Take Down The Confederate Flag Argues South Carolina Legislator


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The Atlantic

Take Down The Confederate Flag Argues South Carolina Legislator


Across the country, a chorus of voices is growing louder for the removal of the Confederate Battle Flag from the South Carolina state Capitol grounds in Columbia. The outrage over the flag’s continued presence follows the horrific murders of nine African-Americans in a historic Charleston church, allegedly at the hands of 21-year-old Dylann Roof.

As more information is revealed about Roof, it becomes increasingly clear that he had become radicalized by studying white supremacist rhetoric online — rhetoric symbolized by the Confederate flag. In a number of photos, Roof appears with the flag.

Attempting to clean up history

Proponents of keeping the flag flying at the South Carolina Capitol have attempted to rewrite history, indicating that the state’s secession during the Civil War was about something other than the preservation of slavery. A look at the writings of the war’s instigators quickly disproves this idea, but the flag continues to fly at the state’s Capitol.

Today, the Confederate Battle Flag serves as the symbol for some of the most hateful members of society and the hate groups like neo-confederates that give them voice. These groups contend that all citizens are not equal, and South Carolina is home to more such hate groups than is any other state.

Associated Press

The flag’s defenders

Defenders of the Confederate flag’s display traditionally argue that its continued presence and acceptance among some segments of the population is about “heritage, not hate.” But Roof clearly used the flag as a symbol of hate, and the symbol’s history does not oppose that use.

Obviously, not everyone who supports the continued presence of the Confederate Battle Flag at the statehouse means harm to our African-American brothers and sisters. But surely they realize the offense and harm it causes, along with the possibility — and, in the case of Roof, the certainty — that it will be used to fuel acts of hate. The flag is, indeed, a way of honoring Southern heritage. Sadly, that heritage is one of oppression, violence and injustice against other human beings.

Citizens join forces to demand removal

Some of the calls for the flag’s removal are coming from surprising sources, including traditionally conservative Republicans like Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush. Despite their positions in the past, even those with conservative views are realizing that this long-standing symbol of hate and oppression can no longer fly in our public spaces.

A majority of Americans now view the Confederate Battle Flag as a loathsome connection to some of our country’s most heinous and cruel social norms, including the era of slavery along with the decades of injustice that followed — injustice that continues today.

The vast majority of Americans are tired of looking away, and we’re tired of being silenced by those on the right who shout “heritage” in the face of any criticism of the Confederate Battle Flag flying prominently in our public spaces. It’s time to take it down. Now.


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