It has been almost 150 years since the tragedies of the Civil War, since the enraged Confederacy was quelled by prolonged Union force and since over 200,000 individuals lost their lives over political and social disagreement.
Recently, however, a Purdue student has reawakened the entrenched social memory of Americas bleak history of racism and inequality by the displaying of a Confederate flag in the upper window of his residence.
For some, the Confederate flag is a sign of southern pride and for others its a retired relic merely a piece of irrelevant history. However, most see it as a sign of oppression, servitude, segregation and savage brutality.
Yet, according to Rick Walker, code enforcement supervisor of West Lafayette Police Departments neighborhood resource team, There was no violation of ordinance or law, and while a sensitive issue, the resident was within his right to display it.
I was able to speak with one of the residents at the house, and he understood the concerns of some in the neighborhood and was sensitive to that. As a result, the flag is no longer visible, said Walker.
Regardless of constitutional right, many still find it offensive as a sign of white supremacy and racial oppression.
For many, Confederate symbolism represents a way to venerate ancestors who fought in the Civil War or admiration for the skills and bravery of the Confederate officers and soldiers, said Robert E. May, professor of American history at Purdue. But I would claim knowledge of what the Confederate flag represented in its day; it was the rallying symbol of a nation dedicated to the preservation of slavery in North America.
The south was fighting for a nation designed to perpetuate slavery forever in the United States and possibly extend it southward into Latin America, said May. Displaying their flag is an insult not only to African Americans but also to all Americans who believe in human equality.
Lets not start unraveling our Union memorabilia just yet. Although Union President Abraham Lincoln is often lionized as the champion of modern day racial equality, that is unfortunately not the case.
For instance, the Emancipation Proclamation wasnt a gesture of Lincolns compassion for those enslaved. As much as Lincoln hated the institution of slavery, he didnt see the Civil War as a struggle to free the nations four million slaves from bondage. Emancipation, when it came, would have to be gradual, and the important thing to do was to prevent the Southern rebellion from severing the Union permanently in two.
Originally posted here:
First Amendment protects student's choice to display Confederate flag