We need to talk. Recently a student (or students) in Grimm hall hung a confederate flag in their window. I see this every day on my way to work. Though this may seem like an isolated instant, there are confederate flags in other dorms on campus. It bothers me to see these flags, but it occurred to me that maybe we have different interpretations of what this flag means.
After asking around, I understand that some may think the confederate flag can be something personal or individual. Some might say it is a southern pride flag, a rural pride flag, or an “I love the Dukes of Hazard” flag.
Unfortunately though, these alternatives are not what may be perceived by most people when they see the flag. A 2011 Pew Research Center Report stated that only 9 percent of Americans view the flag positively and those with college educations are less likely to view the flag positively. So, despite your own personal feelings, you cannot simply change the meaning of this well-known object.
Because of our country’s history, the confederate flag symbolizes slavery and racism. You do not get to change that. You can pretend, in the privacy of your own room, that the confederate flag stands for your rebellious personality, but when you put that flag on display for everyone to see, what we see is “racist.”
The confederate flag has a long history, including associations with the KKK. No amount of personal belief can change the flag’s history and what it stands for. Trying to change the flag’s meaning by explaining it as a symbol for something else is wrong. I will not argue with you about this. It is a fact. No amount of personal testimony will change the history of the flag or the views that it symbolizes.
I am sorry to be so blunt, but we are in college and we all need to think about what we do and how we represent ourselves and our community.
If you do not want to be thought of as a racist, do not put up a confederate flag.
Sean Eberle and Elise Lundequam, Students