Racial Discrimination

The author of this report was asked to offer a brief report on one of a number of given topics that are prevalent in the media. The topics to choose from included violence, unethical behavior, religious discrimination, drug use and sexual content. However, the author eschewed those and chose one other one listed and that was racial discrimination. Specifically, the author will focus on a topic related to racial discrimination and racism that has been omnipresent in the last few weeks and that is the social status and reverence for the Confederate flag in light of the actions of shooter Dylann Roof, who shot and killed nine black people in a South Carolina church for race-related reasons. While many view the Confederate flag through different and varying lenses, many hold the flag to be a vile and nasty representation of this nation's history dating back to the Civil War and beyond.


The nature of the controversy in question centers on what the so-called Confederate flag represents. Of course, this would depend on the person wielding and displaying the flag. In the case of Dylann Roof, he was unapologetic racist and flew the flag proudly. At the same time, he trampled and apparently burned the flag of the United States. However, the "Stars and Bars," the common alternate name for the Confederate flag, means different things to different people. Some people revere the flag while many are incensed and filled with rage when anyone displays the flag proudly or treats it with any reverence. If the flag were to be removed, it would indeed remove that source of anger with the people who deem the flag to be hate-creating or racist. However, it would also anger the people that perceive the flag in a different light. Indeed, the band Lynyrd Skynyrd has commonly displayed the flag on its albums and at its concerts over the years. They and other people such as Kid Rock associate the flag with southern rock music and the South in general rather than being an affront to the United States at large. Obviously, this runs counter to the assertion of many that the flag represents a group that was pro-slavery and that seceded (i.e. betrayed) the United States at the onset of the Civil War. Given all that, a man flying a Confederate flag from the bed of his truck while driving to a southern rock music show may not feel himself to be racist but many will perceive it to be precisely that.

The author of this report will now choose three types of sources that all discuss and look at the Confederate flag in light of the South Carolina shooting and beyond. For the ease of discussion, all three sources will be online in nature. The first source cited for this report shall be an online CNN article that centered on the controversy. The lead phrase of the article sort of tells the story that is in question when it says "debates over displaying the Confederate battle flag are as familiar here (South Carolina) as grits and sweet tea" (Henderson, 2015). The article notes that the raw emotions and level of debate about the flag have been at a fever pitch for quite a while and that was true even before Roof slaughtered those church-goers. However, those killings combined with the fact that both Roof and the South Carolina Statehouse fly that same flag has led many to suggest that the flag should be banned from public squares and that it is a symbol of hate. Notwithstanding the First Amendment and the rights of normal Americans to fly that flag (or even a Nazi flag) if they so choose, there is little question that people will be more prone to getting angry if not violent when there are confrontations about the flat, as noted in the article. Even with that, South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham notes that the flag is "part of who we are" in the video that comes with the article. It is also noted in the story that many prominent politicians on…