Sunday, June 28, 2015

I Am Glad the Confederate Flag is Down in South Carolina, But Not That Way

When two activists climbed the flagpole and removed the Confederate flag - or more accurately, the Segregationist Flag - from the South Carolina capitol grounds, they acted wrongly, I believe.

It would have been more powerful to have the elected governor of the state take the flag down, as she has already pledged to do. In fact, now South Carolina has to put the flag back up, so that they can take it down the right way.

What makes it all the sweeter is that this particular governor, of Asian descent, would also have been branded non-white by the segregationists who erected the flag in the first place.


Mac said...

Shame on you, Professor. If you are going to re-write history, do so honestly. What you called the "Segregationist Flag" is the Battle Flag of the Confederate States of America. You know, those people who fought a bloody civil war from 1861-1865 to maintain the original Constitution, the one of strictly limited federal power with the rest being retained "by the States, or the People." Is Centre now going to write the Civil War out of its History curriculum so as not to offend some people? And by the way, I had three ancestors who fought in that War, all for the Union. Two of my great, great grandfathers were killed in action and one great grandfather was a 12 year old drummer boy for an Illinois infantry regiment. I am sure they would have told you that the men who fought under that flag were good soldiers and as generally honorable as the soldiers in any army. Shame!

Gruntled said...

The battle flag of some Confederate military units for a few years was not an important symbol of the Civil War. It became an important political symbol from opposition to desegregation and the Civil Rights movement. It was not flown over the South Carolina capitol until 1961. It's main political meaning is as the flag of twentieth century segregation, which was why it is still used by white supremacists like the Charleston shooter. Recognizing this racist meaning is why Republican leaders have finally joined Democratic leaders in calling for its removal from official use.

Mac said...

Granted, in part. But to now say that the gift shops at Gettysburg and Sharpsburg and Chancellorsville, et al. may no longer sell items bearing depictions of that flag is historical revisionism of the worst sort. It is like the time in 1984 when the NPS Superintendent at Chancellorsville sought to refuse to allow The Basic School at Marine Corps Base, Quantico to have student officers march Jackson's flanking movement as the final 20 mile hike of its hiking program. His reason: "This is a park for the people. There is no room for a bunch of people with uniforms and guns marching around here." I suppose Joe Hooker might agree--his lads did a lot of marching ... and then running.

The Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of the Interior had lunch and that was resolved in our favor. (I was the Action Officer for that, so I am using a primary resource here.) The political process worked--slowly, on matters of little import, as it always should, but worked. The same is happening at Statehouse throughout the South. But the over-reaction is stunning.

Barry said...

The Confederate flag(battle flag of some Southern units and symbol of resistance to civil rights in the modern era) was flown by people who were traitors to the USA and fought and killed soldiers fighting under the stars and stripes flag of the USA. It, like all flags, is highly infused with symbolism, and those who fly it or any flag are making a point.