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A helpful guide to flying the Confederate flag

Thinking about flying the Army of Northern Virginia battle flag or other flags of the Confederate States of America? Here's a handy checklist to decide!

1) Are you racist? No? Great! Unfortunately, many racists use imagery and symbols from the former Confederacy. If you're not racist, people will assume you are. Sorry, but it's tough to turn something into a positive after it's been used for evil. (Did you know the swastika was used in ancient Egypt, India, England, and others long before it appeared in Germany? Oh, you only knew about the Nazi version?)

2. You're not a racist, which is fantastic. Do you have lots of friends who aren't white? Have you asked them how they would feel about you using Confederate symbols?

3) Can you name the approximate number of slaves who were imported to the American colonies prior to the end of the Civil War? Can you name the approximate number of lynchings in the American South between Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Era? Can you name the approximate number of Ku Klux Klan members currently active in the US? Hints: 600,000. 4,000. 8,000.

4) You want to celebrate the Southern culture of porch swings, bbq, lemonade, Spanish moss, and car racing? Great! Have you considered using a symbol that didn't begin with armed insurrection against your country in defense of using other people as unpaid labor based on skin color?

5) Do you believe in "states' rights," school segregation, whites-only water fountains, or like to burn crosses in the yards of neighbors who may be Catholic, Jewish, or have dark skin?

6) If you're from the North, can you name the approximate number of Union soldiers who were killed or wounded trying to stop the Confederate flag from being flown? Hints: 365,000 and 282,000 (25,000 dead in Confederate prisons lacking food, water, and medical care.)

7) Can you name the approximate number of Union veterans who fought for the cause of preserving the nation and abolishing slavery? It's 2.1 million.

8) Can you name the reason John Wilkes Booth shot President Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865? Hint: It had something to do with saving the Confederacy and being strongly opposed to the abolition of slavery in the United States.

I hope you've found this Guide to Flying the Confederate Flag enjoyable as you consider whether to honor our racist history of treason and oppression.