Banning the Confederate Flag at BJ’s Distribution Center in Jacksonville, FL
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BJ’s claims to want to have a sensitive and non-hostile work environment for all its employees. So, why is it okay to insult Southern sensibilities regarding one of its most revered symbols? Some cultures are more equal than others at BJ’s.
BJ’s, by its actions, is in violation of Florida State law. Statute 256.10 reads:
“Mutilation of or disrespect for confederate flags or replicas.–No person shall publicly mutilate, deface, defile, defy, trample upon, or by word or act cast contempt upon the flags of the Confederacy, or replicas thereof, for crass or commercial purposes; provided however nothing contained herein shall be construed to prevent or prohibit the use of such flags for decorative or patriotic purposes.”
Note, Statute 256.10 specifically prohibits “disrespect” of Confederate flags. It goes on to specify “no person shall publicly…by word or act cast contempt upon the flags of the Confederacy, or replicas thereof, for crass or commercial purposes…”
B.J.’s Wholesale Club, in its statement, called the display of the Confederate battleflag “rude, abusive, hostile or intimidating.” Banning it from company property certainly shows “disrespect” and “contempt” of a Confederate flag. Obviously, B.J.’s thinks it is protecting its bottom line by avoiding employee lawsuits. Being a Northern company, it undoubtedly believes that most of its customers might be offended if they saw the Confederate battleflag on its property. Thus, B.J.’s disrespect is “for crass or commercial purposes.” Clearly, this violates both the letter and the spirit of Florida’s Statute 256.10.
It shows such an ignorance of history and culture. I was raised in "Land of Lincoln" Illinois and grew up with the Northern version of history. Fortunately, an American History teacher in Colorado taught me in high school to question and examine what I thought I knew. Doing so, I set out in my senior year to research and write a term paper on "The War Between the States: the Southern Viewpoint." I came to understand that most of what I had been taught about the causes and origins of this terrible conflict was wrong. Today, I live in Northeast Florida. I have continued to study this era in history and have visited many of the sites where this great conflict occurred. One of the things that fascinates me is the number of blacks who owned slaves in the South.
Did you know that the largest slave-holder in Jacksonville, for example, was a former black slave woman, Anna Kingsley? Interestingly, despite her obvious economic interests in preserving slavery on her multiple plantations, she supported the Union during the war. Why did she side with the supposed enemy of slavery? Because she feared that if the South was a separate country, the North would impose stiff tariffs on the production of her plantations, and she was dependent on those New England markets for her sugar, rice, and indigo. As with all wars, it was primarily about economics.
Of course, to attempt to ban or denigrate the Confederate flag because it was the supposed flag of slavery is silly. More U.S. flags flew over slave markets than any Confederate States of America (C.S.A.) flag ever did. The flag in question was a battleflag, not a national flag. Actually, it was originally a naval jack for Confederate boats only.
The War Between the States was the first modern war of attrition. The Confederate generals were men of honor and character. They did not target civilians; their goal was to engage rival military forces. Sherman, with the complicity of Lincoln, deliberately targeted civilians and introduced the concept of "total war." Today, under the Geneva Conventions, they could be brought up on charges of war crimes and would be found guilty.
Today, the Confederate flag represents the desire for self-determination and freedom from tyranny to those of us who proudly display it. True, the KKK and other such groups display the Confederate battleflag at times. However, their own rules require them to have an American flag and the Bible at every official event. Should we, therefore, ban the American flag and the Bible from display because they misuse them?
If you wish to learn more about these issues, I recommend THE SOUTH WAS RIGHT by the Kennedy brothers and DiLorenzo’s excellent THE REAL LINCOLN.
Susan M. Lamb
Jacksonville, FL, CSA
Visit my blog at http://yankeereb.blogspot.com/