One Man’s Reply
‘Stars and Bars’ still used as racist emblem
[In re "’Stars and Bars’ still used as racist emblem" by Bill Duff of Cockeysville]
Rather than being so Cockey-sure of himself, our Mr. Bill needs to get off his Duff and check his facts.
The only Confederate Flag I have ever seen used to jeer at people is the Confederate Battle Flag (the one with the red field and the big starry blue X outlined in white). That Flag is sometimes called "The Southern Cross" or "St. Andrew’s Cross."
"The Stars and Bars" is the nickname of the first National Flag of the Confederate States of America. It had three wide horizontal bars of red-white-red and a blue canton with stars in a circle. (The latest Georgia flag is the Stars and Bars with the Georgia seal added in gold.)
RACISM: The assumption that psychocultural traits and capacities are determined by biological race and that races differ decisively from one another which is usually coupled with a belief in the inherent superiority of a particular race and its right to domination over others [from Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged (Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.; 1981)]
Many people believe that the Confederate Battle Flag is a symbol of racism because some groups — such as the Ku Kluxers and the American Nazi Party — that make no bones about their belief in the inherent superiority of the Caucasian race and its right to domination over others display that Flag.
Such groups also sometimes display the United States Flag. Moreover, other people display the Confederate Battle Flag for other, benign reasons. A flag, or any other symbol, has only such meaning as is assigned to it by those who use it.
The Confederate States of America never advocated as a national policy anything resembling a belief in the inherent superiority of a particular race and its right to domination over others. That nation spent its entire four year existence battling for its survival. Moreover, several different ethnic groups contributed to its struggle for survival.
While Confederate Flags were not used during the existence of the Confederate States of America to carry out actions designed to further a belief in the inherent superiority of a particular race and its right to domination over others, other flags have been so utilized over the years:
The one best example of a flag under which one race asserted its superiority and its right to dominate others is the flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, a/k/a the Union Jack. Under this flag, the aboriginal peoples of the Americas, Australia, various islands, and large parts of Africa and Greater Asia were subjugated. Many slaves, African and otherwise, were transported by ships flying this flag or a variation thereof.
Under the tricolor of France, various islands and large parts of Africa were “colonized.”
Under the flags of India, Mexico, and Turkey, ethnic minorities within those countries’ borders were hunted down and killed.
Under the flag of the United States of America, a/k/a Old Glory, various leaders waged aggressive wars of conquest against various nations and peoples during the 1800s. Military commanders under this flag repeatedly encouraged murder, rapine, plunder, and other atrocities against those they attacked. Vast numbers of slaves were transported under this flag (most of them to the West Indies and South America).
The aboriginal peoples of no continent or island were subjugated under a Confederate flag.
No ethnic group was ever hunted down and killed under a Confederate flag’s authority.
No slave ship ever sailed under a Confederate flag.
No Confederate flag ever oversaw any attempt at colonization.
No aggressive war of conquest was ever prosecuted under a Confederate flag.
No military commander serving under a Confederate flag ever encouraged atrocities against the enemy.
…so how can Confederate flags honestly be called symbols of racism?
Mr. Duff has not shown that the people who objected to his choice of home-buyers believed that their race was superior and had the right to rule over others, so he has no grounds to accuse them of racism. All he has shown is that they prefer their own culture to another culture, much as a New Englander might prefer a clambake to an Oktoberfest, or a Texan might prefer a barbecue to an opera. The quality of preferring one’s own culture to another is ETHNOCENTRISM.
Mr. Duff goes on to state that the neighbors who agreed with his decision “placed real American (Stars and Stripes) flags around their properties” – thus implying, if not blatantly stating, that the Confederate Battle Flag is neither real nor American.
Unless Mr. Duff maintains that the Confederate Battle Flag is imaginary (which statement would be, to say the least, difficult to support), it follows that that Flag is real. As for its not being American, unless Mr. Duff wishes to go on record as stating that the nation whose army used that Flag was located in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, or Antarctica, or on the isles of the sea (another difficult-to-support statement), it follows that the Flag in question is undoubtedly American.
As for the thirteen-stripe Flag’s being “well-understood to stand for liberty and justice for all”:
• Take a look at http://pointsouth.com/csanet/kkk.htm. See all of the thirteen-stripe Flags? See who is using them? Do those people’s actions show liberty and justice for all?
• Consider the people of Georgia – killed and robbed and raped by soldiers serving under the thirteen-stripe Flag. Did that Flag mean liberty and justice for the people of Georgia?
• Consider the Native Americans – forcibly divested of their lands, killed off, and starved into submission by soldiers serving under the thirteen-stripe Flag. Did that Flag mean liberty and justice for the Native Americans? Is it not clear that the thirteen-stripe Flag’s government made it clear that their race (Caucasian) was superior and had the right to rule over the Native Americans – the very definition of “racism?”
• Consider many of the prominent men of Maryland in the 1860s – thrown into the dungeon upon the sole whim of the President of the nation flying the thirteen-stripe Flag. Did that Flag mean liberty and justice for those Sons of the Old Line?
• Consider the Nisei and Sansei (native-born United States citizens whose parents and grandparents had been born in Japan) in World War II – how they were forcibly removed from their homes and sent to concentration camps where they were crowded into tar-paper shacks. Did that Flag mean liberty and justice for the Nisei and Sansei?
• Consider that, until 1948, the military forces of the thirteen-stripe Flag’s nation were segregated by race – while forces serving under the Confederate Battle Flag were composed of a mélange of Caucasians, Negroes, Hispanics, Native Americans, and even some Asians.
Remember: No Confederate body — military or civil — ever committed atrocities upon enemy noncombatants, or forcibly removed anyone from his homeland based on his ethnicity, or dungenoned anyone for his political beliefs.
If anyone can show how the thirteen-stripe Flag which oversaw all of the above unkindnesses symbolizes liberty and justice for all, while the Confederate Battle Flag, which oversaw none of the kind, symbolizes evil, I ask to be instructed at CliftonPalmerMcLendon@yahoo.com.
Puttin’ the Skeer on ‘Em!
Clifton Palmer McLendon
Pvt. (#729), 1st Bn Co. C, SCVMC
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