What they don’t have in common:
- The Nazi Swastika was a religious symbol for 5000 years before it was usurped by the Nazis; and it really can’t be used any more due it’s present-day association with the 3rd Reich.
- The Confederate Flag, which evolved into Stars and Bars, was commissioned by the Provisional Confederate Congress, as one of its first actions.
What they have in common:
- Supporters felt the symbol represented values, pride, history, and culture.
- People who opposed the symbol felt it represented oppression, subjugation, and a time when the values of its supporters where racist, elitist, and unsustainable.
- War ultimately ended the reign of those who stood behind the symbols.
After pondering this for a moment:
The extermination of Jews by the Nazi regime is the most reprehensible event associated with the (modern) swastika. In addition to genocide, followers of that regime invaded surrounding land, subjugated its inhabitants, and generally felt their way was better than everyone else’s.
The main difference between the Nazis and the Confederate States is that Nazis just killed all the Jews as quickly and efficiently as they could, while the confederacy subjugated Blacks. What is worse: to kill someone and seize all their assets, or to treat someone as property and impose a lifetime of forced labor? Do this over a five to seven year period or over two and a half centuries?
First of all, slavery was not exclusive to the South of the United States. It was all over the United States, and the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Also, I think the diluted time-frame of slavery and the subjugation of black people in the United States (and particularly but not exclusively in confederate states) somehow makes the forced labor and killing of black people less “bad” than the almost factory-like extermination of millions of Jews by the Nazi regime over a very short timeframe. But I honestly don’t know that it is (with all due respect.) I did some searching, and nobody knows for sure – nearly 12 million slaves were brought from Africa to the United States, with a 10-20% mortality rate in transit. Other resources say 5 million Africans died during “slavery”, (presumably in the United States), and still others say 30 to 60 million of the African people who were sold into slavery died on this continent – from the beginning of the triangle trade in the 1600s through its abolition. Then, how many black people have died and suffered in the Jim Crow South? Lynchings, cross-burnings? How many have died from the legacy of that centuries-long period of American history? And what about the daily struggle faced by descendants of this legacy, as they try to break the cycle imposed upon them by their oppressed and subjugated past?
I’m not trying to compare the loss of life during the Nazi Holocaust with the loss of life during two and a half centuries of slave trade in the “new world”; I do however see a commonality.
My point here is this: to African Americans, and many others too, the confederate flag represents something painful and similar to what the swastika represents to Jews. That is why it is objectionable. The removal of this symbol is not political correctness, it’s something that should have happened a long time ago. Any argument in support of the confederate flag holds no weight, just like you can’t argue it’s ok to start using swastikas because it’s a Buddhist or Hindu symbol.
It is a shame that it took the overtly racist murder of 9 innocent black people in a church – by a nutjob wielding a confederate flag – to smack some sense into our society.Social Commentary, Things I don't like