Is The Confederate Flag Free Speech?
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Is The Confederate Flag Free Speech?


In March, 2015, the Supreme Court heard arguments
about Texas’s ban on confederate flag license plates and whether the ban is in violation
of the First amendment. 2015 marks 150 years since the end of the Civil War, and some have
argued that the southern confederate flag is a symbol of national shame and institutionalized
racism. So, do states have the right to ban the confederate flag? Well, the question is being posed by a group
known as the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Their logo, which includes the confederate
flag, has been approved for use on nine other state license plates. The group has also attempted
to have a former KKK leader memorialized on Mississippi license plates in 2011. Like many
neo-Confederates, they have said that the flag represents their proud Southern heritage,
and is not representative of racism. The lawyer for the Sons of Confederate Veterans argues
that the government cannot ban the flag on the grounds that it could be offensive, since
doing so would be in violation of the First Amendment’s free speech clause. However, Texas disagrees. Back in 2010, The
Board of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles voted 8-0 to ban the confederate plates. In
their arguments to the Supreme Court, the Texas DMV says that the ban did not violate
free speech, because the license plates are government owned and considered “government
speech”. The reason, they say, is that “final approval authority” of the content lies
squarely with the government, not a private party. So can states ban the confederate flag?
Only when it comes to government owned property. Private citizens, on the other hand, can paint
the confederate flag on nearly every square inch of their vehicles. Whether that includes
a government issued license plate is for the Supreme Court to decide. In the same way that flags and symbols are
given meaning, our language is often more powerful than we think. Check out this video
on Seeker about how language changes even our perception
of
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100 Comments

  • Tubagus Syahditya Ramadhan

    how powerful is Indonesia : the largest country in southeast asia and the largest archipelago nation in the world ????

  • 1234kalmar

    Freedom of Speech is mommy's skirt for Americans in any discussion they are not winning the argument at. They hide behind it like if it was supposed to magically defend them from the consequences of saying stupid shit.

  • Huesudo

    The swastika was a symbol of good luck for thousands of years, and it can't be used anymore because the nazis stole it, no matter if it's not used for anything related with them.
    Why could the southerners use the flag of the pro-slavery confederacy, created BY the confederacy, while honoring a leader of the murderously racist kkk?

  • Richard Alan Pastor

    Hell No! It's a traitors symbol from a bunch of racists criminals who try to destroy our country for there own lazy and greedy agenda!!! If you ask me they all should've been thrown in prison or executed for starting a war against their own country! That flag should've been banned a long time ago! And if President Abraham Lincoln wasn't executed by one of those cowardly traitors! things would be a lot different…

  • Tom Smith

    Easy… It is. History reflecting some unsavory facts about the confederation there were some yet noble characteristics. Ironically personal freedoms being something the confederation held sacred. And the idea and recognized fact that big government was dangerous. I think this is stupid that they had to make a video about it. Liberals, one moment their pro freedom of speech- the next they think it's to insensitive.

  • Micangetric Mah

    Implying that the majority of the men who went to fight in the civil war for the south were racist not nationalists. ok man what ever.

  • Seph S.

    Words and symbols change their meaning all the time.  The confederate flag has changed from a symbol of rebellion to a symbol of regional pride.  The symbol of hate that many people make it out to be only lies within the KKK itself.  The confederate flag and the KKK stand for 2 different things as of now because times have changed.

  • OldSpaceorbis gaming

    People died for freedom under this flag sure they lost but they still did something. This pro-north view on anything CSA is sad nothing about this is in anyway hateful to anyone if you don't like it fine but don't act like your flag is better. How many reds did we kill or move so we could take they land.

  • Zelnyair

    All I'm going to say is- the Southern states started the Civil War, and they lost it. 

    Do you really want to display the Confederate flag and show everyone else that you're a loser? 

  • Charles Lescoe

    Personally i despise the Confederate flag.  rasict or not. I hate it because it is not the US flag and to wave it spots in the American flags face.

  • Nick w

    i love how people forget that slavery was not the reason for the civil war.  But when everything is backed by race these days its hard for people to think on their own. Maybe do some research. The average person didn't own slaves in the south. Yes, it was a big economic blow but it still wasn't the main reason. The south stood for the articles of confederation. Not written by them but written by the founding fathers. The articles of the confederation were for small government and state rights. That and the southern way of life is what the flag stands for.  and no im not a hill billy from the south. (which is kinda racist to say). I m from ohio and i do not own a confederate flag. 

    to be funny, it reminds me of how when a white person doesn't like president obama he is called racist right off the bat. Even though maybe he or she just has a different political opinion on the size of the government.

  • Nick w

    :39 seconds is the most ignorant thing ive ever heard. No background on the person, no research. Just that he was in the KKK. so someone without a brain would think "hey he was in the KKK, these people are racist and very bad!". Im not going to type it up but just look up who the person was and the time period when he was in the KKK. 

  • Bradley Seckler

    The Confederate flag is a symbol of extending Slavery in the US, not your damn heritage. So many idiots out there that know absolutely nothing of the US Civil War. =/

  • Kyle Drewry

    This is actually an interesting subject, hard to say.  On one hand it's a flag and could stand for more than slavery, however, on the other hand, the same people that want the flag also back the KKK, so I think it makes this decision easy, bury the flag.

  • hello

    Germany recovered from NAZISM by being HONEST about the terrible things that they did….there were trials and accountability…and now …Germany is the strongest economy in western Europe and a world leader in every way. The SOUTH on the other hand….went for denial. They denied that it was about slavery and that they made a stupid evil choice… and now the south is still impoverished…ignorant..obese….etc. If the south wants to progress they need to be honest about their history. Germans don't have to talk about the NAZIs all day because they have moved on to accomplish greater things…the Southerners still fly the Confederate flag because well…the south still blows.

  • The Eaglesperch

    You know that the Confederate flag. The stars and bars? It's a battle flag not the actual confederate country flag. And the Confederate battle flag was never about slavery or racism. It was just stolen from its original design to meet a warped perception. If you want to go after the actual symbol of a government wanting to keep slaves. It's the Confederate country flag

  • danshyu

    If you want to have it so bad. Just put a confederate sticker someplace else on your car. Problem solved. Kids these days…

  • Kyle D. Arthur

    STARS & BARS… as a Texan it should be allowed, after all, in my hometown, at the square, is a drinking fountain(no longer in use) and statue, commemorating the Confederate soldiers, from the area. Heritage NOT Hate!!!

  • Ian McCormick

    does the american flag represent racism??/, no it represents america, does the confederate flag represents racism?, No it represents the confederacy

  • François Lecoq de Bellerose

    Of course it is Free Speech ! 
    If someone wants to fly such a flag, then they have the God-given right to do so !

  • kosrules

    For all you people on hear how support the south or you just keep your bad thoughts about the south I thank you. One more thing the war actually ended. The south never surrender. The southern government never surrender. Robert E Lee surrender his army to the union. So technically the war is still going on.

  • Soldier Boi

    Slavery had little to do with it in all honesty. Abraham Lincoln himself offered to let slave states keep their slaves if they'd rejoin the union. But the confederate states didn't because it was about much more than slaves. It was about rights. The fact that they believed that the union couldn't tell them to do anything. Not to mention the northern slave states. I do agree, like every decent human, that slavery is wrong, but that wasn't what the war was about. Pres. Lincoln MADE it about that after the war had started to give people in the union more of a reason to fight and to win support for the war. The Confederates were winning at the start as they possessed much more talented generals and much more motivated soldiers. Lincoln needed something to make his men want to fight and abolition was the key. You people really need to read up on your U.S. history. Still, it's better the union did win. ALSO, that isn't the CSA national flag!

  • The merc with a mouth

    I went to Georgia for vacation in the summer and we were traveling from Florida and in Georgia they have a HUGE confederate flag waving and all I could see from that flag was "yeeee haaaw get er done" the only thing that flag represents is stupidity, and utter loss seeing as they got their asses handed to them by the north but if they want that symbol of defeat to fly high let it be

  • Mike Williams

    I will be  proudly displaying the flag that my family fought and died for on my license plate, my home, and my business.  There is no debate…if gays can fly theirs, and blacks (many whose ancestors were not even african) can fly africa colors, and I see "brown pride" plastered all over, then I can damn sure do the same with a legitimate flag of my choice.  The Rebel Flag arguments will continue, nothing will be resolved, opinions are like assholes, so fuck anyone who disrespects my choice, including our minority-biased government.  This country has sunk to all-time lows across the board, and I understand why many nationalities hate US citizens.  Hell, I hate what we are becoming, myself!

  • Megalodon

    I've always hated that flag, and I'm from the South! The Confederacy was built on the idea that not all men were created equal, but rather that all WHITE men are created equal. I am a Southerner, but I refuse to fly that flag or show any respect for it. The only flag that represents me is the Stars and Stripes!

  • Jack Taylor

    Neo-Confederate?  Really!?  Come on TestTube!  The SCV started in 1896 as a direct heir to the United Confederate Veterans.  Both the UCV, SCV and Grand Army of the Republic marched in parades and anniversaries together, often hand in hand.  The SCV has honored veterans of both sides, and continues to do so.  Labeling them "Neo" is insulting.  

    Today the Sons of Union Veterans has made proclamations protecting the Confederate Battle flag, and the SUVCW was chartered by Congress.

    The flag needs to be taken in the context in which it is given  Seeing how slavery flourished under the Stars and Stripes, we don't see any protest to it or demand it be pulled down.  We don't protest the VA gravestones the US pays for that decorates the graves of Confederate veterans.  Nor do we protest the fact that Confederate Veterans are recognized U.S. veterans.   

    And what about the men such as former slave, Holt Collier, Cherokee Chief and General Stand Watie, Hispanic hero, Colonel Santos Benavides, or the Jewish, Major David Camden DeLeón who not only fought but served as the surgeon general of the Confederate States? The list is long…

    The very Texas flag is offensive to many Mexicans and it also flew under the the Confederate States of America in battle. The current Georgia flag, although redesigned, is nothing but the 1st National Confederate flag, yet nobody notices it.

    Again, it should be looked at in context to how it's being given.  If it's racism, then take it from the racists' hands.  If it's for historical and memorial reasons to fallen soldiers, then let it fly.

  • Oi Mate

    wether you think the confederate flag is racist or not doesn't matter, banning it would be a violation of free speech.

  • Nuriel

    While expressing your political views is freedom of speech, using the Confederate flag may not be so. There is a difference between free speech and hate speech and since the Confederate flag is often associated with hate and oppression, it's understandable that they banned it.

  • Sky S.

    Ah, I bet that KKK leader they're referring to is Nathan Bedford Forrest…

    The KKK was formed after the War Between the States to terrorize Yankees, Carpetbaggers, and Scalawags (terms for Yankees in Dixie after the war) as an act of rebellion after rebellion, in a way.

    Then when the KKK got weird with race, NBF tried to disband the Klan, then when he couldn't, he left.

    I do not condone the acts of the KKK then or now, but it is worth noting that NBF was more than likely not burning crosses in Black people's yard.

  • alantonix213

    So does this mean I get to put a Buddhist and Navajo Swastika on my license plates too? It's apart of my culture as well. And not the racist Nazi kind, f those guys.

  • Shoto Kan

    First of all the flag you all know as the Confederate flag is not the one everyone thinks it is, That flag is The Battle Flag of northern Virginia. 😉

  • F Huber

    Very simple… Your free speech does not command the state to print your "statement" on their license plate.

    You want the words/symbol/picture on your car? 
    Fine… go get a bumper sticker or see a sign shop and  have at it.

    Game over.

    Free speech does not guarantee you an audience.

  • Johnny Nuke

    The original KKK of the 1860's was a political clan between several Confederate land owners. The KKK of today is of true racism, thanks to their damn 1920's up bringing and the Birth of a Nation.

  • Rundstedt1

    "Despite these varied attributions of "neo-Confederacy" from the period immediately after the Civil War to the present, there are a number of consistencies in neo-Confederate thought—its racist, patriarchal, heterosexist, classist, and religious undertones—that form the basis of a conservative ideology that centers upon social inequality and the maintenance of a hierarchical society." 
    "Neo-Confederacy, A Critical Introduction" Edited by Euan Hague, Heidi Beirich, and Edward H. Sebesta

  • Rundstedt1

    If you fly the a CSA battle flag, you are 'honoring' your Southern Heritage in the same manner as if you were to fly a Nazi flag to 'honor' your German Heritage.

  • Rundstedt1

    "Having swept away the counterfactual Myth of the Lost Cause, a historian may briefly state the history of the Civil War as follows.
    The eleven states that seceded and became the Confederate States of America did so in order to protect the institution of African slavery from a perceived political threat from the majority of the people of the United States who disapproved of the institution."
    – Gary W. Gallagher, Alan T. Nolan  "The Myth of the Lost Cause and Civil War History" p29

  • Rundstedt1

    "The great truth, I repeat, upon which our system rests, is the inferiority of the African. The enemies of our institutions ignore this truth." – Alexander H. Stephens to the Virginia Secession Convention, April 23, 1861
    So of course the Confederate flag in any of its forms represents racism, that's what the CSA itself admitted at the time.

  • Shmuel Malkin

    You guys are more concerned about whether flags are considered free speech than the fact that lobbying is considered free speech.

  • *SPARKLES*

    Yes it is free speech if a citizen does it people are allowed to fly what ever flag they want the government should not be allowed to fly the confederate flag though or the Nazi flag.

  • *SPARKLES*

    I also think the flags should not be allowed on anything made by or for the government or the people including licence plates licences or what ever else racists decide to throw it on and try to say it's free speech before people get pissed it should be in your right to wave the stupid flag on your property and on yourself or on your vehicle just not on the licence plate or anything to do with the government.

  • lucy jones

    that flag means different things to different people.  the problem is the docile, sheeple whites didn't put their wild, murdering, heathenistc ,black people lynching  whites in check.  the nasty side of whites used the flag in a derogatory, provocative and inciteful manner, so much so,  that seeing it today let's everyone know what kind of person it is behind that flag.   that flag is flying over state buildings that enslaved black people most likely built and pay taxes for  it's upkeep to this day like their  fellow white neighbors.  IF you have Christ in your heart you would love your neighbor like Jesus says and show love and respect to your fellow black neighbor by just taking it down.  We blacks hear your   rebel yell story but that flag is just a band aid irritating the bullet hole of hurt left in generations of blacks   Because of the racist activity, especially you whites who held it so dearly, in your laziness and fear you have  allowed it to get tainted with evil and hate.  White people of SC do something different that only yall can do, cause this one you can't blame on big brother black man, and own up to your shit for a change and take it down.

  • ron sanchez

    They fought because they rebelled agianst the united states after they lost and the slaves were set free they created the klan and murdered blacks in the southern states as a act of revenge they even killed soldiers that fought with them

  • Emil Auadisian

    If free speech allows the display of the Confederate Flag, does it allow someone to display the flag of the 'Islamic State'??

  • Le F

    One would think after so many years adults would be mature enough to say "What This Flag Symbolizes It's Healthy For This Country." but no let's continue raising our children up under a banner of hate.  Let the idea that because of skin color they can look at other people as less then they are.

    Almost anything can be called free speech so why stop with the Confederate Flag, why don't we have "Devil Worshipping Flags", "How About Proud Pimp Flags" let's not leave out "Mass Murder Flag."

  • One Kick Cunt

    I would defend their ability to display the flag… but I don't understand why they would want to. Making themselves look dumb.

  • That one m80

    If you believe the war was over slavery that is fine . But remember the south didn't secede over slavery . That is a fact.

  • seattwa

    I agree. The confederate flag is a symbol of the south and a historical one at that. The civil war has been over for 150 years … GET OVER IT! Leave the flag alone! All of these people who connect the flag with racisum and a bunch of other BS are full of s#$t! There are always going to be idiots out there who only see the worst in things or that miss use things like this, but these are not your regular everyday law abiding, tax paying citizens of the south. There is nothing evil going on here except for these bone head politicians and others that want to ban it. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if obuma is at the root of this. He is slowly but methodically stripping away American history and heritage by doing things EXACTLY like this. Today the confederate flag, then your guns, then your gold, then your property/land. Until we have nothing left!

  • Draganasa

    I can understand them keeping the flag,
    But honoring a KKK member? Come on guys! The point is to not be racist and to to erase the mentally that the flag is racist, honoring a KKK member doesn't help.

  • Walter Slominski

    When the slaves were brought to the Americas on boats with flags on them, were they confederate flags? Or were they English, Spanish, Dutch flags, etc? Think about it.

  • Kidney Thief

    Here we can see the primitive humans waving the confederate flag without an understanding of what it means. This was five hundred years ago when oil dominated the economy, nowadays we keep it in a museum right next to the nazi flag and the ISIS flag

  • Omniscient 1

    "A Nation's history will be erased; the whole climate of thought will be different. In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking—not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness." ~ George Orwell

  • Dalton Hill

    Yes, it's a violation of free speech. It's a culture, not a racism. Blame the fucking racists and Nazis that live on the dirt we love.

  • SapphireNinja98

    It's probably against the constitution to ban the Confederate flag but it should be. It's a historically racist symbol no matter how you interpret it. And I doubt that the people who possess it can honestly say they are remembering it for heritage. Bullshit! You can find another way. And this kind of thing happens all over the U.S. not just in the south. It's 2016 and there is still a lot of racist.

  • Jabberwocky Draco

    The confederate flag is technically treason, racist or not, you have no right to call yourself American if you fly the confederate flag proudly.

  • Airborne

    The people who are offended by the stars and bars are the same people who support children becoming transgender and other degenerate perversions. Funny huh?

  • The American Crusader

    The red represents the blood of Jesus Christ. The white border represents the protection of God. The blue "X" represents the Christian cross of Saint Andrew, the first disciple of Jesus Christ and patron saint of Scotland. The 13 stars represent the 13 Southern states of secession. Thus, the message of the Confederate battle flag is "Through the blood of Christ, with the protection of God, We, the 13 states, are united in our Christian fight for liberty." I support the flag 9 of my ancestors fought for.

  • Rusty Shackleford

    Funny burning or desacrating the American Flag is free speech but the confederate (actually it's a battle banner not the real confederatre flag) is not. If you southeners want to show southern pride actually fly and display the true flag of the confederacy. It will drive liberals nuts cause they won't know what it is.

  • live oak

    I am a liberal, and yes, I think is free speech, even if it is a symbol that you hate. You can not de-contruct a symbol if it is buried.

  • live oak

    The South freed their slaves two years before the North did. They were forced to by the North, but the North kept slavery going up there for two more years.

  • American Dream parade

    Anything that don’t kill don’t steel that don’t get in your way is freedom speech and you can fly a Dixie flag anywhere here in America we all got freedom like y’all got freedom to be Political correct A holes

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