Confederate flag: don’t ban it — but why fly it?

A flag can mean many things to many people. From the stripes and the stars to the colors, everything has a meaning and a purpose. The Confederate flag, like all flags, stands for something bigger than just embroidered cloth.

The Confederate flag stands for a major piece of American history. It stands for a time of racial oppression, segregation and subjugation. Despite it being part of America’s darker history, is it right to ban it from all public venues?

It’s understandable to ban the flag from city and state- owned properties because they represent the people of that state and city as a whole. However, when it comes down to individuals and private property, people should be allowed to display what they want.

“If an individual wants to fly their flag, I think that’s okay. Just as it should be okay for me to fly the African pride flag,” said former academic dean Adrienne Israel.

Since the Dylann Roof shooting that took the lives of nine African Americans at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church earlier this summer, the Confederate flag has been under severe reanalysis. The meaning of the flag has come back into question, and under new social norms, has been given either a negative or positive slant.

Senior Andrew Shearer said that the Confederate flag is “a flag of interpretation.”

Some see the flag as only a symbol of racial oppression without any historical context behind it. Some see it as Southern pride. They see it representing a time where the South took a stand to preserve a way of life and ignore that it included racial oppression and slavery. Then there are those like senior and President of Guilford College Republicans Harrison Houlihan.

“I don’t need the flag to show that I’m proud of the South,” said Houlihan.

Those who support the flag want to separate the racist systems from the historical heritage that it represents.

“When people talk about their heritage as Southerners, they exclude non-white people who are equally Southern from claiming that same heritage,” said Associate Professor of Philosophy Vance Ricks.

The problem is, how can you separate racial systems from a heritage that was all about an oppressive racial system? This has become the real question in the banning of the Confederate flag.

Since the lowering of the Confederate flag in South Carolina, several stores such as Walmart, Sears and K-Mart, as well as online vendors like Amazon and eBay, have banned sales of Confederate flag merchandise. They have made it clear that their companies have nothing to do with the negative effects of the flag on the African American community.

“When the flag is taken out of the immediate context of the Civil War, it becomes, whether they want it to or not, a symbol of racial images,” said Associate Professor of History Damon Akins.

The removal of the Confederate flag is a small but valuable step in the right direction. However, it is important not to remain idle, since more of these steps are needed to reach a more ideal racial system.

“It’s not the goal to get rid of the flag, it’s to get rid of what the flag represents,” Israel said.