On June 17th, 2015, a white man named Dylann Roof walked into the historic Emanual African Methodist Church and waited an hour before opening fire on the congregation and killing 9, including a U.S. senator. The racist ties and influence Dyalnn Roof had were quickly found online (and in his manifesto) and one striking image continued to show itself time and time again: the battle flag of the Confederate State of America (CSA) during the U.S. Civil War. These images and blatant ties have reignited a debate that has been lying dormant for the past few years, even though it flares up periodically; namely, the need for states across the Union to take down the Confederate battle flag from public territory.
What most people see as the “Confederate flag” was never actually adopted as the flag by the short-lived Confederate government. The Stars and Bars, as it’s known, was only carried into battle by Confederate soldiers and never held any official representation. After the war, it was quickly adopted by racist and anti-north groups like the Klu Klux Klan and used to terrorize black people across the south and remind them of the inherent racism of the CSA. Now, due to the connections between Roof, the shooting, and the flag, state governments are moving to take down any remnants of the Confederacy from the public ground and it’s causing backlash.
Now, in a move surprising most people due to the racism inherent in both the flag and what it represents, officials in Marion County, Florida have voted unanimously to reinstate the flag on public ground. The argument “Heritage Not Hate” is frequently used to defend the flying of the Confederate battle flag and while respecting one’s heritage is important, there’s no denying that the heritage of the Confederacy is built on hatred. Whether the flag stays up in Marion County remains to be seen but as of now, Marion is going to remind people that some are ok with being known as racist.
If you’d like to read more, the link is here.