The Hamiltonian has received emails raising objections to the use of this flag due to an association made between the flag and its history as it pertains to slavery and oppression.
Some have emailed, setting a very different context, arguing that the American Civil war was not only about slavery, and thus too much is being ascribed . Still, some may argue that the its use at Hillbilly Heaven is harmless, more in line with a marketing presence, than anything else.
Given the emerging controversy, we asked Clr. Jason Farr what he thought about an email that was sent by Mahesh Butani to members of the press and city councillors, in which Mr. Butani expressed grave concern over the signage.
Clr. Farr replied "no comment".
In tandem, we asked Cameron Bailey, the proprietor of Hillybilly Heaven the following question:
Mr. Bailey of Hillbilly Heaven replied as follows:
The “flag” is the confederate battle flag is one of many banners used by the armies of the southern states to identify themselves in battle.
Immediately post civil war, it was one many symbols of the still simmering desire for southern independence. Consider it similar to the flag used by the separatists in current day Quebec or the flag used by the first nations people across Canada. The Canadian flag was opposed by loyalists to the Monarchy, but no one seems to object to it today.
Unfortunately, over time, the confederate flag has been chosen by different groups as one of the symbols to unite them or to profit from:
- true southern based Americans, proud of their heritage – not racists, just proud
- some hate groups who misconstrue the history of the flag in order to deem it as pro-slavery
- Hollywood and other media who have made it simply a southern icon. See: Dukes of Hazzard
When the vast majority of people see the flag, the immediate identification is it as “southern”.
I agree, there is a small minority of Canadians that look at it as a symbol of slavery and racism.
My question to those Canadians is simple: Canada was untouched by slavery. To them and foreign born minorities, the flag should be meaningless.
However, there is a segment of Canadians, usually middle class Anglo-Saxons, that find fault with it simply because that it is trendy to shout down anything that could possible offend anyone.
Before calling me a racist, as so many have done, it would be interesting to present evidence of that. None exists. But it’s cool to say it nonetheless.
We choose to take the current day approach to this. The confederate flag is a southern icon. Period. It’s been a key feature of TV shows, movies and other media for decades. Choosing to take offense to a watered-down, media blessed, symbol of the civil war south is really not a good use of people’s energy. There are plenty of serious issues for people to be concerned about – issues that need real, “get off your couch” support.
In short, the flag stays.