During his speech in Kenya, President Obama referred to the Confederate Flag in the United States as an example of a “bad tradition” that needed to be changed.
“Just because something is a tradition doesn’t make it right,” he explained, telling the story of the recent public debate over the flag in South Carolina.
“This was a symbol for those states who fought against the Union to preserve slavery,” Obama explained to the rapt Kenyan audience, noting although the Confederate flag was an “historical artifact” it shouldn’t be a “symbol of heritage” in public places.
Obama asserted that the Confederate flag was primarily a symbol of racism.
“The fact is it was a flag that flew over an army that fought to maintain a system of slavery and racial subjugation,” he said. “So we should understand our history, but we should also recognize that it sends a bad message to those who were liberated from slavery and oppression.”
He explained that part of the reason the flag was removed from the South Carolina capitol was because “a fan” of the Confederate flag shot several African-Americans at a black church.
As a result of the shooting, Obama explained, “more and more Americans of all races are realizing now that that flag should come down.”
“Every country and every culture has traditions that are unique and help make that country what it is,” he explained. “But just because something is a part of your past doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t mean that it defines your future.”
Obama reveals his lack of understanding of American history.
First, what we refer to as the ‘Confederate Flag’ was not actually used as the flag of the Confederacy. The flag we refer to as the ‘Confederate Flag’ was actually the battle flag of the army of Northern Virginia, it was never a flag adopted by the Confederacy.
So no, it was not ‘a symbol for those states who fought against the Union to preserve slavery’ or ‘flew over an army to maintain a system of slavery and subjugation”, as Obama claims. So “we should understand our history”, starting with our President who seems to have missed that part.
Secondly, one could also quibble with his assertion that it was fought to ‘maintain slavery and racial subjugation’ as many who fought were not slaveowners, and were fighting for what they perceived as states rights. Not to mention that there were black fighters in the Confederacy, were they fighting for racial subjugation?
Third, saying that was ‘primarily a symbol of racism’ indicts all Southerners who have looked to it as a tradition of honor, for the actions of a few who waved it to enforce their racist points. Kind of like blaming all black people for the criminal acts of some. Sounds an awful lot like prejudice to me…