Last weekend, I explained why, as a Southerner, the most common defense of the Confederate flag just doesn’t cut it for me. Claims that it’s about “heritage, not hate” don’t recognize all the rich and varied aspects of Southern heritage that the flag fails to represent. It seems that others see it that way, too.
On Monday, the city commission of Greeneville, Tennessee—which happens to be just one town over from where I grew up—resoundingly rejected, in a 22-1 vote, the commissioner’s proposal to hoist the Confederate battle flag over the city courthouse alongside the American flag.
And on Tuesday, 33 senators in Ole Miss’s student government outvoted 15 of their peers to pass a measure that favors the removal of the state flag—which includes a version of the Confederate flag in its design—from school grounds. University faculty and administrators would also have to move to finalize the maneuver, but should it succeed, it could bolster other efforts to change the design of the state flag altogether.
There are plenty of people at Ole Miss, in Mississippi, in Greeneville, Tennessee, and elsewhere, who embrace white-supremacist doctrines—and are constitutionally entitled to fly whatever symbols they desire. For that reason, “Southern pride” has long been a term seen by many as a euphemism for racism. But that may very well be changing.