The Confederate Flag Hardhat on a College Campus

As the debate about the Confederate flag hardhat unfolds, a lot of Americans are struggling to figure out how this symbol ended up on a college campus in the first place. The answer is that the Confederate battle flag was, and remains to this day, a potent symbol of white nationalism, racism, and chattel slavery. This fact explains why the symbol is so popular among white supremacists both in the United States and beyond its borders.

The American Civil War began when eleven Southern states seceded from the Union to protect slavery. The Confederacy and its military forces used a variety of flags, but the Confederate battle flag became the most widely recognized. Over time, organizations like the Sons of Confederate Veterans adopted it as a symbol of heritage. But it was also embraced by white supremacists because of its association with slavery and resistance to desegregation.

Safety and Identity: Confederate Flag Hardhat and Its Use

As a result, the flag came to embody a twisted notion of the South as a bastion of culture and heritage separate from the rest of America. It gained new meanings in the broader American culture as well, with truckers and “good ol’ boys” adopting it as a symbol of rebellion divorced from its historical context. The resulting argument of “Heritage, not Hate” on bumper stickers has obscured the fact that the flag can stand for both heritage and hate, or myriad other things as well.

The students at Bryn Mawr who hung the flag in their dorm room want the college to acknowledge that there is still a lot of work to be done on diversity and inclusion at the women’s liberal arts school outside Philadelphia. The college president, Mary Osirim, has promised more diversity training and an increase in the number of faculty members of color.

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