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Is the US Flag or the Confederate Flag More Racist?

In response to yesterday’s article for Confederate Slavery Memorial Day, pointing out that the Confederacy’s own top leaders admitted that their Southern rebel nation was created for the purpose of racism, one of our frequent readers, Dave, argued that the Confederate Battle Flag was no more racist than the flag of the United States of America. As Dave rightly pointed out, the US flag stood for slavery for many years.

Dave wrote, “Speaking of symbols of racism, Rowan, the stars and bars are no more a symbol of it than the stars and stripes. The American flag was the first flag of the two to fly over a nation of slavery. Slavery, for example, was not outlawed in New York until 1827. Perhaps the more cosmopolitan and unbigoted view would denounce the current U.S. flag as the first symbol of “racism.”

First, we should acknowledge that the US flag has represented racism, to the extent that the United States of America itself has long been a racist nation. For most of its history, that racism was a matter of official government policy. Before the Civil War, racism was national policy. After the Civil War, racism became more regionally and locally based, though until recent times, there have been racist federal policies.

It’s a fact that the United States has long stood for racism. So, it’s important that Americans repudiate this racist past, and oppose politicians, like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, who try to perpetuate it.

If we compare the United States as a whole with the Confederate States of America, however, there’s no question which nation had a worse record on racism. The United States began a long road of progress toward repudiation of racism starting during the Civil War. The Confederacy, however, never made any effort to stand against racism.

In fact, the central purpose of the Confederate States of America, throughout its entire history, was to perpetuate a racist system of power, including slavery. You just can’t say that about the USA in general.

Confederate Flags Are Racism Embodied

What’s more, the Confederate flag was designed explicitly with racism in mind. You don’t have to take my word for it. Take the word of William Thompson, who helped design one version of the Confederate flag, and spoke of the symbolism of the colors on the flag, saying, “As a people we are fighting to maintain the heavenly ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race; a white flag would thus be emblematical of our cause. Upon a red field would stand fourth our southern cross, Gemmed, preserving in beautiful contrast the red, white and blue. Such a flag would be a suitable emblem of our young confederacy, and sustained by the brave hearts and strong arms of the south, it would soon take rank among the proudest ensigns of the nations, and be hailed by the civilized world as The White Man’s Flag.

No designer of the flag of the USA ever wrote such a blatantly racist thing about their intentions. The Confederate flag wins, hands down, the title of the more racist flag.

One thought on “Is the US Flag or the Confederate Flag More Racist?”

  1. Dave says:

    A good post, Rowan. As I also said, those who fly Confederate battle flags probably see it more as a symbol of resistance to tyranny, and I should add nationalism, and the irony seems to be lost on them. When you get ‘m straightened out you can go after those who fly the American Flag, you know, the one the U.S. flew during the “Indian wars” in which tens of thousands of native Americans were killed. I’ve seen every single presidential candidate campaigning and using the U.S. flag as a prop; what does that say about those people and their supporters?

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