A Flag and the Fatal Intersection of Heritage and Hate

It shouldn’t have taken the slaughter of nine innocent people worshipping at a Charleston, South Carolina black church to get some people to rethink their embrace of the Confederate flag. The alleged killer was not only a racist but also someone who appears to have immersed himself in the symbols of the Confederacy. This has resurrected the discussion about the flag that has raged off and on ever since the south was forced to give up official segregation. The fact that the stars and bars flies over the grounds of the South Carolina State House (though no longer over the capitol itself) adds fuel to the fire over the debate. This is to a certain extent an attempt to latch onto something tangible to explain an act of unspeakable evil. A flag didn’t kill nine African-Americans in a historic church and those who honor it in the name of their southern heritage can’t be held personally responsible for those murders. But it is time for those who care about southern history to come face to face with the meaning of their history. The Confederate flag may be an icon of a “lost cause” that some Americans view as harmless nostalgia or a connection with their ancestors. But it is also a symbol of a government founded in defense of racism and slavery and has no place in civil society in 2015.

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A Flag and the Fatal Intersection of Heritage and Hate

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