Monday, June 22, 2015

On the Confederate Flag

It seems that many people are deciding to throw their anger and fear of the recent church massacre in South Carolina onto the Confederate flag.  It has prompted me to remind the present public about the culture of the past.  The North won and the victors always control the history of any given event.  Most Americans are brought up to believe that the North were outstanding, upstanding citizens while those in the South were uncouth and horrid.

In the 1860’s, some of, what we now call African-Americans, fought alongside some white people from the South, that is, on the side of the Confederates.  The North would not hear of such a thing.  They had the non-white participants fight in a group set aside from the white fighters, except for a white leader (and that wasn’t a compliment.)  These soldiers were not allowed to march in the victory parade with the North.  Their celebrations came later.  (It is intellectualizing to argue that 200,000 black men’s terms had not expired; therefore, they were still out doing their duty.  What, all of them were conveniently away?  There were no white men with terms not yet expired who could have gone to keep the peace, or whatever the excuse was, if in fact there is any legitimacy to the story?)  The last documented slave in America (that I know about) was sold in Delaware in 1865.  The North waited until it was outlawed in December 1865 with the ratification of the 13th Amendment before they would stop participating in the slave trade.  Grant, the famed leader of the North who went on to become president, was married to a slave owner.

My point is, people living today think that people from the North back then were not prejudice. Thousands of men who fought for the North were indeed prejudice against the black people around them, yet people today are not shouting for the American flag to be taken down.  And so they should not.  The American flag stands for so much more…as does the Confederate flag to many people in this country. 

People placing their hatred onto a flag is no better, nor any healthier, than people placing their hatred on a group of people.  If people wish to rise above hatred, they have to first recognize when they themselves are participating in it.

1 comment:

  1. And let us not forget the countless Native Americans who were slaughtered by armies carrying the American flag, not the Confederate flag.