The Orange County Board of Education just rejected a petition to ban the Confederate flag from school grounds. The local NAACP chapter made the request after students, parents, and school employees reported the flag appearing increasingly on school grounds, accompanied by racial harassment. Critics say the flag is a symbol of slavery and white supremacy. Others say the flag stands for “heritage, not hate” — and regardless of its symbolism, displaying it is a free speech right. What do you think?
After Confederate flag brandisher Dylann Roof murdered nine black churchgoers in South Carolina, activist Bree Newsome climbed the South Carolina Statehouse and took the flag down. Law professor Kareem U. Crayton argued that regardless of the intentions of those who display it, the Confederate flag has become a trademark for racism:
We can all respect that some people do not view the flag that way. But the flag has also become inextricably associated with ideologies that most American should find disgusting. Some proponents of the Confederate flag acknowledge its painful symbolism for black Americans, but argue that for them it does not symbolize racism or white supremacy:
It is obvious that some racists have appropriated and desecrated the Confederate battle flag for their pathetic causes, but those hateful folks also commonly display the Christian cross and the American flag. Should these symbols be seen as racist too? Perceptions of the flag depend upon context.