Old Dixie. My first encounter with the Confederate battle flag was before I was too young to understand much of anything. The Dukes of Hazzard. I was four years old and that show had me captivated with every car jump and yee-haw!! Of course, as most of you know, the General Lee was the center piece of this wildly popular series at the time. This orange muscle car that had this tremendous flag painted on its roof. This, to me, signified freedom, action and adventure. To fly through the air! Yes!
It was not until I became a teen, that I understood a more mature, full take on the flag. This battle flag was the call sign for many militias in the South fighting for its one cause: to keep practicing slavery. One reason: to enslave the African American population. Let me reiterate something. The Confederacy was formed for one commonality-Slavery.
During the Confederacy’s time, there were three national flags. But this flag was used to better distinguish the South (Stars and Bars) from the North with its own Stars and Stripes, during battle. The fight to defend a man’s right to have slaves.
“This flag is a symbol of my heritage.” Or “My great-great grandfather fought for this flag, and he didn’t own any slaves”. These are arguments that I hear most in why people fly this flag. Most times, in the back window of a pick-up truck. But I have seen it in the back windows of cars as well. Or as make-shift curtains in houses. While I can respect a person’s pride in their roots, I cannot begin to understand how therecan be a pride in something that signifies only one point – That several states were willing to secede so that white men could continue to own black people. So that the Caucasian man could own another people in the same way that they owned livestock and land and do with them as they saw fit. The South fought to OWN blacks. End of story. There are other weak arguments that float around, but when you strip away all of the half truths, and myths, this point stands fast. And this flag is synonymous with this “heritage”.
And herein lies the issues of subtleties of racism for me. When a person sounds genuine in their effort in trying to explain their intention devoid of the past, any sort of history or tie to the mass perception of a point, they are perpetuating the atrocity. When a person says “I am just flying this flag because my great-granddad fought under it.” They are in effect stating that the slavery that was upheld under this flag is not as important as their fore-father fighting under that flag to uphold those ideologies. This is the message that is being put forth.
No matter how you wrap it, spin it, deliver it, this is the message: Slavery is not as important to me as [insert whatever contrived disillusion that one can come up with].