Recently, when I was discussing politics with a friend, he mentioned the controversy of Steve King having a Confederate flag on his desk, in addition to the Confederate Statue removal that has recently been happening. I had vaguely known that it was controversial, but after seeing his absolute disgust in it, I decided that we should try and view it from the opposing points. We came to a neutral end to the discussion.
The history behind the Confederate flag is long and storied, a symbol intensely associated with the South, and with racism to some people. His view of it was similar to a Jewish person viewing a Swastika. It did nothing but remind him of the former subjugation of his people, the horrible treatment they received during the Colonial times all the way to the Jim Crow era.
My view on it was somewhat different. I was raised in New England and always associated myself with the North, but thought of the Civil War in a way that is similar to the Revolutionary War. I saw it as a piece of the Country that was tired of what they felt was subjugation from the North. If you were to replace “North” with “Great Britain” it is very similar. I had always seen it as a symbol of former grandeur, wraparound porches and Southern hospitality.
Having that discussion allowed me to understand parts of the negative history of the flag, and allowed my friend to understand why I am okay with the flag, but not okay with slavery or racism.