Jamelle Bouie: What Links the Neo-Confederate Virginia Flaggers, Barack Obama & Racetags: Barack Obama, Confederacy, The Daily Beast, Virginia, Confederate flag, Jamelle Bouie
Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect and a Knobler Fellow at The Nation Institute. In addition to The American Prospect, his reporting and analysis has appeared in The Nation, The Atlantic, CNN.com, and The Washington Post. He covers campaigns and elections, as well as policy and public opinion. He is based in Washington, D.C. You can follow Jamelle on Twitter at @jbouie, at The American Prospect, or at his website.
Just south of Richmond, Va., on Interstate 95, a small group of neo-Confederates have leased a patch of land, where they’ll erect a 50-foot pole and fly the Confederate battle flag, all day, every day. On their website, the “Virginia Flaggers” say the flag will “serve to welcome visitors and commuters to Richmond”—the former home of the Confederate States of America—and “remind them of our honorable Confederate history and heritage.”
It’s hard to imagine a more self-refuting phrase. The Confederacy was a government founded on the preservation and expansion of slavery and white supremacy. “Our new government,” explained Confederate vice president Alexander Stephens, in an 1861 speech, “is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.” There’s no question we should remember the Confederate assault on human freedom, but it’s immoral to say we should honor it....
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