Why This Flag Bothers Me

I’m going to try my best to dumb down my language in this post. To basically over simplify things. Why? Because the reasons I keep seeing and hearing as to why the confederate flag is A-OK are very simple. So I’ll return the favor.

Confederate_Flag

1. The American Civil War, also known as the War between the States or simply the Civil War, was a civil war fought from 1861 to 1865 between the United States (the “Union” or the “North”) and several Southern slave states that declared their secession and formed the Confederate States of America (the “Confederacy” or the “South”). (source)

2. There is a reason why the states that wanted to the secede the Union were slave states: In the 1860 presidential election, Republicans, led by Abraham Lincoln, opposed expanding slavery into United States’ territories. Lincoln won, but before his inauguration on March 4, 1861, seven cotton-based slave states formed the Confederacy, confident that “King Cotton” was so essential to the European economy that Britain and France would intervene against the Union. None did and none recognized the new Confederate States of America. (source)

See when and where slavery was abolished in Britain, France and around the world right HERE.

3. Those southern slave states wanted to continue keeping human beings as slaves, as property, to keep the status quo of having free labor and the resulting sky high profit margins. So much so, that they were willing – and did – go to war to defend the lifestyle to which they were accustomed. A lifestyle built and maintained solely on the backs of slaves.

4. The confederate flag like the one pictured above is actually a version of the “battle flag” and is representative of the “nation” consisting of eventual 13 slave states that seceded. It is also known as the rebel flag, Dixie flag, and Southern cross. It is the flag of the states that wanted to keep slavery in America alive and kicking, and not only that, expand it into territories that did not have slavery.

5. When you fly that flag you cannot divorce it from its origins. You can tell me it simply represents “southern pride“. Yet you remain silent when I ask you to define what exactly southern pride is or means. Fly a flag of a peach tree or a mint julep or something. Or fly the flag of the particular southern state you live in or come from. That should cover southern pride. Some of those states still incorporate the confederate flag (or versions of same) within their state flag, (Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi) so that should bring you some joy.

6. The confederate states or “nation” as they wanted to be thought of LOST THE CIVIL WAR. Confederate nationalism died. American nationalism triumphed. The national political power of the slave owners and rich southerners ended.

*****

“The south shall rise again!” Umm no, it won’t. Making war against the Union seemed a traitorous act to me. Waving the confederate flag around in this day and age also seems traitorish to me. My opinions. (But also remember that the American colonies were declared traitors by royal decree for rebelling and warring against Great Britain. So my opinions are not so far fetched). And what do you mean by the south rising again actually? The south was awesome because they had slavery going on. Good luck rising again with your own bootstraps. Check your reality.

My own recent experience with that flag: My directly across the street neighbors had this HUGE confederate flag spread out over the front of their house. The fact that they felt the need to hang that flat on the outside of their house spoke volumes to me. For about a year I had to see that thing every time I looked out my front window, went to get my mail and driving in and out of my driveway.

Some of my other neighbors (white males, mostly war veterans) – those living next to me in our little cul-de-sac – thought they might go over there and have a talk with the flag neighbor. They weren’t too happy about that flag either. I told them they could do what they liked, but there are some people you just can’t talk to. I felt that those people where examples of those types and it would do no good. Thankfully, the Saga Of The Flag ended on its own. They either moved or took down the flag. Good riddance either way.

*****

That flag bothers me because it symbolizes a large chunk of Americans who were willing to go to war against their own in order to keep my great great grandmother in chains, and profit from her pain and subjugation. It tells me that whoever is flying it, wearing it on a t-shirt, incorporating it on their onstage musical performances, has it tatooed on their skin etc believes as those Americans did, and is proud to show their solidarity for and with those people.

Saying that the confederate flag, and flying it means none of those things and is merely a symbol of the always mentioned “southern pride” is revisionist, naive, insulting and well just plain cowardly. Like the neo-nazi who proudly shows off his swastika tats: OWN YOUR SHIT. You know exactly why you are flying that flag and to not admit it – well don’t bother flying it, I say. Think of all those boys in grey rolling in their graves as you deny your pride in what they fought and died for. Tsk, tsk. Shame on you.

Let’s be REAL.

You don’t really care why that flag bothers me. You don’t really care if it bothers me. If you really had that tried and true, ride or die southern pride than what me or any other Black person thinks or feels about your flag and your flag flying ways is of little matter and/or consequence to you.

Buuuut since the south did lose the war, and slavery was subsequently abolished, and it hasn’t been illegal – on pain of death mind you – for me to learn how to read and write for centuries now, I get to say what I think and feel on the subject.

And I don’t care that you don’t care.

How cool is that?

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About Awake BW

Like my writing? Support & Donations accepted: paypal.me/AwakeBW Black Celibate Buddhist Nun Insomniac Wordsmith Womanist Our Lady Of The Two Black Cats Educated Bodhisattva This Week in Blackness Podcast FOREVER! #TWiBNation
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2 Responses to Why This Flag Bothers Me

  1. mamajohnston says:

    I completely agree with you that the flag represents a nation that wanted to keep slavery and therefore shouldn’t be flown. Unless you want to promote slavery. Or it’s part of some historical monument. But I wanted to add to your comment that Great Britain and France didn’t support the Confederate states. France actually wanted to acknowledge them from the very beginning, but they wouldn’t without GB joining in. GB wanted to wait a while and see if the Confederacy could maintain itself through war (especially since the Union sent them a note saying they would consider them an enemy if they acknowledged the South). The two countries were weeks away in 1862 from officially acknowledging the Confederacy until the Battle of Antietam, in which the South lost. They thought the war was against humanity not because of slavery but that it was preventing cotton from making it to Europe and Europe’s factories were shutting down. Only after the Emancipation Proclamation did they jump on the anti-slavery bandwagon.

    • Awake BW says:

      I always thought that was interesting. Like your so-called buddies standing around while you’re fighting someone. “If you win, we’ll totally jump in and help” or “hey, are YOU going to jump in?” “I dunno – are YOU?” Must not have needed (American) cotton THAT much – not even willing to see if three against one would work out.

      Globally, I find each country’s journey towards eventual abolition fascinating. And to see how people view those times and that journey now here in the present. Also fascinating.

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