The Dixie flag, most commonly known as the Confederate Flag, was initially used by the Southern States during the American Civil War from 1861-1865. This 13-star saltire in red, blue, and white soon became a symbol of the American South.
The Dixie flag was first used by the Confederate Army of North Virginia as a battle flag.
In spite of the defeat of the Confederate States of America (CSA), the confederate flag continued to be flown in the South. The flag became an emblem of segregation during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 60s when right-wing groups like Ku Klux Klan adopted it.
The supporters of the Confederate flag viewed it as a sign of heritage and ancestry. They believed it to be a representation of the distinct cultural traditions of the South which were quite different from the rest of the nation.
However, for most Americans, especially those in the North, the flag was a representation of hatred, slavery, and white supremacy.
After the end of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, the Dixie flag became popular among white supremacists. It was used by racist, anti-black groups as a popular symbol. In some cases, the Dixie flag has also been used to represent the heritage of the South.
The Dixie flag has been associated with the Southern heritage by those who support it. Those who criticize it equate it with the philosophy of hatred that perpetuated and maintained slavery in the South.
This has led to a ‘Heritage or Hate’ debate over the flag.
Many Americans in the South today believe that the flag is a reminder of the unique traditions, history, and heritage of the South. However, there are those who think that the heritage of the South was hate, as support for slavery identified the South through most of its post-independence history.
In 2011, Pew research center conducted a nationwide poll in which only 9% of Americans felt positive about the Dixie flag. 30% felt negative when they viewed the Dixie flag. 58% had no reaction and felt rather neutral about the symbol.
When a similar survey was conducted among African Americans, 41% had a negative feeling when they saw a flag.
The Dixie flag continued to be flown at the South Carolina Statehouse as later as 2018. South Carolina has high support for the flag with more than 70% of residents viewing it as a symbol of history and heritage.
President Obama suggested that the confederate or Dixie flag should no longer be flown in South Carolina.
However, he couldn’t see through this decision as he didn’t have the authority to do so. There is increasingly greater opposition to the Dixie flag across the United States.
It has already been removed from many public places. As extremist, right-wing, racist groups continue to use the flag, it is now seen as a symbol of hatred, reactivity, and race supremacy.