13 March 2012

Paper on Confederate Flag

Another paper I wrote....

8 Nov 2008

The confederate flag is a controversial issue, it has been for over a hundred years.  On one side it is viewed as a sign of pride on the other, a sign of hatred.  “…the Southerners I've met that identify with it, they think of the flag as a symbol of the joys and values of being Southern. Many of these qualities, like common courtesy, are some of the things that are so refreshing about the South….” (Pressberg)  On the other hand, “…The Confederate battle flag has also been appropriated by the Ku Klux Klan and other racist hate groups. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, more than 500 extremist groups use the Southern Cross as one of their symbols.” (Brunner)
Even in the beginning the confederate flag was a sign of heritage.  It bears Saint Andrew’s cross, “The reason that the CSA (Confederate States of America) put the St. Andrew's Cross on its flag is the Scottish heritage of the South.”(Dieteman)  Heritage is the cause for the creation of this symbol of the South and it is that heritage combined with what the South achieved that makes the confederate flag so important to so many people.  Out of the South came many things we use today and don’t think twice about: the sewing machine, fertilizer, railroad switches, revolving pistols, water wheels for mills, sleeping bags, cotton press, waterproof cloths, even the protractors that kids use in math class came from the South.  The South was the birthplace of a few more amazing things that people around the world don’t think twice about-artificial limbs, chain links, and finally the washing machine.  Without any of these things the world would be a completely different place, unrecognizable to us.  There are many things for the South to be proud of; the South is the reason we have clean clothes to wear each day, the reason our food arrives to the correct distribution centers, even the reason we understand angles.  To forget all of these great accomplishments because of one horrible thing would be wrong.  We are supposed to be the land of fresh starts yet we refuse to pardon the South for its role in slavery.  America is supposed to be the land of equals, everyone with the same rights, abilities, and opportunities, and most of the South has adopted that idea.

                The idea of the confederate flag representing hate is permeating through the historical representations of the South:
It is being removed from monuments, displays, and all kinds of public events. Most often, the reason behind the removal of the flag design, is because it represents hate, and/or is considered a racist symbol. The most common behind such comments, is because the flag has been used and is often associated with the beliefs, acts and deeds of the Ku Klux Klan, as well as other hate type groups. So, because such hate groups use the symbol, it is now a racist symbol of hate. … Many will say it is a symbol of racism, because it represents the South, who fought a war to preserve slavery, and slavery is racist, therefore their symbol is racist. Well, I won't spend any time proving this, since there is so much information out there that sets this record straight, but let me make a few statements:
·         The "Civil War" was not started nor fought over slavery
·         The flag does not represent a "pro-slavery" position, but a pro-American, pro-Constitution position
·         Slavery was legal in the US from 1776 to 1865, under the US flag...not the Battle flag
·         The CSA Constitution made the slave trade illegal (in the South) before the war even started
·         All slaves brought to America were done so by Northern ships, not Southern ones
So if the war was not fought over slavery, then the flag therefore cannot represent a racist agenda. On top of that, slavery was not limited to the black race, there were blacks, indians, and even whites who were slaves; so the claim of racism against any one people group (most commonly only the African Americans) is even more ridiculous. (McCormack)
                If even those in the South believe it to be a sign of hate when it is in fact a sign of heritage, then most people would choose not to argue.  Believing that a sign of pride, heritage, and common courtesy is not how the newer generations of Americans should be raised.  Kids need to understand that the confederate flag isn’t a sign of intolerance, misunderstanding history tends to lead to a repeat of history.

Work Cited
Brunner, Borgna. "Infoplease". Pearson Education. Nov. 6, 2008 <http://www.infoplease.com/spot/confederate1.html>.
Cheng, Eileen Ka-May. "FLAG CULTURE AND THE CONFEDERACY: BLOODSHED AND NATIONAL IDENTITY." Reviews in American History 31.2 (2003): 268-274. America: History & Life. EBSCO. LRC@TCC, Virginia Beach, VA. 7 Nov. 2008 <http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.vccs.edu:2048/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ahl&AN=A000539582.01&site=ehost-live>.
Dieteman, David. "Saint Andrew's Cross". LewRockwell.com. 7 Nov 2008 <http://www.lewrockwell.com/dieteman/dieteman44.html>.
McCormack, Jeffrey Todd. "Brief History of the Ku Klux Klan". CSANet. 7 Nov 2008 <http://www.pointsouth.com/csanet/kkk.htm>.
Pressberg, Jason. "The Pendulum Online". The Pendulum . Nov. 6, 2008 <http://www.elon.edu/e-web/pendulum/Issues/2005/04_07/opinions/flag.xhtml>.

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