“Jut saying that _______________ isn’t racist because it just reminds me of a time when racism gave me immense power and wealth doesn’t change anything. In fact, I think you are digging your hole deeper.
“The ‘it’s just pride from a time when we were powerful’ argument so easily justifies and covers for the support of deeply racist things, and it does nothing to alleviate the concerns that OP brought up. In my opinion that does make the argument invalid.
As for racial slurs, they are not really different from flags or other symbolic items. I am not saying that confederate flag = racial slur. What I am saying is that the symbols we use to represent concepts have connotations attached to them, whether we like it or not. You can’t just pick one thing that you like about a symbol and say that is what you mean with it. Symbols come prepackaged with the history that created them.
This is exactly why swastikas are offensive. It would be both laughably ignorant and insensitive to use a swastika to represent regional pride/cohesion and claim that Jewish people shouldn’t get offended by it because “that’s not what you mean with that symbol”. No. You cannot separate the swastika from the genocide that occurred under it, and you cannot separate the confederate flag from the institutionalized dehumanization of African Americans. You don’t have that right, no one does.
It doesn’t matter that the Civil War is very alive for some people. If you want to live in the past, that’s fine, but you don’t get to live in the past and expect people to forget it too. The casual and insensitive use of a symbol that represents an institution which literally thought certain people existed to be owned is morally reprehensible in my mind, and it has no place in the 21st century.”
Graphic from http://guprogressive.com/