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The Confederate flag, a symbol of racism

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The Confederate flag, a symbol of racism

ILLUSTRATION BY BRITTANY ENGLAND/THE PIONEER

ILLUSTRATION BY BRITTANY ENGLAND/THE PIONEER

ILLUSTRATION BY BRITTANY ENGLAND/THE PIONEER

Vanessa Pineda,
Contributor

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Browse the internet, open up your social media applications and you see a nation in a state of public uproar and outrage, because 21-year-old Dylann Roof shot and killed nine innocent people in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17.

Since the shooting, a photograph of Roof holding a confederate flag has gone viral. The image has sparked an ongoing debate regarding the banning of the flag. The confederate flag is symbol of racism and segregation, which is why I strongly believe the federal government should ban the flag.

When I see people committing hate crimes towards any race, I am disgusted. No one should be treated unjustly or victimized because of their skin color or ethnic background.”

— Vanessa Pineda

The flag does not only stand as racism towards Black people, but also towards other minorities such as Hispanics, Jews and Asians. Since the confederate flag has started to symbolize a pure white race this is discriminatory against many people in the United States. The United States is a melting pot and everyone should be concerned with the issue.

I am a Hispanic woman and I was raised to be accepting and understanding of other races. When I see people committing hate crimes towards any race, I am disgusted. No one should be treated unjustly or victimized because of their skin color or ethnic background.

Roof was born in 1994, which is one year after I was born. It makes me extremely disappointed that someone who is close to my age can be taught and brainwashed to hate others, rather than embrace differences.

Roof was not born with hate inside of him that is something he learned from other people. This starts at a young age, people are taught to identify others by their skin color or race. They start to think that someone’s cultural background makes them inferior. Roof was taught to have a racist mindset, he was influenced by his surroundings and therefore he committed a racially motivated crime.

The EAME Church has been a historical black landmark dating back to the civil rights movement. According to CNN, Roof wanted to target a city that had historic significance in the South.
On June 17, Roof sat and listened to the church members during their bible study for over an hour. Roof requested to see Pastor Pinckney and was talking to him before he fired at them. They welcomed him in and could not foresee what vile crime he had planned.

CNN also reported that Roof had been a part of a website called the “The Last Rhodesian.” On that website he wrote about his plan to kill and his beliefs of white supremacy. Roof felt hatred towards blacks and killed the people in the church as an attempt to start “a race war” according to CNN.

On the website Roof commented, “We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the Internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.” He supported white supremacy and it is clear that when Roof held the confederate flag, it was used as a representation of racism.

Many citizens believe that the confederate flag serves to express a prejudicial attitude towards ethnic groups, which is why it is incredibly offensive. Various states and businesses are taking part in the act to remove the flag.

In his Eulogy for Clementa Pinckney, President Barack Obama stated, “For too long, we were blind to the pain that the confederate flag stirred in too many of our citizens… That flag was a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation.” Removing the flag is an action that several people, including myself, support. South Carolina governor Nikki Haley said the confederate flag is the state’s past and “does not represent the future.”

When I see images from past decades, of white supremacists holding the flag at rallies and protests against integration, I am in deep disbelief. The pictures I have viewed show white southerners from states such as Alabama and Mississippi waving their flags with such pride.

There are images of Ku Klux Klan members dressed in their robes, which had the confederate flag on the sleeve. It is horrifying to know that in 2015 people still have these same feelings about white supremacy, and are willing to take another life just because of their race.

Roof’s way of thinking is a time of the past and should remain there. The confederate flag will be a constant representation of white supremacy for people like Roof. The confederate flag must be banned in hopes of progress and a peaceful tomorrow.

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The Confederate flag, a symbol of racism