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Only People Can be Racist, not Flags

GWL-CPA
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12/29/2013 8:01:56 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
There have been a number of debates stating that the Confederate Flag is racist - specifically, that the Battle Flag of the Army of Virginia is racist.

The Battle Flag of the Army of Virginia is the flag that most people think was the flag that the Confederate States of America adopted; but, it was not.

The Confederate States of America adopted three different flags from 1861 to 1865. The flag you see on T-shirts and flown in the back windows of pick-up trucks driven by rednecks is the Battle Flag of the Army of Virginia. Are most people who buy T-Shirts with that flag or display that flag in the back windows of their pickup trucks racist? Most likely, they are.
http://www.moc.org...

How can a flag, an inanimate object be racist?

What is the definition of a racist?

Noun
1. A person who believes in racism, the doctrine that a certain human race is superior to any or all others.
http://dictionary.reference.com...

Based on that definition alone, a flag or any other inanimate object can't be racist; only people can be racist.

Were all the top people who ran the Confederate States of America government racist? Of course, they were. Were Jefferson Davis, Alexander Stephens, and Robert E. Lee racists? Of course, they were racists. Were all the officers in the Confederate Army and Navy racists? Of course, they were.

But, those people represented less than 0.1% (my guestiment) or less than 9,000 people, based on the total population of the Confederate States of America, which was estimated to be about 9 million people in 1860.

Even if you say those people in charge numbered 90,000; it is only 1% of the total population. But, that would be a lie, because 90,000 people were not in charge of the Confederate States of America government and the Confederate Army and Navy combined.
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://www.sewanee.edu...
SOURCE: U.S. Census Office, Eight Census [1860], Population, Washington, D.C., 1864.

Even if you state that all the people in the Confederate Army and Navy were racists, what percent of the total population is that?

It is hard to get exact numbers; but, the highest number I noted in my research on the Internet was about 1 million people that were in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. So, if you use 1,000,000 Confederate Soldiers in a total population of 9,000,000 (i.e. 9 million) living in the Confederate States, you get 11.11%. (i.e., 1,000,000 divided by 9,000,000 = .1111, which equals 11.11%.)

Can you say that all the soldiers in the Confederate Army were racist? No, you can't.

Proving how many people in the Confederate States of American were racist is impossible. But, you can look at how many owned slaves to guesstimate.

"The notion that the average Confederate waged war to preserve slavery is a tenuous one at best. Only 6 percent of Southerners owned slaves, and 3 percent of those owned the majority.

Recruits themselves referred to the war as "a rich man's war and a poor man's fight."

"Just as most Northerners did not fight to end slavery, most Southerners did not fight to preserve it," wrote James I. Robertson, Jr. in Tenting Tonight.
http://vaudc.org......

The Civil War: "A rich man's battle but a poor man's war"
Read more: http://communities.washingtontimes.com......
Follow us: @wtcommunities on Twitter

What is funnier to me is that most men and women in the North and South during the 1800's did not believe that the races were equal; they were against slavery, but they never believed the races were equal. Therefore, most were racists, regardless of the state flags in the North or the South.

All you have to do is look at when everyone finally got equal voting rights.

Blacks and Native Americans were given the Federal Right to Vote with the passage of the XV Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which was ratified on February 3, 1870, about 4 years, 9 months and 25 days after the Civil War ended on April 9, 1865.

Why did it take almost 5 years to get that passed?

"The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

http://www.historynet.com...
http://en.wikipedia.org...

However, It wasn't until the 1960s - with the passage of the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960, and 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which suspended all tests and similar devices that had been used to discriminate against minority groups, particularly blacks- that African Americans began to experience fewer instances of discrimination at the polls and truly gained the opportunity to exercise their voting rights.
Read more: http://www.answers.com...

And, then the group most discriminated against throughout all recorded history, the group called Women, got to vote in 1920 with the passage of the 19th Amendment.

Then there is the fact that more laws had to passed to guarantee that Blacks were not discriminated against, which did not happen until the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964. And, even that has not worked as it should. Many people in America are still racist. That is why laws have had to be passed to ensure that Blacks are not discriminated against. And, women too are still discriminated against. Blacks and Women are still paid much less for doing the same work as their male counterparts.

I only have to look at my own experience in Texas as proof.

For example, I worked for Bank One in Dallas, Texas in the 1980's. I worked in the Audit Department. There were over 100 auditors with college degrees, and at least 25 administrative staff. Guess what?

There was not 1 black person working in that Audit Department in the 3 years I worked there.

There were relatively few blacks working in the over 100 Bank One Community banks throughout Texas with at least one thousand employees, and relatively few working at Bank One Dallas, where at least two thousand people worked.

Only a handful of people in that audit department could hire people; so were they the racists? Or, was it the SVP (Senior Vice President of Audit), who told them whom they could hire. Whom was the racist? Was everyone in that Audit Department a racist?

Is Governor Rick Perry of Texas a racist? Of course, he is. Are Presidents George Bush, and G. W. Bush, and Governor Jeb Bush racists? You bet they are, wealthy white racists; but, they hide their racism well.

Are there lots of racists in Texas? You bet there are!

But, does that make the Texas Flag racist?

Nope, it does not.


People are racist, not flags.
When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he'd learned in seven years."

"Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."

Mark Twain
Illegalcombatant
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12/29/2013 8:13:49 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
How about flag burning, after all you can't hurt a flag eh.

Or is burning the american flag a crime ?
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12
YYW
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12/29/2013 8:39:27 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
The meaning of the confederate flag in pop-culture and in the modern redneck underworld hinges on the meaning of the American Civil War. To the person who considers that civil war to be The War of Northern Aggression, the Confederate flag is a symbol of defiance and opposition to external forces meddling with a particular way of life. To the person who understands the Civil War to be essentially a struggle over the authority to eradicate slavery between the federal and state levels of government, the Confederate Flag is a symbol of the quasi-nation that was the Confederate States of America (even though the CSA had a different flag, ironically) and it's rabid defense of slavery that rose to the level of military belligerency. Over time, the flag was appropriated by the KKK and other racist groups and that is where it began to draw racist connotations -not, at least most immediately, due to its connection to the CSA, but rather because of the KKK's appropriating that particular flag as one of its namesake icons. But the flag itself means whatever people say it means -and there is no final word on the question of whether or not the flag's meaning is racist. To some people, it's historical significance during the Civil War and after render an intrinsic quality to the flag's cultural meaning that cannot be separated from slavery and racism. To others, the flag has no racial meaning but stands as an icon for opposition for external aggression. It is my personal view that the flag is a disgrace to American history, that Civil War re-enactors are lunatics, and that the war should be something relegated only to the textbooks. But that is my perspective. To others, the Civil War is something inseparable from their identity, their history is closer to their being in the world, their culture is shaped by its legacy. What a horrible way to live...
Tsar of DDO
UserNameThatIsBeingTyped
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12/29/2013 9:29:28 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
You forgot the second definition, which was the adjective. People don't say "that flag is a racist" they say "that flag is racist"

adjective
2.
of or like racists or racism: racist policies; racist attitudes.

- http://dictionary.reference.com...

The confederate states of america stood for states rights... haha yea one right the right to 'decide the issue of slavery themselves' i.e. the right to protect the practice if slavery which was decidedly a racist institution in the south.

The cornerstone speech, the Mississippi reasons for secession, the newspapers, letters, speeches, and journals of the time, and finally every reasonable analysis for the causes of the war all point to one simple fact. The civil war was over slavery, the confederate state stood for the continuation of slavery and thus if a flag stood for the confederate state it also stood for the continuation of the most deeply racist variant of slavery that has ever existed.

That is racist, the flag is racist.
Really ADreamOfLiberty
GWL-CPA
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12/29/2013 10:37:44 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/29/2013 9:29:28 PM, UserNameThatIsBeingTyped wrote:
You forgot the second definition, which was the adjective. People don't say "that flag is a racist" they say "that flag is racist"

adjective
2.
of or like racists or racism: racist policies; racist attitudes.

- http://dictionary.reference.com...

The confederate states of america stood for states rights... haha yea one right the right to 'decide the issue of slavery themselves' i.e. the right to protect the practice if slavery which was decidedly a racist institution in the south.

The cornerstone speech, the Mississippi reasons for secession, the newspapers, letters, speeches, and journals of the time, and finally every reasonable analysis for the causes of the war all point to one simple fact. The civil war was over slavery, the confederate state stood for the continuation of slavery and thus if a flag stood for the confederate state it also stood for the continuation of the most deeply racist variant of slavery that has ever existed.

That is racist, the flag is racist.

You can't prove that. That is your opinion. You are entitled to believe what you want. Please reread YYW's post.

And, you are using the adjective "racist" incorrectly because you are applying it to an inanimate object that can't have human traits. What don't you understand?

You are committing the "pathetic fallacy." The pathetic fallacy is fine is you are writing poetically; but, otherwise it is not.

pathetic fallacy -noun
1. The attribution of human emotions or characteristics to inanimate objects or to nature; for example, angry clouds; a cruel wind.
http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

Again, the people who ran the governments were racist. The key word is "people."

Only people can be racist, not flags.

You can't prove that the majority of people in Mississippi were racist then or are racist now, no more than you can prove that the majority of people in Texas were racist then or are racist now.

In my statement that a Flag can't be racist, I am not using racist as an adjective to rename the subject. I am using racist as a noun, meaning a person who thinks his race is best. Obviously, a flag can't be a person.

So let me reword the statement to help you.

A flag is not a human, it is an inanimate object; it cannot have human character traits, like being a racist.

For you as a person, the Confederate Flag may invoke many emotions or feelings, e.g., all people in the South were racist; but, that flag itself can't be racist because it is an inanimate object.
When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he'd learned in seven years."

"Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."

Mark Twain
YYW
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12/29/2013 10:48:55 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
What's amazing is that people still fight over where the confederate flag (or, the version of it we're used to seeing) can be legally displayed because of "racist" connotations that come from the flag's historical gravity. My view is this: if people want to display it, let them display it. Let them say it means whatever they think it means. As a populace, we're strong enough to handle it. To fight the Confederate flag is to indicate that we're the opposite; that we're too weak to handle what vitriolic, ignorant and nonsensical bile can come from not more than a bombastic but withering minority of white trash.
Tsar of DDO
YYW
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12/29/2013 10:51:43 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Btw... I write about white trash culture with H.L. Menken's scathing judgement and W.J. Cash's level of condemnation. It disgusts me... in New Hampshire, parts of MA and all over Pennsylvania there are hillbillies/hicks/honkey's/etc. You just have to get far enough out of the city and suburbs to interact with them...
Tsar of DDO
amik10
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12/30/2013 7:19:50 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Ok so I have been thinking a lot about this and I think I have come up with a solution everyone will agree to.

"Inanimate objects themselves cannot be racist, but can represent something racist"
UserNameThatIsBeingTyped
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12/30/2013 10:11:04 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/29/2013 10:37:44 PM, GWL-CPA wrote:
At 12/29/2013 9:29:28 PM, UserNameThatIsBeingTyped wrote:
That is racist, the flag is racist.

You can't prove that.
Unless you're willing to challange one of my premises, I just did. Flags are representative of nations, people's and ideals. They are of those things. If those things are racist by being of racist ideas or people then the flag is by extension racist.

That is your opinion.
Everything I say is my opinion, that doesn't make it false nor does it make it true; thanks for repeating 1st most common yet totally extraneous comment made on debate sites.

You are entitled to believe what you want.
Ah, double or nothing. The 2nd most common yet totally extraneous comment made on debate sites. As long as there isn't a "lets agree to disagree" in the rest of your post I think I can keep my rant sequestered.

Please reread YYW's post.
I intentionally avoided it the first time. The meanderings of a cowardly pseudo-intellectual hypocrite are barely worth my attention on issues of import.

And, you are using the adjective "racist" incorrectly because you are applying it to an inanimate object that can't have human traits. What don't you understand?

What don't you understand about the fact that you can apply adjectives to inanimate objects and even to abstract concepts?

You are committing the "pathetic fallacy." The pathetic fallacy is fine is you are writing poetically; but, otherwise it is not.

pathetic fallacy -noun
1. The attribution of human emotions or characteristics to inanimate objects or to nature; for example, angry clouds; a cruel wind.
http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

If there is any of that going on it happened when people decided to represent large nation-states and/or groups of people and/or political movements with a piece of cloth. If you want to say that's silly go ahead, but then no one would ever fly a flag because what would be the point of tying cloth to the end of a pole except to check the wind?

Again, the people who ran the governments were racist. The key word is "people."

Again, the 'people' decided that flag would represent them and their beliefs, not me.

Only people can be racist, not flags.

All the black people need to die, their race is inferior and only gets in the way.

That statement is not a person, therefore it can't be racist. Agree or disagree?

You can't prove that the majority of people in Mississippi were racist then or are racist now, no more than you can prove that the majority of people in Texas were racist then or are racist now.

I can prove that a stated reason for seceding from the union (and adopting the confederate flag) given those appointed to represent the populace of Mississippi was slavery. I made no mention of majorities.

In my statement that a Flag can't be racist, I am not using racist as an adjective to rename the subject. I am using racist as a noun, meaning a person who thinks his race is best. Obviously, a flag can't be a person.

In your OP you said you had some debates with people about this, did any of them argue that a flag is a racist or did they argue that the flag is racist?

In English only the former can be a noun. Your topic sentence also reveals that this is not the case. You said "Only people can be racist" if you were using the word as a noun it would be "Only people can be racists."
Really ADreamOfLiberty
GWL-CPA
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12/30/2013 10:12:24 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/29/2013 8:13:49 PM, Illegalcombatant wrote:
How about flag burning, after all you can't hurt a flag eh.

Or is burning the american flag a crime ?

Flag burning is protected under the First Amendment as Freedom of Speech.

"Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989), was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that invalidated prohibitions on desecrating the American flag enforced in 48 of the 50 states. Justice William Brennan wrote for a five-justice majority in holding that the defendant Gregory Lee Johnson's act of flag burning was protected speech under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Johnson was represented by attorneys David D. Cole and William Kunstler."

I personally have a hard time with this one, but if you start making exceptions, then freedom of speech is not protected. PORNOGRAPHY AND THE FIRST AMENDMENT is different and can be banned under certain circumstances.
http://www.nap.edu...
When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he'd learned in seven years."

"Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."

Mark Twain
YYW
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12/30/2013 10:16:56 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/30/2013 10:11:04 PM, UserNameThatIsBeingTyped wrote:
At 12/29/2013 10:37:44 PM, GWL-CPA wrote:
Please reread YYW's post.
I intentionally avoided it the first time. The meanderings of a cowardly pseudo-intellectual hypocrite are barely worth my attention on issues of import.

http://cdn.memegenerator.net...
Tsar of DDO
airmax1227
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12/30/2013 10:17:21 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/30/2013 7:19:50 PM, amik10 wrote:
Ok so I have been thinking a lot about this and I think I have come up with a solution everyone will agree to.

"Inanimate objects themselves cannot be racist, but can represent something racist"

I think everyone understands this. Some who'd rather play semantic games are using the terminology out of good faith for the sake of semantics to back up their point of view,

I happen to largely agree with what YYW has said, but that seem tangential to what this thread is about based on it's title and the debate it originated from.

It's obvious that a flag can represent something racist, and it's also obvious that things that aren't people can be racist. Political movements can be racist, ideas can be racist and an inanimate object can be racist, if they represent ideas intended to marginalize other races. Everything else being argued is a matter of how we define these things and the semantics issues.
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YYW
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12/30/2013 10:18:32 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/30/2013 7:19:50 PM, amik10 wrote:
Ok so I have been thinking a lot about this and I think I have come up with a solution everyone will agree to.

"Inanimate objects themselves cannot be racist, but can represent something racist"

Just like the word "fuck" is not itself profane -it is only perceived to be profane by some who listen to it.
Tsar of DDO
airmax1227
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12/30/2013 10:21:33 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/30/2013 10:18:32 PM, YYW wrote:
At 12/30/2013 7:19:50 PM, amik10 wrote:
Ok so I have been thinking a lot about this and I think I have come up with a solution everyone will agree to.

"Inanimate objects themselves cannot be racist, but can represent something racist"

Just like the word "fuck" is not itself profane -it is only perceived to be profane by some who listen to it.

I don't think anyone is disagreeing with that. The flag itself is only racist based on the perceptions of others. The flag itself outside of all context entirely, obviously has no meaning whatsoever.
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YYW
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12/30/2013 10:22:39 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/30/2013 10:21:33 PM, airmax1227 wrote:
At 12/30/2013 10:18:32 PM, YYW wrote:
At 12/30/2013 7:19:50 PM, amik10 wrote:
Ok so I have been thinking a lot about this and I think I have come up with a solution everyone will agree to.

"Inanimate objects themselves cannot be racist, but can represent something racist"

Just like the word "fuck" is not itself profane -it is only perceived to be profane by some who listen to it.

I don't think anyone is disagreeing with that. The flag itself is only racist based on the perceptions of others. The flag itself outside of all context entirely, obviously has no meaning whatsoever.

Essentially, yes.
Tsar of DDO
Ore_Ele
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12/30/2013 10:28:11 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/29/2013 10:48:55 PM, YYW wrote:
What's amazing is that people still fight over where the confederate flag (or, the version of it we're used to seeing) can be legally displayed because of "racist" connotations that come from the flag's historical gravity. My view is this: if people want to display it, let them display it. Let them say it means whatever they think it means. As a populace, we're strong enough to handle it. To fight the Confederate flag is to indicate that we're the opposite; that we're too weak to handle what vitriolic, ignorant and nonsensical bile can come from not more than a bombastic but withering minority of white trash.

Do you say the same about people that do the same thing, but towards sexuality, rather than race?
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
dylancatlow
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12/30/2013 10:33:08 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Someone's push to get rid of a 'racist' flag would obviously not be predicated on the idea that the flag is a racist person. It's an irrelevant detail. And anyway, I googled the definition of racist, and it definitely applies to inanimate objects as well : having or showing the belief that a particular race is superior to another.
YYW
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12/30/2013 10:35:30 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/30/2013 10:28:11 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
At 12/29/2013 10:48:55 PM, YYW wrote:
What's amazing is that people still fight over where the confederate flag (or, the version of it we're used to seeing) can be legally displayed because of "racist" connotations that come from the flag's historical gravity. My view is this: if people want to display it, let them display it. Let them say it means whatever they think it means. As a populace, we're strong enough to handle it. To fight the Confederate flag is to indicate that we're the opposite; that we're too weak to handle what vitriolic, ignorant and nonsensical bile can come from not more than a bombastic but withering minority of white trash.

Do you say the same about people that do the same thing, but towards sexuality, rather than race?

I'm not sure if you're asking about how I would respond to homophobia or to overt displays of homosexuality.
Tsar of DDO
Illegalcombatant
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12/31/2013 12:11:14 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/30/2013 10:12:24 PM, GWL-CPA wrote:
At 12/29/2013 8:13:49 PM, Illegalcombatant wrote:
How about flag burning, after all you can't hurt a flag eh.

Or is burning the american flag a crime ?

Flag burning is protected under the First Amendment as Freedom of Speech.

"Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989), was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that invalidated prohibitions on desecrating the American flag enforced in 48 of the 50 states. Justice William Brennan wrote for a five-justice majority in holding that the defendant Gregory Lee Johnson's act of flag burning was protected speech under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Johnson was represented by attorneys David D. Cole and William Kunstler."

I personally have a hard time with this one, but if you start making exceptions, then freedom of speech is not protected. PORNOGRAPHY AND THE FIRST AMENDMENT is different and can be banned under certain circumstances.
http://www.nap.edu...

Who's up for some flag burning ?
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12
GWL-CPA
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12/31/2013 9:56:09 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/30/2013 10:33:08 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Someone's push to get rid of a 'racist' flag would obviously not be predicated on the idea that the flag is a racist person. It's an irrelevant detail. And anyway, I googled the definition of racist, and it definitely applies to inanimate objects as well : having or showing the belief that a particular race is superior to another.

Dylancatlow,

You are playing with words and not defining them correctly, in that, an inanimate object itself does not represent racism. I don't care what your googled.

Here is how you should be thinking about this.

Racist

noun

1. A person who believes in racism, the doctrine that a certain human race is superior to any or all others.

Adjective

2. Of or like racists or racism: racist policies; racist attitudes.

http://dictionary.reference.com...

Do you semanticists see that the adjective meaning of racist is in reference to the noun, which states - a person who believes in racism.

Guess what? Flags can't have racist policies or racist attitudes, only people can. The person who writes a racist policy is the racist, not the piece of paper it is written on, or the flag it is written on.

I know that this is a fine line that is hard for many of you folks to understand.

Let's look at the definition of racism.

racism

noun
1. A belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
2. A policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
3. Hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

http://dictionary.reference.com...

Now, don't get all excited in thinking you have me with that definition; you don't!

Only people can have beliefs, doctrines, policies, systems, and governments.

So if it is a racist doctrine, it is racist because a racist person or persons wrote the doctrine.

If it is a racist system, it is racist system because the people who run the system are racist.

If it is a racist government, it is racist government because the people who run the government are racist.

Maybe if we look at the meaning of the word inanimate, it will help you understand that fine line Dylancatlow.

Now let's look at the definition of the adjective inanimate:

World English Dictionary

inanimate

adj
1. lacking the qualities or features of living beings; not animate: inanimate objects
2. lacking any sign of life or consciousness; appearing dead
3. lacking vitality; spiritless; dull

http://dictionary.reference.com...

I think we can all agree that a flag, even the Confederate Flag is an inanimate object and therefore is not a person.

I think we can all agree that only people can be racist.

Therefore, flags, even the Confederate Flag can't be racist because they are inanimate objects.
When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he'd learned in seven years."

"Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."

Mark Twain
Beverlee
Posts: 721
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1/1/2014 7:36:43 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I live in Texas, where the confederate flag is always getting flown by people who say that it's part of their heritage. But these people don't ever fly the Mexican flag, even though Texas was a part of Mexico once. Mexico is more a part of the heritage of every Texan than the confederacy ever was.

I also have to mention that the people that fly that flag just never seem to be black, or Hispanic, or Asian, or African, or liberal or moderate. They are always the same demographic it seems like.