The year is 2021. It's been 156 years since the Confederate States of America dissolved. So why are Confederate flags still flying in Lubbock?

Recently, there has been a man setting up in an empty lot off of the Marsha Sharp Freeway selling a variety of flags -- everything from "Trump 2024" to the Kansas City Chiefs. The one flag that really stood out to me and makes me cringe every time I see someone flying it, is the Confederate flag.

Many people fly this flag and say they do it to show the heritage of their state, while others wear it as a sign of rebellion. While this Confederate battle flag is believed to stand for those things, it really is a symbol of racism.

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After the election of President Abraham Lincoln and his wish to abolish slavery across the United States, 11 states decided to secede. The reason to do so was due to economic and cultural differences based on the desire to continue slavery in the south.

The flag we see today is an adaptation of the original ‘Stars and Bars’ flag used by the Confederacy. Due to the similarity of the original Confederacy flag and the Union flag, to prevent any confusion during battles, they developed the "Battle Flag" that we know today.

Not long after losing the war and the Confederacy dissolving, the flag was adopted as a symbol used by white supremacists. In 1948, the “Dixiecrats”, a pro-segregation, Southern Democratic splinter party, adopted the confederate flag as their party symbol. The Confederate flag has also been used as a symbol of white supremacy by the Ku Klux Klan, which was originally formed by ex-Confederate soldiers.

The racist meaning of the flag is glaringly obvious, yet some only see it as a symbol of southern heritage. YouGov surveyed over 34,000 Americans to see what they think of the Confederate flag. Those surveyed were given the option to say if they think the flag represents racism, heritage, neither, or they don’t know.

Out of those surveyed, 41 percent answered that the flag is racist, and 34 percent said they believe it represents heritage. Those who responded that the flag represents heritage were mostly non-college-educated, white Americans, over the age of 65, living in rural areas.

Arkansas, Alabama and Louisiana were the only states that were previously a part of the Confederacy to receive more answers saying the flag represented heritage over racism. The other eight former Confederate states voted in favor of the Confederate flag’s racist symbolism.

When looking at the survey's demographics, the only group that had more votes for heritage than racism was white non-college-educated people. Every other group, including college-educated and non-college-educated black, Hispanic, and Asian people, as well as college-educated white people, said that they believe the flag represents racism over heritage.

With all of this in mind, I think it's easy to say the confederate flag is a symbol of racism. Obviously, I can’t stop anyone from flying the Confederate flag; that's your right as an American. But it saddens me that so many people still normalize a symbol that represents so much hatred.

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