The Confederate Flag and White Resentment

The Confederate battle flag flies in the unincorporated town of Gap Mills, southeastern West Virginia.

The Confederate battle flag flies in the unincorporated town of Gap Mills, West Virginia. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

The Confederate flag is a scandalous American icon that will never go away. For example, former South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley, recently stated that the flagĀ  represented “service, sacrifice, and heritage.” Then, she added, mass-murderer Dylann Roof “hijacked” the flag when he killed nine parishioners in a historically black church in Charleston. As a result of Roof’s actions, racist hate groups now embrace the Confederate flag as a symbol of white supremacy. However, Haley’s analysis is wrong. White resentment connects the Confederate flag from its Civil War origins, to the era of white nationalism and Donald Trump.

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