am also from Kentucky
. To me, saying the rebel flag
is not about slavery is like saying the Nazi flag
is not about anti-Semitism
. Yes, the seceding states
did not do so solely for the purpose of perpetuating slavery
. Neither did the Third Reich
storm through Europe
solely for the purpose of exterminating the Jews
. That doesn't stop the Confederate flag
from still carrying connotations of racism
, much as does the black, white, and red swastika
The confederate flag is directly offensive to a good thirteen percent of the U.S. population, and indirectly offensive to many more. Suggesting that Southern states should fly it to symbolise their heritage is like suggesting that Germany fly the emblem of the N.S.D.A.P. to symbolise its greatest period of ascendency.
sfc: As to your first paragraph (about the American flag representing slavery): that's a good point. I'll have to think about it. It may perhaps be that the U.S. has had the opportunity to correct some of its injustices, while the Confederacy and the N.S.D.A.P. didn't last long enough to correct theirs---and probably wouldn't have, anyway.
As to your second, I'll have to disagree with you. To continue the Nazi parallel, should the descendents of Third Reich soldiers get to determine what the Nazi flag stands for? Perhaps it stands for the elimination of Marxism. Morally, everyone is entitled to determine the meaning of a symbol---and, were I the ultimate arbiter of such things, I would have to say that the horrors of slavery and racism it evokes to many people (myself included) more than outweigh the pride it evokes to others.
In reality, it's not a matter of who should determine the meaning of symbols---it's a matter of who does. Telling southern blacks that ``really, this flag doesn't symbolise racism and slavery'' is a lie; it does to them, and---completely ignoring the North for the moment---it does to many white southerners as well. It's like telling Jews, ``the swastika symbolises the sun and anti-Communism, not lebensraum and the Final Solution''.