the "rebel flag" has come to represent the Confederacy in popular culture trump its historical origins?

Sorry, I'm absolutely clueless about American history, although I did enjoy the stories of your wild west! ^^

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Confederate Flag
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2015, 03:56:06 AM »
The removal that we are seeing in retail is basically preventative damage control. If retailers continue to sell merch with the rebel flag on it, they're gonna get fingered and burned. This is just common sense and has nothing to do with their views on what the flag represents.

My understanding, and correct me if I am wrong, is that the confederate flag represented the southern states, and not all southerners had slaves or even approved of slavery. Those who actually owned farms and businesses that required slave labor in order to remain competitive (just as today's businesses outsource work)) probably did, but that's not your average Joe. I'm not from the south, but I would say for the average person, it probably represented their pride and identity as southerners more than anything else. I don't know how this changed after the end of the civil war though... and yes, the north had black and white slaves too and profited from slavery. The Europeans ( Read: Portugese, British, Spanish, French, Dutch etc.. ) purchased these people from African middle men, shipped them as if they were cargo, and sold them to us, so everyone's hands were dirty.  http://www.pbs.org/wonders/Episodes/Epi3/slave_2.htm

I think if the rebel flag was lowered out of respect for the victims of the Charleston shooting, there might have been a lot less fuss about it. Letting it fly high as if nothing happened after the shooting was a serious slap in the face to the friends and families of those who were shot that day. I think this mockery was more offensive than anything that the flag itself might have stood for. This was not done out of carelessness or stupidity, this was done to insult and cause harm.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2015, 04:07:44 AM by TaintedAndDelish »

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Re: Confederate Flag
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2015, 05:00:49 AM »
Quote from: TaintedAndDelish
My understanding, and correct me if I am wrong, is that the confederate flag represented the southern states, and not all southerners had slaves or even approved of slavery. Those who actually owned farms and businesses that required slave labor in order to remain competitive (just as today's businesses outsource work)) probably did, but that's not your average Joe. I'm not from the south, but I would say for the average person, it probably represented their pride and identity as southerners more than anything else.
       The Washington Post article included an answer to this which I thought was very interesting (if scary).

Quote
Indeed, most white Southern families had no slaves. Less than half of white Mississippi households owned one or more slaves, for example, and that proportion was smaller still in whiter states such as Virginia and Tennessee. It is also true that, in areas with few slaves, most white Southerners did not support secession. West Virginia seceded from Virginia to stay with the Union, and Confederate troops had to occupy parts of eastern Tennessee and northern Alabama to hold them in line.

However, two ideological factors caused most Southern whites, including those who were not slave-owners, to defend slavery. First, Americans are wondrous optimists, looking to the upper class and expecting to join it someday. In 1860, many subsistence farmers aspired to become large slave-owners. So poor white Southerners supported slavery then, just as many low-income people support the extension of George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy now.

Second and more important, belief in white supremacy provided a rationale for slavery. As the French political theorist Montesquieu observed wryly in 1748: “It is impossible for us to suppose these creatures [enslaved Africans] to be men; because allowing them to be men, a suspicion would follow that we ourselves are not Christians.” Given this belief, most white Southerners — and many Northerners, too — could not envision life in black-majority states such as South Carolina and Mississippi unless blacks were in chains. Georgia Supreme Court Justice Henry Benning, trying to persuade the Virginia Legislature to leave the Union, predicted race war if slavery was not protected.

Quote
I don't know how this changed after the end of the civil war though... and yes, the north had black and white slaves too and profited from slavery.
      I believe the South was upset because so much of the North was in the process of removing the legal basis for slavery.  Again, you can see that concern figuring in the South Carolina declaration quite plainly.  If I recall correctly, those Northern states that still had a few (well, relatively few compared to the South and especially, considering the Deep South where the majority of some state populations were actually the slaves!) had instituted laws that they would accept no more 'shipments' after a certain date. 
 
       The North used slavery primarily as domestic labor, whereas the South absolutely relied upon it for wholesale production of agricultural products.  True it was a sort of elite's business in both, but the South used slaves in much greater numbers and needed them to remain economically viable under the current model.  To be fair, the entire country could collectively benefit from the export of factory-processed goods using Southern agriculture (sometimes or often processed in the North, I think).  And many of the national exports were plain agricultural stock directly from the South.  But it was the South that had to change their economy wholesale if slavery was on the out, and where the majority of slaves were located. 

        Perhaps everyone was somewhat dirty if you go way back and look for a few areas that were not yet cleaned up (or I wonder -- may have operated the trade illegally?)...  But overall, the North was changing (had been for some time, thus the whole Mason-Dixon Line fuss) and the South was digging in its heels.  I don't see a way around that.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2015, 05:06:01 AM by kylie »

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Re: Confederate Flag
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2015, 07:21:20 AM »
Yet the North and England still bought slave-picked, slave-ginned cotton. In the scope of history, slavery was brought in as cheap labor. It was brought in by the Almighty Dollar, and it would be ushered out by the Almighty Dollar, by 1890 or thereabouts. Those technological advancements were coming, they're much, much cheaper than owning a slave, and offered an even better chance of upward mobility among the poorer farmers.

While slavery was an issue in the Southern Secession, and by no means a trivial one where the moral soul of humanity is concerned, you have to remember a few things. One, blacks fought for the Confederacy, a lot of blacks. Where they so conditioned they liked slavery? Rhetorically no. The mother problem of the Civil War was a political-ideological split that was in the US since John Marshall.

It was the way we viewed the setup of the nation:

One, we were a collective group of individuals who came together under contract, and we could leave that contract at any time. (Southern or State View)

Two, we are a whole government made up of states ruled over by a central federal government. (Northern or Federalist View)

The Civil War was fought to determine who was right. The winner picks. Slavery was just the largest and most controversial (more so today and less then). The South believed they had the right to leave the nation, much like we left England. You know there comes a time in human history, so on and so forth.

Nope apparently if you win. No two parties of 19th Centry white men are going to die and shed blood from 1860 to 1865 over the right to own slaves alone. Also, its important I think to keep in mind that this was not civil rights, this was strictly abolishing slavery. Also a lot of blacks were outright killed in 1863 New York City Draft Riots because the poor immigrants thought blacks would flood in from the South and steal their jobs. So there were a lot, a lot of deaths in the North too. It hardly had a moral high-ground to take on the subject of Slavery. It might not have had the same slaves or used them for the same purposes (but really that's a matter of climate more than moral compass), but they and a host of other nations in the world kept slavery a profitable endeavor. There's a sum total of guilt among the western hemisphere, as I've said before.



« Last Edit: June 26, 2015, 07:23:58 AM by Inkidu »

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Re: Confederate Flag
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2015, 08:28:02 AM »
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/06/24/alabama-governor-confederate-flag-robert-bentley/29210283/

This is a bit too much. I do not agree to a flag being taken down on memorials. That is saying those individuals who fought for what they believed was right, should not be honored just as any other fallen soldier.  It is disrespectful to the generations of families who lost ancestors in the Civil War.

What's next. A removal of Confederate flags during 'reenactments' of the Civil War? Oh wait, maybe they will remove reenactments all together with the way things are going.

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Re: Confederate Flag
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2015, 09:43:05 AM »
Quote from: Inkidu
Yet the North and England still bought slave-picked, slave-ginned cotton.
     And we still eat GMO food.  And a vast number of people buy sometimes dubious clothing from Walmart because they can't afford or find much better.  So what.  I'm not sitting here saying put a Walmart flag on some state capitol building.

Quote
In the scope of history, slavery was brought in as cheap labor. It was brought in by the Almighty Dollar, and it would be ushered out by the Almighty Dollar, by 1890 or thereabouts. Those technological advancements were coming, they're much, much cheaper than owning a slave, and offered an even better chance of upward mobility among the poorer farmers.
     Agreed the North was much more industrialized and had much less to lose.  But if you think I'm going to approve of people doing something simply because it was profitable, you're wrong.  Again, what does this have to do with a flag on a capitol building today.

Quote
While slavery was an issue in the Southern Secession, and by no means a trivial one where the moral soul of humanity is concerned, you have to remember a few things. One, blacks fought for the Confederacy, a lot of blacks. Where they so conditioned they liked slavery? Rhetorically no. The mother problem of the Civil War was a political-ideological split that was in the US since John Marshall.
     I don't debate that there was some serious ideology, but I still think slavery was a very central ingredient in the context where people adopted it.  The Western world might not have such a strong ideology of independence and self-determination if we hadn't come from European and North American geographies where it was possible to build viable states out of collections of small farms rather than plantations or hydraulic rice farming, either.  But that would hardly be a good argument to many people that we should not argue for the rights of people elsewhere, whose governments may have felt a need to be much more authoritarian (if not exploitative, depending) in order to hold together the masses in places of rice and oh yes, cotton farming (though slaves from Africa likely do not qualify as "masses" anyway -- hopefully you get the point anyway). 

     If it were true that many Blacks willingly fought for the South, basically I would still say, "So what?"  That doesn't mean that it's a grand idea for state governments to be flying that flag today.  It might not be the first time in history that people have been duped and/or financially motivated to fight for something that wasn't much in their interest (Iraq 2003 anyone?).  Big deal.

      Point of fact though?  Just at a glance of Google, I found more than one site off the bat that contests your claim that many Blacks fought for the South willingly.    Professor of History Bruce Levine at Univ. of Illinois, Urbana ....  And John Stauffer, a Professor of English and African-American Studies at Harvard.

Quote from: Levine
Patrick R. Cleburne, a prominent general in the Confederate Army of Tennessee, could see what was happening in the South in late 1863. Southern troops were outnumbered, soldiers were demoralized, and the institution of slavery was collapsing. So on January 2, 1864, Cleburne rode through a sleet-driven night in northern Georgia to present an audacious proposal to nearly a dozen Confederate generals.

He proposed that the Confederate States of America offer freedom to military age male slaves who were willing to fight for the South.

“Most of the generals denounced him,” says Bruce Levine, University of Illinois history professor and author of Confederate Emancipation and The Fall of the House of Dixie.

Cleburne’s proposal was overwhelmingly rejected, for secessionist states were not about to undermine the system of slavery that they were fighting to defend. But despite this clear disdain for the idea of arming African Americans, Levine says that over the past 30 years there has arisen a myth that black soldiers did fight for the Confederacy in massive numbers—tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands, according to some accounts propagated online.

According to Levine, “The claims among modern romanticizers of the Confederacy are intended to bolster more fundamental claims—that African Americans identified with the Confederacy, that slaves were content with being slaves, and that the war had nothing to do with slavery.”

The problem is that the accounts of massive involvement of blacks in the Southern army are false
, he says.

Levine says the Confederate army had a strict policy that if you were not certifiably white, you could not be a soldier in its ranks. However, in the early years of the Civil War, many slave owners did bring their servants into the Confederate army to carry equipment for them, and clean and take care of their clothes and horses. In addition, the Confederacy forced many slaves and free blacks in the South to labor for the war effort, building rail breastworks, driving wagons, burying the dead, and serving as nurses.

“On occasion, a slave might have even picked up a gun and taken a shot at the Yankees, proving how loyal and dependable he was,” Levine says. But this level of involvement is a far cry from tens of thousands of armed black soldiers marching in defense of the Confederacy.

What’s more, Confederates discovered that if they placed black laborers too close to Union lines, they ran the risk of African Americans fleeing to the other side; therefore, many slave owners stopped bringing along their black servants during the second half of the war.

Levine notes that there were two militias in the South made up of free African American soldiers—one in Mobile, Ala., and the other in New Orleans. But these were state militias, not part of the regular army, and they did not see serious action on behalf of the South. And numerous members of the “Native Guards” of New Orleans immediately switched allegiance to the Union when the Yankees occupied the city.

The Myth of the Black Confederates is a relatively new phenomenon, arising after the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, Levine says. The notion of African Americans fighting in large numbers for the South was never suggested in the immediate aftermath of the war because white veterans would have been still alive to shoot down the idea. “White Confederate soldiers would have taken it as an insult to have served in the same army with the same status as a black soldier,” he says.

As evidence that black men fought heroically for the South, neo-Confederates today will sometimes dig up photos of black servants dressed in military uniforms. But according to Levine, “Some servants were dressed in military uniforms because that was the kind of clothing available in the army.” It didn’t mean they were real members of those army units, he says.

Quote from: Stauffer
Even 150 years after it started, the Civil War is still the battleground for controversial ideas. One of them is the notion that thousands of Southern slaves and freedmen fought willingly and loyally on the side of the Confederacy.

The idea of “black Confederates” appeals to present-day neo-Confederates, who are eager to find ways to defend the principles of the Confederate States of America. They say the Civil War was about states’ rights, and they wish to minimize the role of slavery in a vanished and romantic antebellum South.

But most historians of the past 50 years hold that the root cause of the Civil War was slavery. They bristle at the idea of black Confederates, which they say robs the war of its moral coin as the crucible of black emancipation.

Stepping into this controversy is Harvard historian John Stauffer, who studies antislavery movements, the Civil War, and American social protest. (He is chair of the History of American Civilization Program, and a professor of both English and African-American studies.) At the Harvard Faculty Club on Wednesday (Aug. 31), Stauffer opened the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute’s Fall Colloquium Series with a lecture on black Confederates. He acknowledged that critics of the concept now dominate the academic arena, including one scholar who called it “a fiction, a myth, utter nonsense.”

Still, Stauffer acknowledged the seeming popularity of neo-Confederate ideas in general. He cited a recent poll showing that 70 percent of white Southerners believe that the cause of the Civil War was not slavery, but a deep divide over states’ rights. Stauffer also outlined evidence that the notion of black Confederates is at least partly true — an assertion that he said got him “beaten up” in a discussion at a Washington, D.C., history event months ago.

Though no one knows for sure, the number of slaves who fought and labored for the South was modest, estimated Stauffer. Blacks who shouldered arms for the Confederacy numbered more than 3,000 but fewer than 10,000, he said, among the hundreds of thousands of whites who served. Black laborers for the cause numbered from 20,000 to 50,000.

Those are not big numbers, said Stauffer. Black Confederate soldiers likely represented less than 1 percent of Southern black men of military age during that period, and less than 1 percent of Confederate soldiers. And their motivation for serving isn’t taken into account by the numbers, since some may have been forced into service, and others may have seen fighting as a way out of privation.
 

Quote
It was the way we viewed the setup of the nation:

One, we were a collective group of individuals who came together under contract, and we could leave that contract at any time. (Southern or State View)
     I do understand that view existed and perhaps somewhat still does.  But I don't believe state governments today can reasonably expect to be representing that either with the flag atop their buildings.

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...  The Civil War was fought to determine who was right. The winner picks. Slavery was just the largest and most controversial (more so today and less then). The South believed they had the right to leave the nation, much like we left England. You know there comes a time in human history, so on and so forth.
      Yes, yes.  And they said the reason they left then and there was, slavery was being rendered no longer viable.  The colonies didn't leave England simply because they felt they could, but particularly because they believed their way of life/commerce was being taxed unfairly.  Either way, it's rather incongruous to put that flag on a state capital today in what is very much a federal system.  Unless perhaps, one really wishes to have another war -- if it's about a right to secession, yes?

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Nope apparently if you win. No two parties of 19th Centry white men are going to die and shed blood from 1860 to 1865 over the right to own slaves alone. Also, its important I think to keep in mind that this was not civil rights, this was strictly abolishing slavery. Also a lot of blacks were outright killed in 1863 New York City Draft Riots because the poor immigrants thought blacks would flood in from the South and steal their jobs. So there were a lot, a lot of deaths in the North too. It hardly had a moral high-ground to take on the subject of Slavery.
       You're playing at:  If the North did anything wrong, they can't tell the South not to put up a flag that represented a fight to maintain slavery and/or the idea that it's perfectly okay for states to walk out of the Union.  Where the question is, is the Confederate flag okay, and you're sort of hinting well it must be if the North ever hosted any problems (and you don't seem to care much whether they were even central policy problems or outbreaks of local violence by minority groups?)...  I don't buy it.  This also doesn't change the fact that slavery was a horrible institution, no matter how hard you try to make it sound like it had support -- least of all from Blacks who as far as I can tell, actually only rarely and often under duress gave material support to that war effort.
 
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It might not have had the same slaves or used them for the same purposes (but really that's a matter of climate more than moral compass), but they and a host of other nations in the world kept slavery a profitable endeavor. There's a sum total of guilt among the western hemisphere, as I've said before.
       And you're trying to say what?  If one region was many times more invested and refused to change when the others looked to get on with things and by and large do something very differently, we're supposed to go on venerating their flag on public buildings because....  What exactly?  Because they killed and raped more people around those plantations but we're all slaves to the dollar and nothing else matters?  Spare me.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2015, 06:38:04 PM by kylie »

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Confederate Flag
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2015, 10:42:28 AM »
     And we still eat GMO food.  And a vast number of people buy sometimes dubious clothing from Walmart because they can't afford or find much better.  So what.  I'm not sitting here saying put a Walmart flag on some state capitol building.
Not the point. The point is that the world is pretty quick to condemn the nation that had the slaves, even though the whole Western World was complicit in either shipping said slave or buy produced cotton. In fact, unlike Walmart and the exploitation of the third-world for cheap good, the cotton trade was almost exclusively a rich-person's thing. Poor people more than likely spun their own clothing via sharecropped gains in the cotton yield of non-slave plantations.

   
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Agreed the North was much more industrialized and had much less to lose.  But if you think I'm going to approve of people doing something simply because it was profitable, you're wrong.  Again, what does this have to do with a flag on a capitol building today.
Again, you missed the point. Slavery was the cheapest form of labor in the world before the industrial revolution. With the industrial revolution producing new ways of farming slaves would have become an absurdly expensive (and thoroughly outmoded) way of doing business. Slaves might not have been emancipated b 1863, but slavery was on the way out through either abolishing it, or (as the world has proven time and again) the bottom line. Still, perhaps people haven't moved on as much as we like to think we have, maybe we've just moved to new forms of slavery, ask any Chinese factory worker who puts together that brand new iPhone.

   
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I don't debate that there was some serious ideology, but I still think slavery was a very central ingredient in the context where people adopted it.  The Western world might not have such a strong ideology of independence and self-determination if we hadn't come from European and North American geographies where it was possible to build viable states out of collections of small farms rather than plantations or hydraulic rice farming, either.  But that would hardly be a good argument to many people that we should not argue for the rights of people elsewhere, whose governments may have felt a need to be much more authoritarian (if not exploitative, depending) in order to hold together the masses in places of rice and oh yes, cotton farming (though slaves from Africa likely do not qualify as "masses" anyway -- hopefully you get the point anyway).
There is a point to this part? What does farming have to do with the way the United States viewed its governmental setup? Slaves have sadly been apart of the New World economy since the beginning whether it's the Spanish basically enslaving the locals in South America, the British sugar plantations of the Caribbean, or the cotton and indigo plantations of the South. The only way slavery played into the State's Rights conflict was that there was a very rich minority that wanted to keep slaves, and I'm not defending that, but the Civil War was not some moral crusade against slavery, or plantation farming. 

     
Quote
If it were true that many Blacks willingly fought for the South, basically I would still say, "So what?"  That doesn't mean that it's a grand idea for state governments to be flying that flag today.  It might not be the first time in history that people have been duped and/or financially motivated to fight for something that wasn't much in their interest (Iraq 2003 anyone?).  Big deal.

      Point of fact though?  Just at a glance of Google, I found more than one site off the bat that contests your claim that many Blacks fought for the South willingly.    Professor of History Bruce Levine at Univ. of Illinois, Urbana ....  And John Stauffer, a Professor of English and African-American Studies at Harvard.
I'm sure many blacks were pressed into service, just like many foreigners in the North were drafted, and it might as well be the same thing from the "choice" perspective. Now, as to why the flag. Well if there were blacks that fought willingly, wouldn't they have fought under something close to that flag anyway? So... yeah... I'm not contesting that the Confederate Flag has been co-opted by some nasty people, but don't confuse what it was then with what it is to some now.
 
   
Quote
I do understand that view existed and perhaps somewhat still does.  But I don't believe state governments today can reasonably expect to be representing that either with the flag atop their buildings.
Maybe, but yanking something down just because you don't like it is censorship of the worst kind. This is America, we allow Neo-Nazis to parade down the street lofting the Swastika, it would set up a nasty double standard.

     
Quote
Yes, yes.  And they said the reason they left then and there was, slavery was being rendered no longer viable.  The US didn't leave England simply because they felt they could, but particularly because they believed their way of life/commerce was being taxed unfairly.  Either way, it's rather incongruous to put that flag on a state capital today in what is very much a federal system.  Unless perhaps, one really wishes to have another war -- if it's about a right to secession, yes?
That's half the answer, and only for a minority of landowners. The answer was they thought it was a state's rights issue. They thought that the states should retrain the right to decide if they wanted slaves or not (as wrong as that is). The federal government said no. It's not, "Our slaves are being taken away!" or "We want slaves!" it's, "We reserve the right to determine this on our own without the government dictating it!" Remember that the importation of slaves had already been dealt with, and the South was fine with that. They were dealing with the last issue on the table, and the issue wasn't whether slavery was right or wrong, it was who gets to decide.
     
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You're playing at:  If the North did anything wrong, they can't tell the South not to put up a flag that represented a fight to maintain slavery and/or the idea that it's perfectly okay for states to walk out of the Union.  Where the question is, is the Confederate flag okay, and you're sort of hinting well it must be if the North ever hosted any problems (and you don't seem to care much whether they were even central policy problems or outbreaks of local violence by minority groups?)...  I don't buy it.  This also doesn't change the fact that slavery was a horrible institution, no matter how hard you try to make it sound like it had support -- least of all from Blacks who as far as I can tell, actually only rarely and often under duress gave material support to that war effort.
Wrong. I'm maintaining that there are few flags in the world that aren't soaked in immorality and blood. If you band the confederate flag you might as well ban several others. The American, British, has the Dutch flag changed since they began running slaves? It seems awfully hypocritical to ban one single flag without banning any flag that has a checkered past.

Quote
And you're trying to say what?  If one region was many times more invested and refused to change when the others looked to get on with things and by and large do something very differently, we're supposed to go on venerating their flag on public buildings because....  What exactly?  Because they killed and raped more people around those plantations but we're all slaves to the dollar and nothing else matters?  Spare me.
You belittle yourself and show your lack of attention, and I'm not going to be part of some one-sided attempt to boil my comments into some kind of straw-man argument. My point is it's awfully hypocritical to ban this particular flag without banning a lot of others for probably as great if not greater black spots.

I'll repeat it three times in hope that it gets through:

I'm against the hypocritical censorship.
I'm against the hypocritical censorship.
I'm against the hypocritical censorship.

With that, I'm done.

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Re: Confederate Flag
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2015, 12:05:11 PM »
Staying out of the larger discussion, but I'll note that it is by no means censorship for a government to refrain from or stop making a statement - which is all kylie was supporting.

Offline Retribution

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Re: Confederate Flag
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2015, 12:28:11 PM »
I do not really post here anymore though with this I suppose that statement does not apply. Not a comment pro or con when it comes to the Stars and Bars but just an observation.

This entire discussion over the appropriateness of the Confederate battle flag stems from a horrendous crime and tragedy. So while I understand how many are offended by the implications of said flag I fail to see how "banning" the flag will prevent other such tragedies. It seems like a knee jerk, will not accomplish anything but will make some people feel better reaction. Sadly that seems to be the response to most things in this day and age.

I am reminded of the line from the movie Animal House "this requires a meaningless and ultimately futile gesture by someone and we are just the guys to do it!"

Offline The Dark Raven

Re: Confederate Flag
« Reply #17 on: June 26, 2015, 02:48:18 PM »
I am going to comment here and not going any further to reply, because I am white-hot angry about this.  I was born and raised in the South, but not until college did I finally learn the full extent of the war.

1.  The flag flying on the grounds of the SC capital is the oblong "Rebel flag."  This is the Army of Tennesee's flag.  ANV was square with a white bordure.

2.  That flag, used in general design, was the rallying point for regiments of Confederate soldiers during the war.  Each flag was different.  Each flag was unique.  Each flag meant home to the men marching under it.

3.  This flag should not be immediately assumed it is a symbol of hate.  Extremists have co-opted it as a symbol of their racism and hatred.  That flag did not mean that.

4.  The Civil War was fought (from the Southern perspective) for the same reasons that the Colonies fought against Britain.  They were in favored economic relationships with Europe and England, buying prime goods (furniture, silver, fabric, etc) in trade for raw materials that thrived in the South (indigo, cotton, tobacco, rice, etc).  The South had a low industrialized society antebellum.  The North had already mechanized, and was trying to reproduce superior European product for sale.  The South wasn't buying from them, so the Washington government raised export/import tariffs on the states that were directly exporting to England (so they would buy the Northern products).  Slavery, while called the galvanizing issue of the war, was not.  Slavery was in the middle of burning itself out because it could not sustain itself.  England had abolished slavery in the Empire, but still kept indentured servitude in the Caribbean sugar plantations.  Workers still had to be hired to work the plantations that ran the economy.

5.  Slavery existed in the North as well as the South.  While the South is villified for slave ownership, those that had slaves (rich planters) more often than not were not able to afford their workforce and freed them before the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.  Others freed their slaves on the principle of the thing.  One such man was Robert E. Lee (he freed the Custis slaves at Arlington, and did not have others).  The rest of the "racist" Confederates were dirt-poor farmers that took up arms to defend the meager farms they lived on from invasion, and were lucky if they could afford food, let alone a slave.  Those were the men that died on the battlefields under that flag.  Men and boys protecting their livelihoods and their loved ones from invasion.

6.  The kid that killed the 9 people in the church sat in their prayer meeting and was moved by what he heard.  Unfortunately, not moved enough to not go through with the murder.  He is a self-proclaimed racist.  He used the flag like the KKK has used the same flag.  For hate out of a lack of understanding.

Offline Cycle

Re: Confederate Flag
« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2015, 04:42:44 PM »
Folks have been hostile to that flag for decades not because it was used in the Civil War, but because segregationist groups have been using it as their flag/symbol since the Civil Rights Era.  This article is worth reading:

Quote
Southerners serving overseas during World War II displayed the flag to project regional identity. Around the same time, the Ku Klux Klan adopted the flag as a symbol of its quest for white domination. Southern politicians, such as Strom Thurmond, a 1948 candidate for president from the Dixiecrat Party, also employed the flag as a totem of resistance to forced racial integration.

Also this article:

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In 1948, the newly-formed segregationist Dixiecrat party adopted the flag as a symbol of resistance to the federal government. In the years that followed, the battle flag became an important part of segregationist symbolism, and was featured prominently on the 1956 redesign of Georgia’s state flag, a legislative decision that was likely at least partly a response to the Supreme Court’s decision to desegregate school two years earlier. The flag has also been used by the Ku Klux Klan, though it is not the Klan’s official flag.

And this one:

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The Peach State’s flag was redesigned in 1956 to feature the Confederate battle flag following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision to desegregate schools across the nation. This was done to show the state’s resolve to preserve segregation.

After Charleston, things finally tipped.  But the momentum has been building for decades.

« Last Edit: June 26, 2015, 04:50:39 PM by Cycle »

Online ShadowFox89

Re: Confederate Flag
« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2015, 07:07:05 PM »
 Here's my question: If you can fly the Confederate Flag, then can I fly the Nazi one? Soviet Union one?

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Re: Confederate Flag
« Reply #20 on: June 26, 2015, 07:24:50 PM »
Quote from: Inkidu (for the peanut gallery anyway)
     Maybe, but yanking something down just because you don't like it is censorship of the worst kind. This is America, we allow Neo-Nazis to parade down the street lofting the Swastika, it would set up a nasty double standard.

       As private groups, and that alone is controversial enough.  Not as agencies of state government.

       I'm not so bothered if private individuals want to display that flag on their own property.  I'm also, again, not hugely bothered if someone wants to go and burn the standard American flag either -- you buy it, you can burn it if you are that upset about injustice in the world (or whatever really, for that matter).  And it's one thing if people want to say this or that Confederate flag represents something about independence or honor or sacrifice to them.  But it's another entirely if a state government is going to be encouraged to fly it in a country where it stood for sedition and the federal government did go to war against it. 

       That's without even getting around to slavery, but as Cycle says more elegantly: The racism aspect and legacy of slavery IS quite relevant the last few decades in particular.  If you read the quotations, most of the claims that many Blacks would even want to fight for the Confederacy only started after most of the veterans were dead.  That's in some significant part at least, because these claims are parts of arguments about (likely against!) contemporary civil rights. 

Quote
      That's half the answer, and only for a minority of landowners. The answer was they thought it was a state's rights issue. They thought that the states should retrain the right to decide if they wanted slaves or not (as wrong as that is). The federal government said no. It's not, "Our slaves are being taken away!" or "We want slaves!" it's, "We reserve the right to determine this on our own without the government dictating it!" Remember that the importation of slaves had already been dealt with, and the South was fine with that. They were dealing with the last issue on the table, and the issue wasn't whether slavery was right or wrong, it was who gets to decide.
     Reading the various secession declarations, and particularly South Carolina's where facts like the specific laws against portions of the slave trade (including importation) figure quite prominently?  That's not how it looks to me at all.  I can see it being both, but I can't see it not being a vote for slavery.  That is also somehow going to great trouble to miss all the Civilization and White Man's Burden and Will of Deity rhetoric which is very much there.


Quote
The American, British, has the Dutch flag changed since they began running slaves? It seems awfully hypocritical to ban one single flag without banning any flag that has a checkered past.
     
    This seems to be the crux of Inkidu's argument.  Granted we don't tear down a flag because every two-bit criminal might happen to approve of it, even today.  But I don't see Germany flying Nazi flags left and right from government buildings today, either.  Some things we generally recognize have affronted not only the state, but many of its people in ways that are so historically vile that today they are taken to mean something undesirable.  And here the question is what does a communal government wish to display or emphasize. 

      After that it turns into "That one is just as bad" kind of fuss, which I'm not entirely convinced makes sense particularly today.  It's too "easy" to make that argument when the regime that raised the Confederate flag isn't really alive anymore to be analyzed.  Perhaps it's particularly easy, when some try to ignore half the documentation they did leave behind which is just seeped in racist language and slavery mentioned over and over and over.

     This sort of argument would be more convincing perhaps, if it ran more to the tune of NO government should really need a flag, or not a flag different from any other point in geography or history.  Why does the president have to walk around with a flag lapel pin all the time anyway?  After all, flags get in the way.  Didn't he start wearing that flag when the US declared "war without limits" on terrorism [and 'anything else' it could catch in the bargain like Iraq]?  It's maybe a better argument to ask what people can get done without flags being up all the time. 
 
« Last Edit: June 26, 2015, 07:28:30 PM by kylie »

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Re: Confederate Flag
« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2015, 07:31:56 PM »
Folks have been hostile to that flag for decades not because it was used in the Civil War, but because segregationist groups have been using it as their flag/symbol since the Civil Rights Era.  This article is worth reading:

Also this article:

And this one:

After Charleston, things finally tipped.  But the momentum has been building for decades.

You kidding me? Look at Ku Klux Klan pictures, many of them can also be seen waving an American Flag.

Offline itsbeenfun2000

Re: Confederate Flag
« Reply #22 on: June 26, 2015, 07:35:47 PM »
I am coming in a late on this discussion but want to weigh in.

First off no one is banning the Confederate flag. Anyone that wants one can have one. Any one that wants a Soviet flag can have one they are not outlawed. It is not the flag that is the issue. It is this, is this a flag that should or should not be flown over public buildings. It symbolizes a group of people who rebelled against the United States and loss. It is now, and has been for years, also being used by hate groups to intimidate others. I find it strange that the losing side of a war would be allowed to fly a flag over public buildings. We certainly did not continue to allow the Union Jack to be flown after the revolution, even though some of the colonists supported England, over the public buildings in those areas where England was supported.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2015, 08:02:21 PM by itsbeenfun2000 »

Offline Oniya

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Re: Confederate Flag
« Reply #23 on: June 26, 2015, 07:40:48 PM »
Just as a point, the reason that we don't see Germany flying Nazi flags - well - anywhere really, is because it is forbidden to wear or publicly show Nazi symbols in Germany.  It is also not legal to import or manufacture items with Nazi symbols, according to the German criminal code.  It is legal to buy and own items from the Nazi period if the Nazi symbols are taped off and covered.   

http://www.dw.com/en/the-right-approach-to-nazi-memorabilia/a-17573542

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Confederate Flag
« Reply #24 on: June 26, 2015, 07:49:24 PM »
You kidding me? Look at Ku Klux Klan pictures, many of them can also be seen waving an American Flag.
But the modern American flag is not and never has been shorthand for "KKK", in the way that the confederate flag has been shorthand for "white supremacy". By flying that flag, a government endorses the concepts for which it stands - which, in the eyes of a lot of people, including the supporters that first popularized it, begin with "white superiority".