Time to let go of Confederate symbols

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

We applaud removing statues glorifying Confederate generals and taking down the rectangular banner thought of in modern times as the “Confederate flag” (it was actually not used during the Civil War). Historical statues and symbols can be preserved for informational purposes in museums, but they should not be revered at parks and courthouses.

The Confederate flag is often seen in white supremacist parades alongside the Nazi swastika.

Confederate symbols, like Nazi symbols, are symbols of bigotry and always have been. For over a century, in the spirit of healing old wounds, we have portrayed the Civil War in popular culture as a struggle of brother against brother, valiantly fighting for conflicting yet noble goals. We do not regard German and Japanese soldiers in the same way.

The swastika is not regarded as symbolizing valiant soldiers striving for a noble goal. The German soldiers may have been brave and self-sacrificing, but they were serving on the side of evil.

Slavery differed from the Holocaust in that the slaves were regarded as valuable property to be kept alive if they were cooperative. However, the slaves could be tortured or even killed at the discretion of their owners without any due process because the owners convinced themselves that whites were racially superior to their slaves.

There are still people who feel that way.