The Confederate Flag is racist

No matter how hard Republican extremists try to change the narrative

Hannah Adams, Asst. Opinion Editor

The Confederate flag carries a symbolism that cannot be avoided despite the alternative narrative that some right-wing extremists like to play. It is a statement that represents some of the most vile and dark choices of this country, and it is a slap in the face to the progress that has been made in the United States. It sends nothing but a racist, sexist and harmful message to the public. There are still people in this country who defend the flag and their right to fly it, and that is a tragedy. Kevin Seefried, a middle-aged white man, proved this point after flying a Confederate flag through the Capitol during the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.

This storming of the Capitol was a result of a rally and speech by Donald Trump, in which the past president made flimsy claims that the election was stolen from him. Following the rally, instigated right-wingers marched to the Capitol and stormed it like a bunch of angry children throwing a tantrum. Both Seefried and his son were in attendance at the rally, with the former opting to bring a Confederate flag. 

Although more than 80 people have been charged for participating in the riot, the Seefrieds have been criticized more harshly by the media for their involvement — and rightly so. 

In Wilmington, Delaware, the pair surrendered to authorities. The arrest took place after the younger Seefried boasted his involvement in the rally to co-workers, clearly not showing shame or remorse for his actions. Federal authorities identified these two men via a photograph that was blasted to the public, seeking assistance to identify the man carrying the Confederate flag. 

It seems a common theme that the right wing loves to cry sentiments of oppression and persecution; in actuality,  they are the ones proudly flying Confederate flags and maintaining supremacist values. There is absolutely no excuse for the Seefried men or any other individual that tries to explain away their purpose for having a Confederate flag. It is basic knowledge that the purpose of the Confederacy was a fight in favor of slavery and utterly against its abolishment. 

The Confederacy is not a nod to “southern heritage” as some right-wingers may claim. It is a nod to some of the worst aspects born in the south, the dark history that precedes us and should symbolize nothing but shame and remorse. To claim it is anything else is simply an attempt to hide behind an excuse while maintaining supremacist values. 

Unfortunately, a citizen’s right to fly the Confederate flag remains protected by the First Amendment. How many times will the First Amendment protect what is harmful, despicable, racist and supremacist before a change is made? For how long will citizens of this country be able to hide behind their First Amendment rather than take accountability for actions that should not go unpunished? Thankfully, the Seefried men were required to take some level of responsibility for trespassing the Capitol. But that does not excuse away the countless individuals that manage to weasel their way out of punishment for discriminative and damaging behavior. That does not change the shameful protection this country offers to those that do not deserve it, and the lack thereof to those that do. 

So many of the people partaking in these riots and endorsing this behavior are white and privileged. And yet, so often, these same people still cry oppression, claiming that because they are being silenced for racist, sexist and supremacist remarks, they are somehow being oppressed. This country should not have put privileged people in a position of security for being racist. Because of that security, these people feel in a position of “oppression” when they are forced to finally take accountability for their behaviors. 

The Confederate flag is racist. Historic southern ideals are racist. If you are in support of these things, you are showing a backing for a time in history that was a war over slavery. You are showing support for a brutality so horrendous, disgusting and evil that it should do nothing but bring you shame over the sins of your ancestors. For those that defend these ideals, take accountability instead of making excuses and stop pretending that you are doing anything other than supporting slavery and toxic domination. And if you are white, stop pretending that you know what it is like not to be. I say this as a white person myself. 

As a woman, I feel a personal outrage towards the women I see that defend this behavior and take part in it. Defending “southern culture and history” means that you are happily defending the premise that women are meant to be subordinate and submissive creatures. If you are a woman that defends the flying of the Confederate flag, you are supporting their ideals of the time. In The Atlantic article, “Gender, Race and Rape During the Civil War”, by Julie Beck, some of the standards maintained towards women during the Civil War are brought to light. 

“If he was holding a gun to her head and she was scared to death, that was still considered that she had given her consent.”

If these are the type of values that you choose to defend, there is nothing more to say on the matter aside from shame on you. 

It is incredibly sad that one of the worst parts of right-wing extremist’s beliefs is the unbudging perspective that they maintain. They are unwavering in their feelings and consistent in their denial. Despite the progressive nature this country attempts to bring on in modern day, racism, sexism and white supremacism still reside under a blanket of protection in the U.S.. A blanket that continuously gets denied or talked around by the Republican party. It is the outlet to an excuse that Republican extremists use when they are claiming that they are being silenced for their beliefs.