The Instigator
ndedo
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points
The Contender
eyeballsac
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Use of the Confederate flag is not inherently racist towards African Americans

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
ndedo
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/21/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 814 times Debate No: 41022
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)

 

ndedo

Pro

The Confederate Flag is not an inherently racist symbol. People are regularly offended by the use of it on T-shirts, bumper stickers, logos, and countless other things; they claim that anyone who wears it or supports it is by implication a racist. They claim that by using the symbol of the Confederacy, people endorse all of the policies and institutions under that short-lived government, obviously including slavery. Instead, I would argue that the flag is a symbol of the unique Southern heritage that bound those states together a century and a half ago. To say that the flag is a symbol of racism is just as ridiculous as saying that the current American flag (minus a few stars) is also a symbol of racism and slavery. That flag was flown for a much longer time over American institutions and governments that perpetuated racism and slavery (Northern and Southern), but that is not what it stands for.
It cannot be denied, however, that the Confederate flag can and has been used by racists to remind blacks of slavery and to express their prejudices against the race. The Confederate government was no doubt racist. But it also is undeniable that the North (leading up to, during, and after the Civil War) was just as racist, if not more so. Also, in the recent past the American government has been racist (i.e., Japanese internment camps) and the flag has been used to express people's prejudices against Muslims and Asians, among others. This is simply a perversion of the symbol and it is sorely misled.
eyeballsac

Con

Even though it is not inherently racist, so many people have used it to go against blacks. Its like some sporting a swastika, but saying its only because they love Germany, and that they aren't against Jews. It's just the message that so many people have put behind it that cause people to act this way.
Debate Round No. 1
ndedo

Pro

Anyone who does condemn the use of the Confederate flag symbol is ignorant of history. I've already admitted that yes, it can be used to express racist views. The Nazi swastika was used by Hitler's Germany in a time when the primary goal of his actions was the betterment of the Aryan race. He began invading the areas around Germany to acquire room for white Germans to expand, a plan known as "Lebensraum." The Holocaust was a racially motivated attack on other people and the swastika is undoubtedly a symbol of that tragedy.
By contrast, the Confederacy was not seeking to advance unprecedented racial attacks on another race; it merely sought to preserve the racist institution that allowed its entire economy to function, among other things. Therefore, the actions of the south were economically motivated rather than racially. Another thing that many people forget is that the Civil war was not fought primarily over slavery, but over states' rights as a whole, which included slavery. Lincoln made slavery the issue with the Emancipation Proclamation, which served to keep Britain from supporting a war for slavery.
I'll state this again: when the Confederate flag it is used by people who do not mean it with the idea of racism behind it, it should not be deemed offensive. An example of this is Brad Paisley, who was harshly labeled a racist hick when he wore a t-shirt with a Confederate Flag in public. To appease the media, he decided to co-produce a truly awful country/rap song called "Accidental Racist" with LL Cool J to explain that he wasn't a racist. It might be the worst song ever recorded, but it explains his position fairly well.
eyeballsac

Con

I agree with the fact that it SHOULDN'T cause someone to be labeled as a racist, im just saying it does. I don't really have much more to argue about.
Debate Round No. 2
ndedo

Pro

Since we both agree with the premise that it is not actually racist and shouldn't be labeled as such, then I also have little else to say. That's all I was arguing for in the first place.
Good debate Con
eyeballsac

Con

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
:)
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Oromagi 3 years ago
Oromagi
Look, for his first speech after the winning the Republican nomination in 1980, Ronald Reagan chose Philadelphia, Miss to give a speech regarding "state's rights." A curious choice, since Philadelphia is a small place and a lock for Republican candidates. But Philadelphia was the sight of the 1964 murders of 3 Civil Rights workers by the Klan, and Reagan was speaking to the entire South. Reagan promised to "restore to states and local governments the power that properly belongs to them." The words themselves are not inherently racist, but Reagan was speaking in the code of racism. Reagan's Political Director Lee Atwater broke the code down in an anonymous 1981 interview (his identity was revealed in 2012):

Questioner: But the fact is, isn't it, that Reagan does get to the Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps?

Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying, "N*gger, n*gger, n*gger." By 1968 you can't say "n*gger" " that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

So, we know that Reagan clearly understood that saying "states rights" was decoded by racists as "n*gger." In a political context, the Confederate flag operates on the same principle. I'm sure there are Southerners who don't interpret the flag as necessarily racist, but the politically saavy understand that every time the flag issue is raised, there are groups on both sides that always and only hear "n*gger, n*gger, n*gger."
Posted by ndedo 3 years ago
ndedo
Oromagi
You made some good points; thanks for weighing in. I'd just like to point out that while the flag is recognized by some people in the South to be supportive of those agendas you mentioned, it stands for many other things. I happen to live in the deep south myself and neither I nor most people I know would interpret it as being racist. Notably, it was the symbol of Ole Miss (University of Mississippi) and the mascot was a Confederate soldier. Until recently, there was no problem with this because people didn't intend it as a racist symbol, but one of southern heritage. People took offense to something that wasn't intended and the university was wrongly forced to ban the mascot and flag.
Posted by Oromagi 3 years ago
Oromagi
Adding the word inherently makes this a difficult debate to take on. The flag itself is just a pattern with little inherent political content. Nor was the rectangular stars on bars flag that we think of as the official confederate flag ever the flag of the Confederacy- it is a derivation from the square battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia.

Nevertheless, the Confederate flag is often used to communicate racist aspirations or racist sympathies, dating from 1956 when the flag adopted by segregationists as the symbol of resistance to integration of the University of Mississippi. Since that time, the flag has been used symbolically by politicians (particularly Southern politicians) to communicate political affiliation. Support for the flag is well understood by Southern voters as code for segregationist, anti-immigration, or anti-black agendas. Conversely, opposition to the flag is code for inclusive agendas. One need not necessarily be a racist to fly or admire the Confederate flag, but racists will generally interpret support for the flag as a symbol of support.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by TheOncomingStorm 3 years ago
TheOncomingStorm
ndedoeyeballsacTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: This was almost not worth voting on, but I had to make sure ndedo got far ahead. Con completely conceded the debate in the first round. That's why I give the conduct and argument points to ndedo.
Vote Placed by bballboy9876 3 years ago
bballboy9876
ndedoeyeballsacTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro was the only one who really explained his position at all. Conduct and S&G were even. No sources were used by either side.