If the Confederate Flag Must Be Taken Down, Then So Should the Rainbow Pride Flag

As the nation grapples with last year’s massacre at trans confederate flag AME church, the debate over the Confederate flag seems poised to rekindle. It’s a familiar argument, but with a new twist.

The question: If the Confederate flag is offensive, then so must be the rainbow pride flag. The answer: No, they’re not the same.

During the Civil War, eleven Southern states seceded from the United States in an attempt to protect slavery. They formed the Confederate States of America, and their flag represented heritage, but also racism. Today, it’s regularly weaponized by neo-Nazis and far-right extremists to intimidate African Americans and other minorities.

Trans Confederate Flag: Representation and Identity in Modern Contexts

Many Americans 50 and older grew up in a country whose symbolic landscape was dotted with Confederate flags, monuments and street names. They came of age with a sense that the symbolism reflected the status quo in American life, even though that status quo was shaped by systemic racism.

After the civil rights movement and the shooting in Charleston, public sentiment quickly turned against the Confederate flag. Almost all African Americans and most whites now support removing the Confederate flag from government property; preventing private companies from selling or manufacturing items featuring the Confederate flag (65% of those with college degrees favor this change, compared to 42% of those without); and redesigning state flags to remove references to the Confederacy (58% vs. 42% among those with college degrees).

But despite the clear shift in public opinion, the fight over the flag is likely to rage on. The question: If the Confederate flag must be taken down, then so should the rainbow pride flag.