Confederate flag resurfaces: Symbol of institutionalized racism or spirit of country?

Annabelle Ady, Opinion Editor

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The Confederate flag represents the turmoil and racism our country faced in its early years, but now the flag been remade to represent something totally different: country pride.
Depending on who answers, responses will vary greatly on this topic. To many in Idaho it’s a symbol of patriotism and a love for all things country, such as fishing, hunting, and everything that goes with them. To others it symbolizes slavery and racism, a reminder of the South and the Civil War. Even though Lewiston is far to the north, at LHS it’s not uncommon for students to incorporate the Confederate flag into projects and outfits.
It’s not unusual in Idaho to see someone wearing or flying the Confederate flag, especially alongside the American flag. This is ironic because one flag represents the United States and the other symbolizes the divided states. The flag seems to often go hand in hand with the Ku Klux Klan, the age-old group of white nationalists focused on hatred towards people of color.
It’s surreal how often the Confederate flag still appears today on belt buckles, on shirts, or even on little things sold in gas stations. One would think people would have moved on from racism and changed since the U.S. Civil War in 1861-1865. It would be a bit more understandable for people in the South. It might still be wrong, but it would make more sense.
Among other LHS teachers, Matt Dabbs, has recently spoken out against this flag at school. To Dabbs the flag represents slavery, but “people tell themselves it’s country pride,” he said.
As of 2017 the flag has come to represent the alt-right. Dabbs believes that people still fly it because “it’s more about the fallacy that it represents country culture. It’s a misconception,” he said. “Prejudice is in every political group. It manifests in racism.”
For Dabbs the recent rise of blatant racism, as seen with violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the recent rise of activity of the KKK, correlates with the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president. He described Americans as being like children watching an adult (Trump) do something negative without punishment. People seem to be mimicking or coming forward with racism, sexism and the like thinking they’re ok.
By electing a racist and a sexist, the people who subscribe to that belief system seem to have become more open about it because it has become “acceptable.”
With the Confederate flag popping up locally, it appeared Aug. 11 in Charlottesville at a white rights rally at the University of Virginia.
According to the Washington Post alt-right protesters in Charlottesville, including the Ku Klux Klan, met counter protesters. The alt-right marchers included many white men in khakis and polo shirts. They marched in formation holding lit tiki torches, chanting things like “Blood and soil,” “Jews will not replace us,” and “You will not replace us.”
The White Lives Matter protesters marched towards a Thomas Jefferson statue, where they were met by 30 university students of various races. There were no police or emergency personnel, so when the protesters became violent there was not any protection for either side.
Then a second rally Aug. 12 in Charlottesville turned more violent, with protesters carrying weapons. It seems that although police were present, they failed to break up the escalating violence.
The KKK members from the Aug. 11 rally were named and shamed on Twitter, where a campaign launched to figure out the identities of the rallymen. Most were identified, with their photos circulating the web, resulting in most, if not all, being fired from their jobs.

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Confederate flag resurfaces: Symbol of institutionalized racism or spirit of country?