Symbols have always been an important part of our history, and this past week there has been a great deal of discussion about one particular symbol – the Confederate Flag. I know there are so many opinions on this subject, and yes, I have decided to add my voice to the increasing chorus of discussion around this topic.
If you have not seen the movie, The Davinci Code, in the beginning segment of the movie the main character, Robert Langdon, gives a lecture about our history with symbols. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THWrno6lBUQ)
The conversation about the Confederate flag seems to be all over social media. Is it a symbol of racism and hatred or simply a symbol of southern heritage?
I responded to a Facebook post asking our opinion about “Do you agree with the movement to take down the Confederate flag?”
Here is my response:
I Love the fact that this pathetic shooter wanted to not only hurt black people, but start a race war and he has succeeded, but not the kind he envisioned. His actions started a tidal wave of public support for the removal of this flag. The confederate flag is a symbol of racism, and anyone who denies that has his head in the sand. The confederacy was based on a slave economy and the civil war was fought to preserve their way of life, which included slavery. Acknowledging that fact is important. We cannot as a people simply deny our history. In addition to that, various hate groups have adopted this flag to represent their cause, further cementing its racist symbolism. This is why this flag needs to be removed from 'official' Government buildings. If a private citizen wants to fly this flag, that's their right, but it is not acceptable to fly a symbol of hatred over any government facility. The fact that Walmart & Amazon have chosen to remove the flag from their sales inventory is their choice as a business, and it is a wise consumer choice in my opinion, since there is a clear public sentiment against the flag. A business has the right to sell the flag if it wants to, and if an individual wants to buy and or display the flag they also have that right, no matter how detestable some of us may find it, but that is very different that using the flag in any official capacity.
Naturally – I was immediately called stupid and ignorant. I expected that, I had the audacity to express my opinion, but it still does make me sad that our society has degraded so much, that we cannot have any type of discussion without retreating into ugliness.
I am neither stupid nor ignorant, I do have an opinion though and I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. I know that as a person with Jewish heritage, I would react strongly to seeing a flag with a swastika. Interestingly, if I were Hindu, the swastika would have an entirely different meaning. Long before Hitler used and perverted that symbol, it was actually a symbol of prosperity to Hindus. I do understand that we will all see symbols differently based on our own backgrounds.
I can only imagine that if my heritage included former slaves, that I would react strongly to seeing a confederate flag, and especially if it was in a prominent position at a government building.