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Prof: Display of Confederate flag should be a ‘hate crime’

The University of Massachusetts-Amherst’s Nick Bromell, a professor of American Studies, opines in a Salon.com article that any display of the Confederate flag is “an act of hate.”

Therefore, any exhibits of it “should be … punished as a hate crime.”

He writes:

That [Civil War] defeat is still mourned by many sympathizers with the Confederate cause across the nation, who have somehow forgotten that the Lost Cause was the cause of slavery. To them, the Confederate flag is an innocent symbol, a symbol that honors the Confederate dead and preserves the memory of their gallantry and fighting spirit.

To black Americans, meanwhile, these flags send a clear, painful, and frightening message: You don’t belong here. By being here, you are in danger. This nation is not for you. It was no coincidence that those who opposed the civil rights movement for desegregation and integration across America began to resurrect the use of the flag in the 1950s and 1960s.

Americans who refuse to acknowledge the connection between the Confederate flag and the horrors of slavery and white supremacy are still in the grip of a “malignant spirit” handed down from generation to generation from 1865 to this day.

Given the millions who suffered under the whip of slave masters, and all the families separated as slave traders sold sons and daughters away from their parents, and wives away from their husbands, All Americans should recoil from the Confederate flag with the same horror we feel for the Nazi swastika.

Perhaps so, but even neo-Nazis who make use of the repulsive swastika have free speech rights in the United States.

Salman Rushdie said, “The First Amendment defends all forms of speech including hate speech, which is why groups like Ku Klux Klan are allowed to utter their poisonous remarks.” (Emphasis added.)

Should displays of the Confederate flag be any less entitled to such protection?

Read the full Salon.com article.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.