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Is the Confederate Flag a symbol of racism? - General Civil War Talk - Civil War Talk - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Sun Apr 9th, 2006 01:40 pm
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Ulysses
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Shadowrebel..Thanks for your Post. I did not think I attacked your character and apologize if my response came through thatway. Keep in mind, the POST originally dealt with 'Is the Confederate Battle Flag A Racist Symbol?' I say YES, you say "NO". I find it fascinating that so many "SHADOW" (not a reference to you) explanations are brought to the table based on that one question.  Most such statements are used to misdirect our attention from the question itself.  The early colonists traitors?  Yes, they were. That was their own assessment....you know,..."we all hang together or we will hang separately", etc. You probably read that an ancestor was Franklin Buchanan and if you have read any bios on him, you know that Thomas McKean, signer of the Declaration, Col.in the 4th Battalion,etc is an ancestor. (5x Gr-Grandfather to me), so I grew up with access to a lot of personal notes left by Pappy McKean. I guess I am guilty of aiding the word "slavery" to dominate our exchanges here on this issue...when it should be shared with my distaste for so-called  'white-supremecy'.  I do not want to ban the Reb battleflag...but try to REMOVE it from the hands of hate groups....afterall, that's what the Civil War Southern Heritage groups claim they want,too. So, I try not to look at the 18-19th Centuries with 21st Century eyes.  Those who claim their Southern Heritage (CW era interest groups or independent parties such as yourself) want to display the flag in support of that period history, my proposal changes nothing,and nothing is "banned". Think it through. THEY claim they want it taken away from those 'hate' groups...and  seem to be clueless on what to do. And if you saw these same history/heritage groups putting up that Banner on even the most public of buildings to resist school integration....I am sure you would see the racism in that.The current leadership of the SCV even openly acknowleges that part of their "heritage", and says it's membership should recognize this.  They hold National Elections in August, so let's see how they approach this .  Thanks again  for your POST...again I respect your opinion and your right to debate them. Why not tell us YOUR plan to solving this situation...or do you think everything is just OK the way it is?....Ulysses

 



 Posted: Sun Apr 9th, 2006 02:04 pm
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Shadowrebel
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Javal1,

Thank you for not allowing anyone to repeat the mistake I made in my first post. I really took no offense to Ulysses post, but did not want to start any character assaults. He is quite passionate about his feels and I repect that. I will repond to your reply this afternoon.

Thanks

Shadowrebel



 Posted: Sun Apr 9th, 2006 09:32 pm
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Shadowrebel
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Javal,

   My point about no living ex-slaves is that if you do not actually experience something you cannot know what it is like. There are many conflicting accounts about slavery. I do not think slavery was right no matter when in history it occurred. My other point is that slavery existed for centuries. Why does the South get the blame for its existence? The North did not exactly fight hard to eliminate it. The Civil War did not start over slavery, it was one part of it certainly not the main factor. I never said the flag should be flown over public domains rather that the people of the South have the right to use it to honor the brave who fought for what they believed in as long as it is on their private property. Your and Ulysses point about where it should be allowed is fine, but what is wrong with a property owner displaying it if they wish? At no time should anything be used to degrade another.

   As for the fact that slavery was legal, before the Civil War is that no one seems offended by this. I have never stated there is any justification for slavery. On the contrary, I have stated that there is not any reason that can justify slavery. I am well aware of the history of slavery. The issue of slavery was a States issue not a Constitutional issue before 1865 when slavery was outlawed. The states in the South did not want to give up any of their rights prior to the war, after which the were forced to by having to ban slavery to be re-admitted to the Union. This should have been done long before they were forced to.

   I agree that there is no “good side” I think both are just as bad.

   Finally, I think do not think that allowing for historical events to display the flag is a partial ban, rather not allowing private citizen to display it on their private property is where the ban come from. I believe both sides have a right to their history, what the compromise is; I think forgiveness is the place to start along with laws to punish those who chose to use historical items or any other means to promote racism or any other troublemaking. I think both sides have a right to their heritage and that with understanding and compassion both can co-exist.

   I hope I have cleared up any points that were not clear. I think you have valid arguments on both side. Thank you for the great forum to express your thoughts.

Sincerely,

John



 Posted: Mon Apr 10th, 2006 12:52 am
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Shadowrebel
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Ulysses,

   You are lucky to have ancestors from both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. It must be interesting to read what they had to say back then. Your post did come across as an attack; however, I take no offense, as I do not feel you intended harm. Your are passionate about your believes, as am I, I respect that and will use your and others post as an educational opportunity.

   I also think that much of the controversy surrounding the Rebel flag is about “white supremacy”. Hate groups have no business using history to further their agendas, nor do they have a place in a decent society. I just do not think those who wish to honestly honor their ancestors who fought or died for their believes should on their private property be allowed to display the flag. I have no argument with your and Javals’ position where the flag can be displayed in public as long as it is not used to degrade anyone. I see racism in any use of history that harms another. Many Southern group take a stance about their heritage that rubs me the wrong way. Hiding behind your heritage to promote unethical and immoral behavior is offensive.

   I would begin to resolve the issue by forgiveness and compassion for all involved. No person today is responsible for slavery that caused the problem, so to forgive past wrongs and have compassion for both sides is only natural. I would enforce the current laws against racism and create new laws to deal with the improper use of history (in this case the Rebel flag) to create racism and any other intentional abuse. I promote education as a tool for understanding any issue. If more people would study the period and understand what was happening they might be more willing to work to end the controversy. Since slavery has been around for centuries, it will take some time to end the feelings created by it. Unfortunately, things need much fixing and are far from the way they should be.

   I feel I take my views of history from the context of what was happening at the time and am a little more open minded about and forgiving of the past. That may not be a great statement on my opinions, but I really do not know how else to put it.

   I look forward to reading your post on any subject here. You have many good points and are open minded about others and that is all anyone can ask of another. It would be a dull forum if all agreed. Thank you for your insight and comments on my post.

Regards,

John



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 Posted: Fri Apr 14th, 2006 04:23 pm
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MAubrecht
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I am torn on this particular subject... Many of the southern re-enactors that I know choose not to "recognize" the 34-Star Flag, but take the same pride as the rest of us in the 50-Star version. They do not "blatantly" disrespect the 34, but feel that it would be inappropriate to pay "homage" to the banner of the Union - especially when their ancestor died at the hands of forces that marched under it. I can see this "in theory". I tend to ask myself, "Would Jackson, or Stuart, or Lee, or whoever "recognize" the 34? Probably not - as to them - it was ultimately the banner of a "foreign power". However, I do believe that they would definitely acknowledge and respect the 50-Star today as it represents all of us - united again. 

Likewise, I would think the more serious Federal portrayers would not "salute" the Stars and Bars or CSA Battle Flag. Either way, I think we can all agree that the 50-Star (or any US flags following the 34) represent a united country and deserve to be recognized by all Americans.

Last edited on Fri Apr 14th, 2006 04:45 pm by MAubrecht



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 Posted: Fri Apr 14th, 2006 07:31 pm
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MAubrecht
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I'd keep in mind that the 34 star flag DOES include those states that made up the Confederacy
This is entirely true.

I cannot comment first hand on this specific dilemma, as my ancestry is not represented on either side of the Civil War. However, if I had a relative that was killed under another military's banner (any banner - from any war), I would probably not "acknowledge it" in an equal fashion as I do my own flag. Now I understand that we are discussing THE WAR BETWEEN THE STATES and a domestic Civil War with Americans killing Americans, but there is still documented political and theological division there that must be acknowledged.

Perhaps a few hundred years from now the re-enacting community will have "moved forward" on the historical timeline and the Gulf War (or Iraq conflict) will be the "Civil War" of the day. I would not expect relatives of our soldiers that are killed today to pay an equal respect to a Republican Guard's flag. It's very PC to say that we are beyond all of this, and we are friends, and have moved on etc. (in regards to all wars), but I think that you have to take your ancestor's first-hand experiences and beliefs into consideration when looking at the remembrance of history.

If they protested a flag enough to secede from their country and [in regards to officers] a government and military that they had served admirably in order to take up arms and fight (and die) against it, then their beliefs (within the context of that time period) certainly are worth making an allowance for.

I guess it also comes down to the concept of value. Do you value that opinion and belief of your family’s ancestry enough to "acknowledge" it today? I don't know the answer to that question and I don't think there is necessarily a right or wrong one here.

Disrespecting a flag of honor (any flag) is obviously wrong, but you cannot expect (or force) everybody from both sides of a war to embrace the other's flag with an equal adoration as they do their own. If so, then what did they fight and die for? And why do you memorialize them? One again, it must be viewed within the proper period and context.

It’s all too “Can’t we all just get along’ish” and that doesn’t quite work for me. Honesty and integrity, and the debate and sharing of opposing ideals and beliefs are what America is all about.

Last edited on Fri Apr 14th, 2006 08:32 pm by MAubrecht



 Posted: Sat Apr 15th, 2006 01:29 am
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Shadowrebel
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   Since the Confererate flag was the one the Hunley crew chose to fight under they should be buried with the flag they chose to fight for. It is similar to the Korean War which was a United Nations police action fought by a multi-force. Should the Americans who died in that war have been buried under the flag of the U.N.? No they fought and died under the U.S. flag by choice. I know it is not exactly the same, but similar in regard to two different flags.

Should the U.S. flag be flown at the Hunley service? That should have been left up to the wishes of the families of the crew. If any had objections then their wishes should be honored. One has to remember the time the events took place to make a judgement.

This is an issue of history and should not be mixed with the issues of the Rebel battle flag of today. Let these men have their dignity and place in history.

  As for the battle flag being a symbol of racism for 140 years I agree with Savez, but would put the time frame in the latter half of the 20th century or the 21st century.

John



 Posted: Sat Apr 15th, 2006 02:31 am
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Harry
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If I am not mistaken, I believe the men of the Hunley were given proper military honors under the flag they served. Two good friends of mine were involved in the recovery and excavations of the Hunley. One of them served as a pall bearer as well. U.S military color guards were also present to honor these fallen sailors.

As far as saluting the stars and bars or the battle flag, I am one Federal reenactor who will salute during a pass and review. My military service taught me--among other things--to respect the flags of all.



 Posted: Sat Apr 15th, 2006 02:16 pm
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Ulysses
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Friends...I have been reading the latest posts regarding the  "Confederate Battle Flag as a Racist Symbol (or not)", and I see once again the  attempt to "MISDIRECT" our attention by downplayingthe role of the KKK in history. It was MY claim that the Battle flag as a symbol of hate was used for  140 years, while appeared on the battle field for only about  3 years (though NEVER recognized by the Confederacy as an 'officially' adopted flag).  Formed in June 1866 by six Confederate veterans, the group spread like wildfire throughout the South and it quickly became a vehicle for hooded terrorism.  The KLAN reached it's peak  membership in  1868 to 1870!  NOT the mid to later 20th Century !  The words "spreading terrorism" was used as early as late quarter of 1866.(See White Terror: The KKK Conspiracy and Southern Reconstruction by Trelease) Congress introduced the 15th Amendment in 1869, (passed in 1870) and the  second Enforcement Act was enacted in 1871. It was the position of Grant, along with others, that the Klan was attempting  to reverse the decision at Appomattox.  By April 20, 1871 the "KuKlux Klan  Bill" was passed by Congress.  The Atty. Gen (Ackerman, a Southerner) declared the  State of South Carolina  was over run by Klan terrorist activity and thousands of KKK members were indicted, and another 3000 were forced to flee the State.  This was repeated in other States and "Anti-Terrorism" actions were reported in the press. AndYES, TERRORISM & ANTI-TERRORISM were the actual words used to describe the actions of these former Reb Veterans since 1866!!  With former  Racist Reb Gen. Forrest as the declared 'Grand Wizard", in 1866-1867 the Klan burned  black schools, beat teachers, threatened white shop owners who employed black workers, intimidated voters and beat AND murdered political opponents. The avowed purpose (in 1866-on) was to "undermine reconstruction"....not MY words, but THEIRS.  The Klan was committed to serve the planter class and restore white supremacy. (see a"Short History of Reconstruction, Foner, page 184)So, if you folks STILL can't accept  that the Reb Battle Flag is a Racist symbol, or that my charge it HAS been for about 140 yrs., why not convince me? Oh, yes.  include your reference material.  I have a lot more I can direct you to....including Presidential papers, US Marshalls orders and the Congressional Records!  Best to all...ULYSSES



 Posted: Sat Apr 15th, 2006 10:46 pm
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MAubrecht
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I like a man who comes with sources. Nice information Grant and thanks for sharing it. One thing caught my eye when I read your statement... "the Reb Battle Flag is a Racist symbol..." It got me thinking...

What exactly IS a "racist symbol" nowadays? And what isn't? Is a racist symbol ultimately in the eye of the beholder? And if so, then isn't it racist to some - and not racist to others? In other words, sure it's a racist symbol (to some) And, no way is it a racist symbol (to others.) So there isn't a right or wrong answer here.  

Maybe I'm insensitive and waaaay too anti-ACLU, but I'm not one that believes all symbology needs to change in order to cater to a liberal, PC-agenda. I don't support the notion that the Washington Redskins name and logo needs to be changed, or that Kentucky Fried Chicken needed to be changed to KFC or that The Passion is anti-semetic. Its all relative and its all in the eye of the beholder. Get over it people and move on. (and I say that in a nice way to both sides of the issue).

So YES it is and NO it isn't. I can't disagree either way anymore. Thanks for letting me rant.
And I am going to check out some of the sources you have listed.

Last edited on Sat Apr 15th, 2006 10:46 pm by MAubrecht



 Posted: Sat Apr 15th, 2006 11:16 pm
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Shadowrebel
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Ulysses,

  The battle flag itself is not a symbol of racism. It is used by racist groups to promote their agenda, that is true. This immoral use of the flag does not make the flag itself a symbol of racism. No one is defending hate groups or "misdirecting" attention from hate groups.

  I repeat my call for laws to prevent the use of historical symbols for the pursuit of racist agendas. I repeat my call for forgiveness and compassion. I repeat my call for education of the historical background of the period.

  I stated that the Stars and Stripes should be banned for the same reasons you claim the battle flag should be. Here is an article that maybe of interest to you: http://www.vdare.com/fallon/confederate.htm 

  Please let me know what you think. As for the time frame, until the Civil Rights Movement little was done to ban any Confederate flag for public display. In the late 1980's the NAACP began to protest the displaying of the flag and it is still fighting in the 21st century to have it removed from public. The KKK from the beginning was a misguided attempt to continue the war. There has been many attempts, starting immediately after the Civil War, to outlaw hate groups, this is not the same as the fight to remove the flag from public display. Your statement of the use of the flag is exactly my point, it is used. Its' use does not make the flag itself a symbol of racism only the ideology of the groups is a symbol of racism.

  Thank you for your information and I look forward to your future posts.

Regards

John



 Posted: Sun Apr 16th, 2006 01:31 am
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MAubrecht
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Its' use does not make the flag itself a symbol of racism only the ideology of the groups is a symbol of racism.
EXACTLY! Well said Shadowrebel!





 Posted: Sun Apr 16th, 2006 01:46 am
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Ulysses
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Shadowreb,MAubrecht,et.al:  The topic of my last post was to clarify to those who  felt that the Racist agenda using the Reb Battleflag did NOT  extend historically for 140 years, I think I read your remarks as "...140 years is stretching it bit. "And further, some of you thought all this occurred in the mid-20th century.!  While there was a resurgence in Klan growth in the 20th century, I am hopeful you will read my post, look up the reference material, and at least CONSIDER that 140 years is quite accurate, and you should know I do not "stretch" anything a bit! In "Patriotism on Parade" a book dealing with the GAR, UVU, etc. There are details how the GAR told members to not participate in parades or events where the Rebel Battle Flag was displayed.  When Grover Cleveland hatched a plan to return captured battle flags to the South, there was such an outcry from Union veterans that he withdrew the plan.  Some believe that idea finished him politically.  (T.Roosevelt did carry out the idea when he was in office years later). I share this to dispell comments that "no one seemed interested in the battle flag" until recent times...the book (Patriotism on Parade) is available from Harvard Press and the Military Archives in Carlisle, Pa. will photocopy some of it, if you don't mind waiting for them to get around to it!  Best to All Board members....Ulysses  



 Posted: Sun Apr 16th, 2006 01:39 pm
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Shadowrebel
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MAubrecht,

Thank you, after more thought I feel "use" is not strong enough, I would change it to "abuse" of the battle flag.

Uylsses,

I am doing a little research and will answer you shortly. I think I have not made my point clear to you. I am speaking only of the modern movement to ban the flag from public display ie: state capitol buildings, public buildings, state flags, and state licence plates to name a few. I do not debate that valid protest have been made for 140 years to ban hate groups from using it. As to the return of captured battle flags I believe the veterens of the North protest because they felt these were spoils of war got by the blood of fallen comrades. This is one thing I am trying to find where I read it several years ago.

Thank you both for your replies.

John



 Posted: Sun Apr 16th, 2006 03:23 pm
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javal1
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At the root of the question as to whether the flag itself (not just the recent use of it) is a racist symbol is the question of whether you think the Civil War was fought purely to protect the "institution" of slavery. If you think it was, then there's no way it isn't a symbol of racism. If you're a "state's rights" person, then you probably disagree.

I have the luxury of being almost detached from the argument, since I have little use for symbolism, period. And yes that includes the American flag. Ideas are embodied in ideals and actions, not cheap pieces of cloth made in China. But that's just me...:shock:



 Posted: Sun Apr 16th, 2006 05:33 pm
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Ulysses
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Javali..I was disappointed somewhat in your views of the American Flag and "banners". I am glad my Mom isn't involved in reading these Posts, because she may be quite hurt about the Gold Star Mother Banner she received when my older brother (a pilot) was killed while trying to get to his plane at Wheeler Field, Hawaii on Dec. 7,1941 making him the first casualty from our County in WWII. Apathetic views about Old Glory generally reflect apathetic views of America.  That's what we have been REALLY dealing with in the Posts on this issue, isn't it?  I have never found a valid argument in States Rights being the motivator for the South seceding from the Union and going to war.  If you  say, "It was about States Rights, as they pertained to the slavery issue," I would agree.  In fact, if you said, "The Civil War was fought over economics, as it related to slavery," I would also agree.  When you read all the immediate  past and present statements and history of those leaders of theCSA, it sure is clear where their interests and motivation was.....to preserve the Institution of Slavery and white supremacy.....economics and states rights are "shadow" causes and every valid historical researcher would agree.  Next thing we will be discussingis just how "deliriously happy those slaves down on the Plantation were...they justdidn't know it. " Yeh, that's why they were running away to the alligator infested swamps in Florida, facing the Seminoles, Spanish and malaria.  They couldn't believe just how "joyous" things could get. Later, the underground railroad drew them away from that "Home Sweet Plantation Home". Let's call it how it was...and still is among those battleflag waving sons and daughters of the South.  We agree where the Rebel Battle flag should be...but I sure hope you wouldn't stand by while the American Flag is being misused and then care less. If they (and I mean the UDC and the SCV) had their way their projects aimed at defaming Old Glory would do just that. And please don't belittle all those  Gold Star Banners Moms cherish....it's all they have left. Ulysses

 

 



 Posted: Sun Apr 16th, 2006 06:12 pm
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Ulysses,

I would think that it is the memories of her sons and their willingness to sacrifice for ideals that she is proud of. While the cloth may be a symbol of that, it is not what they fought for. Would she be less proud if there were no such thing as a gold-star banner? I doubt it. Please don't make assumptions about my patriotism or love of country based on my views on cloth.

Would I stand by and do nothing when "Old Glory" is mis-used? I do all the time. If one is to believe in the "sacredness" of it, it should never be worn on clothing, slapped on bumper stickers, or painted on walls and posters. It has nothing to do with thoughts on my country, it has to do with the whole concept of symbolism. I guess many (most) need a tangible, touchable object to keep certain ideals in mind. I don't.



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