As many of you may know Kanye West recently wore a jacket with a Confederate flag patch on the sleeve. As is the usual of any celebrity doing, anything really, it blew up the social media atmosphere. People were Tweeting and Facebooking like crazy some of them claiming he was in the right and others thought he was in the wrong. Either way, if Kanye’s point was to get people talking (and perhaps buy his song New Slave or items from his clothing line with the image) he succeeded. He himself is quoted as saying “The Confederate flag represented slavery in a way. That’s my abstract take on what I know about it, right? So I wrote the song, ‘New Slaves.’ So I took the Confederate flag and made it my flag. It’s my flag now. Now what you gonna do?” Huzzah? Kanye’s fashion statement has left me with a burning question, where should we stand on the confederate flag?
I have always been against the Confederate flag, mainly for the same reasons I do not like the n-word, each is steeped in a history of hatred against a group of people who did nothing but be born with darker skin. Whenever I see the image I instantly think of slavery, lynching, and ignorance. I also know that if I saw a small town with those plastered everywhere, as a person of color, I would feel unsure about my welcome in that area. And perhaps that is not the intent of those who fly it, but that is not what I know runs through the mind of many people like me.
Many people try and argue that it is not about race, but rather about a pride in their southern heritage and the traditions/beliefs it entails. Okay…while I guess I can see that argument I still have problems with it for three reasons…
- If it was only about southern heritage why do you use the confederate battle flag? There are multiple versions of the flag that were used, more for the heritage of what it meant to be southern rather than the aspect of war. Why not use those instead?
- Many would argue that the war was not about slavery, and I’ll concede that point…for now. Lincoln’s, though history might tell us otherwise, original goal for the war was not for the slaves, but rather to keep the Union together. The Emancipation Proclamation itself was a political scheme meant to help the North gain support and win. However, the moment the Proclamation was read the war was no longer just about keeping the Union together or the Confederate desire for limited federal government. The war became about slavery.
- Yes, you can claim that the war originally started because the South wanted freedom from a heavy-handed federal government and wanted to keep their own traditions and beliefs in place. However, one of these traditions/beliefs was that slavery was a good thing, and that it was okay to treat another human being as property, as inferior, as a sub-human.
So with all these reasons added together I just don’t understand what there is to be proud of with the historical South and thereby it’s Confederate flag. As one blogger recently put it, “I just don’t get it, shut-up, you lost, get over it.” I could not say it better myself, but I’m willing to hear you all try! So, let me know in the comments! Will you be sporting the Confederate flag this fashion season?