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One of the most controversial subjects since the Charleston, South Carolina church massacre is the removal of the Confederate flag on statehouse grounds. The question still remains, should other states do the same?

Historically, the flag is a symbol of the Confederate States of America, defeated by the Union in the Civil War. The St. Andrew’s cross on the flag has 13 stars, one for each state that seceded including Kentucky and Missouri.

According to David Sarratt from the University of Virginia, African Americans see the flag as a symbol of a racist past, slavery and second-class citizenship while many southerners view the flag as a symbol of their proud, distinctive heritage and the gentility of the “Old South.” Although the removal of the flag can help to ease the reminder of racism experienced in the past, it is not a complete solution to the future of racism.

It is understandable how some people view the Confederate flag as a connection to a time of racism and slavery. While the flag itself is not a direct symbol of those things, it is important to remember that the reason for the succession of the confederacy was the dependency on African American slavery.

Arguments against the removal of the Confederate flag are based on the idea that the flag is a part of history as well as a reminder of patriots who defended the south and were willing to die for what they believed in. Those siding with this argument can contend that removing the flag is erasing history, but history is not something that can erased. There will always be a reminder of the bravery and patriotism shown in the past shown from the state in which we live our lives today.

When thinking back on history, the progress that we have made as a country is so easily seen when considering the point we are at today. In regards to change, we are also at a different point in society when it comes to racism. Since the abolition of slavery, our nation is starting to realize the importance of human rights without discrimination. Although we as a nation are not where we once were, the confederate flag still serves as a reminder of what racism once was.

The Confederate flag itself does not represent racism and removing it will not completely end racism; although, as long as it is instilled, it serves as a reminder of discrimination in the past. Racism will still exist in the ignorance that we live in everyday and as the flag continues to fly, we will miss out on an opportunity to act on a chance to remove that reminder.

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The student newspaper of Nicholls State University