I’m reposting Paul White’s excellent article on the Confederate Battle Flag from Quora, with his permission:
What do white people think when they see the rebel flag, aka, the ‘Confederate Flag’? What is now known as the ‘Confederate Flag’ never historically represented the Confederate States of America, nor was it officially recognized as the national flag.
What is often thought of as the “Confederate flag” is actually a battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia. I don’t know if other Confederate armies used the same or similar battle flags, however, as a battle flag of the most important Confederate army, led by General Lee, General Johnston, and General Beauregard, it became known as the “Confederate flag”, and thus carries the legacy of the Confederacy, much more than the actual Confederate flag, the “Stars and Bars”.
That said, there were later designs of the Confederate national flag which included what is often thought of as the Confederate flag, however in both, it was merely the canton. First with the Stainless Banner
and then with the Blood Stained Banner.
So what do I, as a White person, think when I see what is commonly considered the Confederate flag? Well, the perspectives on it will be quite different depending on which White person you’re talking about. First, the perspective of a White person from the South, second the perspective of a a White person from the North, and third, the perspective of a White person from outside the United States. As a symbol from the South, the only perspective that matters in this context is the first one, though that does not stop the other two from arrogantly shoving their opinions on it down our throats. Unfortunately after decades of foreign brainwashing, their anti-Confederate perspective have begun to even pollute the minds of Southerners today.
I am in the first category, and I even have family who fought in the Civil War for the Confederate Army. However, they were not in the Army of Northern Virginia, so I don’t think they would have actually served under that battle flag. Nonetheless, given its reputation as the Confederate flag, it doesn’t especially matter, because they might as well have done so.
When I see it, I see it as a symbol of multiple things. First, as a symbol the Antebellum South. While in today’s historiography it is reduced to “slavery”, there was a lot more to the Antebellum South than slavery. It was the most aristocratic region of the colonies and later the Union, it held dear to the Scots-Irish independent frontiersman spirit, it was the most cultured part of the country, it was the heart of American warrior culture, it was the most traditional part of the country, most closely related to our father of Britain, with its people being almost all descended from the original colonists, and so much more. One sees this attitude in some Whites from the third category, with some of the Protestant Ulstermen during the Troubles showing their solidarity with the South.
Second, I see it as a symbol of resistance to tyranny. Regardless of whether or not Lincoln and the North were tyrants, the men of the Confederacy fought to defend their autonomy, honor, and rights as Americans, much as the Southerners Washington and Jefferson fought to defend their honor and rights as Englishmen against the British crown.
Third, I see it as a general symbol of anti-political correctness. As the politically correct mobs have descended upon the Confederate flag, those who naturally oppose political correctness, regardless of their beliefs, took on the flag as a symbol of resistance against it. This would probably be the most common reason for display of the Confederate flag, particularly outside the South, whether it be in the North or outside the United States.
Fourth, and this one is personal rather than general, I see it as a symbol of the war my ancestors fought in the defense of their homes, families, and honor from the onslaught of the Union Army. Particularly, it reminds me of paternal triple great-grandfather whose name I share and whose face I’ve seen (in pictures). It reminds me in a very personal way that I am not just an atomized individual floating in space, but part of something greater: an unbroken bloodline going back since the beginning of time, which it is my duty to pass on to my descendants for the rest of time.
Yes, many, if not all, of the Confederate Army would have been “racists”, much as how many, if not all, of the Continental Army would have been. Such was normal to all until relatively recently. Ethnocentrism, which the “racism” slur is used to describe, is normal and is the natural state of human affairs. To mix large number radically different people in one society will never and has never worked, leading inevitably to the destruction of culture, alienation, violence, and civil war. To complain about this merely shows you’ve had your mind successfully melted by our modern society where everything is completely fake and artificial, and you are too.
I also find it hilarious that the same people who breathlessly complain about America, saying it’s evil and “racist”, built on evil and “racism”, with the enslavement of Blacks, the “genocide” of Indians, the “stolen land” of Indians and Mexicans, that the Founding Fathers were evil “racists”, that the pioneers and settlers were evil “racists”, that the Pilgrims were evil “racists”, and so on, will then put on a pretense of patriotism when it comes to the Confederate flag. They will denounce it as the flag of “treason” and anyone who flies it (even those who don’t hate every aspect of the country the way they do) is actually a traitor.
I don’t know how anyone could take such sentiments seriously given the blatant inconsistency in rhetoric. The only other time these people put on a facade of patriotism is when talking about the Second World War (at least in Europe), even though almost every WWII veteran would likely rather join the Axis than team up with them.
Not to mention the display of the Confederate flag by the American Armed Forces (who must’ve all been traitors according to the anti-Confederate flag mob) since the end of the Civil War, whether it be Vietnam,
or in the many other places it was flown.
Even immediately after the Civil War itself, the Civil War was regarded by almost everyone as a terrible war between brothers, and except for the most extreme anti-Southerners in the North and the most extreme anti-Northerners in the South, there was a feeling of a need for reconciliation. The same triple great-grandfather of mine who I referenced earlier met a Union veteran who fought in the same battle as him on the other side, and they became lifelong friends. The very men who fought the Confederacy did not even think in the terms the militant politically correct anti-Confederate types do.
Really, the anti-Confederate flag crusade is not in the slightest a concern about “treason” or “rebellion” as it is sold, but simply another means to attack and promote hate against White people. As such, the Confederate flag has developed another meaning as well: a symbol of White resistance to anti-White hatred in the modern world. If there was the slightest concern about patriotism, the same people who condemn the Confederate flag wouldn’t try to delegitimize the whole history of the United States as one of evil “racism”. So, I look upon the Confederate flag as a symbol of my people, whether that be White Southerners or the White race as a whole, and I look upon it with pride and love.