Last Tuesday (April 12) marked the 150 year anniversary of the first shots being fired of the American Civil War.

Many news networks and websites ran stories about the progress that has happened and the controversy that still surrounds the war. What is most shocking to me is the fact that there are people still arguing about what the Civil War was really about. This includes the popular southern argument that the Civil War was about state rights.

The truth of the matter is that the only state rights being argued at the time were the rights to own slave property unimpeded and to be able to travel with them and spread slavery all over the United States.

In 2010, the governor of Virginia, Bob Mcdonald decided to make a statement of Confederate History Month where he didn’t mention slavery at all, but he did praise those who fought for their homes and communities in the ultimate ode to southern pride.

I have spent some time in the Deep South like South Carolina and Alabama, and I can assure you that there is still a great amount of racial tension. For instance, there is a very popular barbeque restaurant chain in South Carolina named Maurice’s BBQ Piggie Park that attracts thousands of visitors every year. They still fly the Confederate flag outside their restaurant, and inside the restaurant you can find literature propaganda about how slavery was ok and justified by the Bible.

Up until 2000, the Confederate flag was flown atop the South Carolina State Capitol dome along with the American Flag. The Confederate flag is still flown outside of the capitol next to a monument of the Civil War.

My main issue is with these southern pride people who feel that by flying the Confederate flag, they’re only supporting southern pride and their ancestors. The problem is that this southern pride is dividing and non-inclusive to southerners whose ancestors may have been slaves, or people who feel that slavery was altogether wrong. The Confederate flag and so called southern pride really represents to the rest of American one thing – racism.

There is no reason why anybody should be ok with these symbols remaining as sources of pride for anyone. The Civil War was about trying to right the many wrongs that had been committed against African American people. State rights are just a cover for people to avoid the central issue of slavery.

The idea that America has always believed that “All men are created equal” is a farce. America has many bruises in its history that show the exclusions of many different races and nationalities. As the future generation of this country, our job is to ensure that the truths about the issues of this terrible war are passed on to future generations. Hiding from the real issue and pretending that it never happened only creates more division in this country among its people.

So please, take down your Confederate flag symbols and acknowledge that the south was wrong and no amount of pride can make that symbol ok.

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