By: Hilda Kolawole
The significance and meaning behind the Confederate flag has been strongly debated since the horrific shooting that took place in Charleston South Carolina over the summer. Days after the shooting, the international community was shocked to see the flag still flying at the state’s capitol building. After much protesting, the flag was taken down. Flag supporters maintain the notion that the flag represents an important part of our nation’s history and has no racist undertone. While in contrast, people wonder why the flag is still sold in stores and online, to them the flag represents dark eras of slavery, as well as segregation.
According to the Huffington post, major retailers have distanced themselves from the flag and the controversy that follows it. Industry leaders like Amazon, Walmart, Google and Ebay have removed the flag from their stores and websites. Walmart spokesman Brian Nick said “We never want to offend anyone with the products that we offer”. Ebay spokeswoman Johnna Hoff said “it has become a contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism”. In addition, prominent US Flag makers have promised to stop manufacturing and selling the flag since they feel it promotes racial disunity.
According to ABC11 news, on July 23rd North Carolina governor Pat McCrory signed a monuments bill that critics say will protect confederate monuments. The governor said the bill’s purpose was to commemorate “an event, person or military service that is part of North Carolina’s history”. Thousands have signed petitions to get the McCrory to veto the bill. The North Carolina NAACP also held a press conference on the 23rd asking the McCrory to veto the bill and stop the selling of confederate license plates. While North and South Carolina have taken down the flag; and Virginia has stopped allowing the flag on license plates the question still remains, does the flag have a place in the social and daily lives of citizens?
At Heritage, the flag can still be seen on student shirts and on the backs of cars in the student parking lot. Senior Ellie Lupton says “I don’t really think it’s a big deal, kids can wear is on their shirts and on their cars if they want to”. Offering a different side of the story was Senior Raven Hollins who said “It makes me extremely uncomfortable”. “Everybody has their own choice, but if it’s affecting people and offending them, then I don’t think it should be worn in schools”, Senior Parker Savage said.
Heritage teachers also have thoughts on the controversial topic. English teacher Ms. Singh “Its depends on the context. It doesn’t belong in government buildings, but I don’t mind if the average person wears it on shirt. You cannot regulate the way people feel”. Civics teacher Ms. Soffe offered slightly different sentiments, arguing that she “strongly believes in the individual right to present the Confederate flag, but also believe that it has no place in the classroom or on government funded buildings.” The Confederate flag symbolizes heritage for some and hatred for many, and the possibility of its complete condemnation remains unknown.