July 28, 2012 What does the Confederate flag mean?
I just had a Twitter conversation with a presumably white, southern man who had argued that the real definition of the Confederate flag is pride in the confederacy and states rights and only these two things. I told him that he needs to be careful with such bold definitions because this was his subjective interpretation. He proceeded to argue that it was a ‘fact’ that the Confederate flag was about the confederacy and states right, and simultaneously implied that its meaning had nothing to do with slavery. I begged to differ. For example, if we asked, say, a southern black man from Georgia what the Confederate flag means to him, he might have a totally different opinion; he might say it means ‘the end of slavery’ or ‘racism’. The fact that there are always going to be these different narratives in assessing the meaning of the Confederate flag suggests that there is no ‘true’ or ‘real’ meaning to it. This, in fact, is the only fact which arose out of my discussion with this presumably white, southern man on Twitter. My goal in this Internet encounter was to shed light on the idea that no one group has sole custody of the Confederate flag’s meaning, and that it was not right for one man or woman to take away another’s right to interpret it freely. Sadly, the man I was arguing with did not buy into any of what I was saying. And so the debate rages. Though certainly not without closed-mindedness.
Tags: Confederate, Confederate States of America, Flags of the Confederate States of America, Georgia, History, Interpretation, Meaning, Northerner, Opinion, Slavery, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Southerner, Twitter, United States