The number of states that allow vehicle owners to request a state issued license plate with a Sons of Confederate Veterans logo which incorporates the square Confederate battle flag.
The number of states that in America that use a variation of, or parts of, the Confederate flag as their state flag.
This should be the number of states that are allowed to continue to use this flag, which symbolizes slavery, racism, and treason. These states fly their flags high, notably on capitol buildings, as a symbol of pride and history.
The horrific shootings in Charleston, S.C., an act of not only racism but domestic terrorism, do not necessarily have a direct link to the Confederate flag. You can argue, though, that this flag plays a part in the deep-rooted racism that is especially prevalent in pockets of the south.
In fact, while other flags flew at half-staff at the capitol building in South Carolina, the Confederate flag still flew high above the others after the shooting.
This is not a freedom of speech issue. This is about flying and displaying a flag that represents an era in our country that was filled with bloodshed and hate.
This is not a matter of pride. By taking pride in the Confederate flag, you are supporting social injustice and racism. Where is the pride in believing in hate?
The Confederate flag might have been long retired if not for the KKK and white supremacist groups of the 1940's that resurrected it in order to protest desegregation. Is that something to take pride in?
Look, I understand. By waving the flag or putting it on your license plate, you are making a personal choice. It is a personal freedom guaranteed to you by the Constitution. When that flag is flown above capitol buildings, buildings that represent not just a state but the UNITED STATES, it's time to rethink a few things.
Are we not the same country that is trying to repair the Caucasian's views and disrespect to Native Americans? As one small example, sports teams are removing derogatory names like Redskins and Indians in an effort to remove disrespect to Native Americans. (At high school and college levels, anyhow. Still no luck with the professional teams.) Isn't it time to do the same as a sign of respect and tolerance to African Americans by removing the Confederate flag?
Racism and slavery are all part of a reminder of bleaker times in United States history. Events, wars, and shootings will never be erased from the annals of history and will always serve as a reminder of the struggle that minorities faced in this country. By flying a Confederate flag, those states and people are saying, "Yep. We're white and here's the reminder."
There is nothing wrong with knowing your family history. Relatives may have fought for the "grand" cause but that was 150 years ago. Times change. There are better ways to honor family history than by displaying a flag that immediately evokes racism and hate.
Have a conversation. Remind people, relatives, children, and even strangers that times were much different back then. Tolerance has grown considerably since those times, but it is still a long way away from being the norm. If we're not careful, it we continue to be blind to little things like the Confederate flags, and to larger issues like the events of Ferguson and Charleston, then this nation will continue to slide backwards.
The Confederate flag is a small limb on the fiery beast that is racism. Removing its presence, especially from capitol buildings and state flags, will be a small step in turning the conversation of tolerance and justice into a positive one.
All lives matter. If we as a nation can't unite and help put an end to violent discrimination and racism, then surely divided we will fall.