The confederate flag is a symbol of the confederacy which supported slavery. To African-Americans this flag represents slavery, Jim Crow, hatred, racism, and discrimination. This question is a subjective one where any person may have a different but equally valid opinion. I'm giving you mine. I'm a white guy from Florida, born and bred in the south. I don't own a confederate flag but I had ancestors on both sides of my family fight for the confederacy. When I see the flag I think of both dixie and racism. We can't escape our racist history anymore than we can escape the current race divide still present in society.
The flag represents the CSA and the CSA was racist by enslaving blacks and it's people were racist for allowing it. Necessary way of life? It wasn't necessary it was financially convenient. Patriotism can be good or bad. In this case it was bad.