The better question is what does using the flag TODAY symbolize? It's so irrelevant whether every individual who fought for the Confederacy was particularly racist for the time period that I don't know why anyone would bring it up. If you look at the psychology of people who fly the flag, it is more indicative of resentment than it is of pride - which is what it distinguishes it from other flags. Resentment against the federal government, against northern liberals, and, yes, against minorities. Check out videos of white supremacist rallies and you'll see that the "confederate flag is a symbol of heritage" argument doesn't offer a holistic view on why people fly the flag. Plus, there is nothing to be proud about when it comes to the Confederacy; it was a vile organization that was not only created for the express purpose of maintaining slavery, but that fought to destroy the very government in which we live, the government that they betrayed, and was ultimately a complete catastrophe (it would have been anyways, given their stupid economic policies and obsession with "states' rights"). Just think, every single one of the Robert E. Lee's glorified victories achieved nothing accept for a longer war and thousands more lives lost. So why would anyone fly the flag, accept to express anger and hatred? In truth, we need less southern pride and more American pride. Regionalism is obviously destructive, what do we gain by pitting countrymen against each other? For anyone thinking about flying the flag, look at poll numbers about how white and black people in the south feel about the flag. Just in holding the opinion that the confederate flag is a great symbol of heritage you are showing your thoughtless white privilege. Keep in mind that there are so many people you could offend by flying that flag, and what do you really gain in exchange?
Should the confederate flag be banned? No, of course not. I don't see what anyone would gain by attempting to prohibit private individuals from flying the flag. But it certainly shouldn't be flown at state capitals, and I don't personally feel it should be displayed anywhere other than a museum.
It stood for the southern states' rights. Lincoln was losing support in the North and people in the North were tired of losing males in the family. So Lincoln issued the empacition proclamation to rally the north. What some forget that blacks fought under the Confederate flag too. This is why the flag is not racist.
There are actually 3 official Confederate flags, the Stars and Bars, the Stainless Banner, and the Blood-Stained Banner. They are the first, second, and third flags respectively. Of those flags, only the Stainless Banner and the Blood-Stained Banner share a resemblance with what is now generally considered to be Confederate flag.
In fact, what is now called the Confederate flag is in fact either the Confederate Navy Jack, or the Battle Flag of Northern Virginia.
That being said, I will say that these flags, except for the first, could be, and are, taken as a symbol of racism. This doesn't mean I think that we should ban any form of this flag, but that one should take into account the feelings of others when displaying the Confederate Navy Jack, or any other flag sporting a similar design.
In short, the Confederate flag is not and was not meant to be, at least by the majority of Confederate soldiers, to be a symbol of racism. In fact, many considered it to be a symbol of Southern pride.
The Confederate flag is not a symbol of racism and is not meant to offend African-Americans. It is simply a symbol of Southern pride and heritage, as Byron Thomas, an African-American South Carolinian, puts it, "For me and many Southerners, the flag celebrates my heritage and regional pride."
I believe it is time our nation moves passed "political correctness" and starts to build a thicker skin. This is one of the many reasons I support Mr. Donald Trump as president of the United States.
Including the American flag. Atrocities have been committed by countless nations throughout the history of the world - including the Confederate States of America. However, we can't forget that the atrocity of slavery that we often associate with the Confederate flag was a legal institution in the United States far longer than it was in the short lived Confederacy. If the Confederate flag is racist, so too is the flag of the U.S., Spain, Portugal, France, etc. that violated the human right to be free so long ago.
Today, the Confederate flag is a symbol of unity among the Southern people, regardless of historical context. It has a history of being associated with racism solely due to the fact that it flew over the South while slavery was prominent. Even White supremacist groups that use the Confederate flag, used the American flag long before they picked up the Southern banner. The Klan marched down the streets of the capitol waving the Red White & Blue - but we don't say the American flag is a symbol of racism... So why would the Confederate flag be any different?