Look, I get it. You want to keep your Confederate flag. You see it as a symbol of Southern pride. You might have it placed on your bumper beside the words “Heritage, not Hate.” You may not even call it “the Confederate flag,” instead euphemizing away many of its most unpleasant connotations by referring to it as “the rebel flag,” “the Southern cross" or “the Dixie flag.”
If you do own and proudly display a Confederate flag, you ought to take it down, hide it and consider the violent and racist history of this noninclusive symbol.
Earlier this month, The Daily Tar Heel reported on an Orange County resident’s appeal of a ruling that his 400-square-foot Confederate flag raised on his property along Highway 70 violates a new flag ordinance. If it were no larger than 24-square feet, his flag would not have been ruled in violation of the ordinance.
This case hinges on the legality of the size of his flag rather than the message displayed, as the Constitution protects his right to display Confederate imagery. But whether or not the man can display a Confederate flag (of any size) is a separate issue from whether or not he should display the flag.
The Confederate flag has always been emblematic of hate. During the Civil War, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee used it as the battle flag of his Army of Northern Virginia. Lee’s soldiers may very well have fought for states’ rights, but the most significant of these “rights” was the ability to own, sell and treat human beings like chattel.