What’s been the message of Confederate monuments and flags? It depends on who you are.
If you’re a Black teenager in the South, each day passing a memorial to someone who committed treason in order to keep your ancestors enslaved, how might that make you feel? If you’re a white American who still points to the “heritage” of the “lost cause,” it might further ingrain your denial of the brutality of slavery and how racism continues today.
A nation that still honors Confederate signs in public places signals its belief that Black people are less important than white people, that Black people’s trauma can be disregarded. Confederate flags signal to the public that it’s okay to keep ignoring the worst and ugliest sins of our past, while trying to create an impenetrable barrier to a different and better future.