COLUMN: The Confederate flag will never stand for anything but prejudice

Rather than as a tribute to Southern heritage, the Confederate flag was designed as a hate symbol and forever will be.

Faith Brown is a freshman psychology major at MU. She is an opinion columnist who writes about introspective takes on modern society for The Maneater.

On multiple occasions on campus, I have spotted a Confederate flag hanging in a window, car and a living room.

People ignorantly claim the flag is just an innocent way to pay homage to history and take pride in their Southern roots. Even the president has defended the display of the Confederate flag, saying "it represents the South," not its racist history when prompted to speak on “Fox News Sunday” about whether the flag is a symbol of racism.

The inherently racist history of the Confederate flag is proven when its meaning and design are dissected.

There have been three renditions of the Confederate flag: “Stars and Bars” banner (1861-1863), “Stainless Banner” (1863-1865), and “Blood Stained Banner” (1865). The “Stainless” banner began the design we see today with a blue “X” draped across a red background.

In 1863, a Confederate blockade runner named William Ross Postell and an editor for the Savannah Morning News named William Tappan Thompson proposed a design for the second Confederate flag in an editorial.

“As a people, we are fighting to maintain the Heaven ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race; a white flag would thus be emblematical of our cause,” Thompson wrote.

This description of the flag led to the Confederate flag being titled “The White Man’s Flag.” Thompson’s pitch received a great deal of support because of its supremacist description and simple design. With the help of William Porcher Miles, who designed the battle flag, the “Stainless” and “Blood-Stained” banners remained the conclusive flags for the Confederate states.

On the flag, Porcher included a custom rendition of the Saint George Cross with 15 stars representing the 15 slaveholding states. The flag was designed to serve as a reminder that African Americans ought to be kept as slaves.

There is no logical way to argue that the Confederate flag is an emblem of anything else but bigotry when the people who created the flag made it clear it stood for slavery and racism.

Alexander H. Stephens, vice president of the Confederate States of America, stated what the Confederacy stood for in the Cornerstone Speech of 1861

“Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition,” Stephens said.

This is what the Confederacy stands for, what Thompson described in his racist flag design.

The Confederate flag had actually faded in prominence until the Civil Rights movement began in the early 1950s. States implemented the Confederate symbol in their state flags and paraded the Confederate flag around to show their non-negotiable support for segregation.

Not to mention, The Ku Klux Klan was founded in 1865 and led by Nathan Bedford Forrest, a prominent Confederate general during the Civil War. The KKK soon adopted the Confederate flag as a symbol of white power and actively associate their violence with its nature.

Before anyone says that the Confederate flag is just a display of Southern heritage, encourage them to check what the heritage actually is. The Confederacy began as a nation trying to preserve slavery.

Ignorance may be bliss, but racism will always be racism. The Confederate flag has been and remains another symbol of prejudice and racism, no matter how one tries to spin it.

_As part of the fight against racial injustice, The Maneater is encouraging readers to donate to The Audre Lorde Project, an LGBTQIA+ foundation working toward the social and economic justice of LGBTQIA+ people of color. Donate at: https://alp.org/

Edited by Sofi Zeman | szeman@themaneater.com

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