• Scott Stahlecker

Kaepernick and the Confederate Flag

Floating across my Facebook feed this week was this incite-full meme. The creator of this fakery obviously wanted to portray this civil rights activist (who happens to be a football player) as unpatriotic—or worse—as an unpatriotic black person.

It’s well understood that Kaepernick choose to kneel during the playing of an anthem at a televised football game to call attention to the issues of racial inequality and police brutality. The back story is that he was inspired to kneel by former Green Beret Nate Boyer.

The timing of such a racially charged meme could not have come at a worst time. The murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, sparked so much outrage about “racial inequality and police brutality” that people from around the world protested.

(See Wikipedia's exhaustive list of global support here.)

Symbolism, and the ideals and causes these symbols represent, often move people to fight, die, and otherwise ruin their careers for. The American flag is perhaps the most iconic symbol Americans can stand for. And given that America is a land representative of people from all over the world, it stands to reason that its meaning will differ from one American to another.

Contrast this, with the symbolism of the Confederate flag, which evidently, many Americans are still willing to kill and die for. According to data journalist Linley Sanders, “It was flown during the Civil War when 11 states — Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas — broke from the nation to defend the practice of slavery.” 

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

So, if the Star’s and Strips represent all Americans and equality, and the Confederate flag is representative of just 11 states and the practice of slavery, then what does this tell us about the patriotism of those who still insist on flying the Confederate flag?

Well, in this context, it means that a person can only desecrate their nation’s flag when they either a) choose to fly another flag, or b) they don’t believe in the values of what their nation's flag stands for.

As for the simple act of kneeling, (which even many riot police have taken to doing in an act of solidarity for the movement “black lives matter”), it simply represents the peaceful act of making people aware that the ideals of racial equality are not exemplified by all Americans, and that the symbolism of the Stars and Strips has yet to be achieved.


© 2020 by Scott Stahlecker