Confederate flag a symbol of hate? Not for most who fly it

Date published: 4/13/2005

This is in response to Bernard Pruden’s letter ["To me, Confederate flag represents hatred and racism," April 4].

While Mr. Pruden is free to have such an opinion, I feel it is the duty of better-researched and more understanding people to try to explain why this viewpoint is misguided and wrong.

People who are focused solely on this one symbol are incapable of being subjective. A man walking down the street flying the American flag is displaying his patriotism, but a man flying the Confederate flag is displaying only hatred and racism?

Who says the man with the American flag isn’t displaying hatred and racism? Maybe he is celebrating the American government’s genocide of American Indians. Or maybe he is celebrating the more than 200 years that the American government legally condoned slavery in America. Remember, slavery ended in America only some eight months after the demise of the Confederacy.

Yes, slavery separated the South from the North, just as agriculture and industry separated them. Slave states tended to bond together, as they had a common goal–to try to restrict the harsh tariffs the federal government was imposing on them. Remember, not all slave states joined the Confederacy.

As long as one loyal Southerner continues to fly the Confederate flag, there is still hope in this messed-up world. Mr. Pruden sees hatred. I see a flicker of hope.

Hatred and racism is in people’s hearts, not in the symbols they wear or fly. If people today can’t tell the difference between a Confederate flag being held by a member of a hate-based group like the KKK and a Confederate flag being flown by a proud Southerner as a symbol of heritage and pride, they need to grow up.

Greg Kealy

Smithfield, Australia