To black Americans, meanwhile, these flags send a clear, painful, and frightening message:You don’t belong here. By being here, you are in danger. This nation is not for you. It was no coincidence that those who opposed the civil rights movement for desegregation and integration across America began to resurrect the use of the flag in the 1950s and 1960s.
Americans who refuse to acknowledge the connection between the Confederate flag and the horrors of slavery and white supremacy are still in the grip of a “malignant spirit” handed down from generation to generation from 1865 to this day.
It is a fine thing that the Confederate flag will no longer fly above the South Carolina state capitol. But displaying the Confederate flag anywhere is, at bottom, an act of hate. It should be recognized as such, and punished as a hate crime.
Given the millions who suffered under the whip of slave masters, and all the families separated as slave traders sold sons and daughters away from their parents, and wives away from their husbands, All Americans should recoil from the Confederate flag with the same horror we feel for the Nazi swastika.