American Elephants

About the Racism Inherent in the Stars and Bars of the Confederate Battle Flag. by The Elephant's Child
June 24, 2015, 7:47 pm
Filed under: Freedom, History, Media Bias, The United States | Tags: , , ,

After the dreadful racist murders of nine black members of Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, some member of the media called attention to the Confederate battle flag on the South Carolina Capitol grounds, and the media was off and running. Unable to adequately express their dismay, which I assume — they went for the flag.

The flag did not fly over the capitol, but over the Confederate memorial on the Capitol grounds. The conversation quickly moved from the nine murdered church members to the flag as a ‘symbol of racism.’ Governor Nikki Haley promptly said they would take down the flag to end any offense from its presence. It had been placed over the Confederate memorial by a Democrat governor and a Democrat legislature at the time of the Civil War Centennial and would take a 2/3 vote of the legislature to remove.

That wasn’t enough for some members of the media, who began advocating for the removal of Confederate flags everywhere. Retailers said they would no longer sell the flag. Then they went for the statues of Confederate heroes.  Monuments were defaced, names of streets and towns named after Confederate heroes should be changed, and some nitwit from CNN even suggested that the Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C. should be torn down because Jefferson owned slaves.  Congratulations! You have managed to match the tactics of ISIS and the Taliban.

The Civil War is over. The South lost and surrendered unconditionally. History is a record of the past, things that actually happened. The Civil War, (The War Between the States), was a dreadful war, the most deadly ( 620,000 dead) in our history. It was a war over the Union and the South’s right to secede. It was a war over the institution of slavery — but to the South it was a war over their entire economy which depended on producing cotton for English textile mills. Sixty percent of American exports at the time were cotton for the mills of Britain — and some 440,000 workers in Britain were employed in the textile industry.

Slavery was a great evil, but it was the norm all over the world, and most people just accepted it as the way things were. The British killed the slave trade between Africa and the new world, and we followed suit. It is estimated that about 88 percent of the transatlantic slave trade went to the sugar islands and South America, and only about 12 percent came to America (per Wikipedia) Am I apologizing for slavery? Certainly not. It has taken a long time to get over the Civil War, a long time for the Southern economy to recover. and a long time for blacks to become full and valued participants in every segment of society. It’s all just a lot more complicated than those who are squawking about the symbolic racism inherent in any display of the Stars and Bars. Read some history. Please!


2 Comments so far
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I have an aunt who graduated from Nathan Bedford Forrest High School. Now she’s joking that she’ll be from a no-name school, and she might be right.

I have friends that give me static about my rather unabashed love of the South (as the late Lewis Grizzard put it, American by birth, Southern by the grace of God!). I quiz them on a few things regarding the Civil War, and more often than not they leave me alone:

Who was the first general Lincoln offered command of the Army of the Potomac? Robert E. Lee; Lee almost accepted it – Lee agreed with Lincoln on almost every issue, but – and this is important – Lee was a Virginian, who valued State above Nation, and knew hat eventually he would have to lead an army against Virginia, and he could not bring himself to do that.

At the outset of the war, who owned more slaves, Lee or Grant? Grant, who owned between 3-7 (accounts vary). Lee detested the institution of slavery, and owned none. His plantation, Arlington (site of the current National Cemetery and nearby Fort Myers and the Pentagon) was worked by sharecroppers and tenant farmers.

Of the eleven states of the Confederacy, how many permitted slavery at the time of the Civil War? Only 8. Texas, Tennessee, and Arkansas had abolished it in their borders. The remaining Confederate States no longer allowed the importation of slaves; Slaves had to come from families already here. What’s more, there were three erstwhile Union states that did allow slavery – Maryland, Missouri, and Kentucky. Slavery was also allowed in the District of Columbia. There were, in fact, only three Northern states that expressly outlawed slavery; Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Delaware.

The number of things people “know” about the South and the Civil War continues to amaze me.


Comment by Lon Mead

I didn’t know Lee owned no slaves, nor that Grant did. And I didn’t know that Texas, Tennessee and Arkansas had abolished it. I have a lot of family history on both sides, and two lives lost on each side. One was the only Confederate killed at the battle of Snicker’s Gap.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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