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Sean Hilliard, "The Confederate Flag," May 7, 2012


Sean Hilliard, "The Confederate Flag," May 7, 2012


I am a graduating senior at NC State University. Having grown up in North Carolina for my entire life and lived in a very racially mixed neighborhood, I have always tried to look at issues from more than one perspective. I know that as a white male, my personal perspective can sometimes be skewed. I think it is incredibly valuable to seek out and understand the thoughts of others in order to grasp a better understanding of any topic.


Sean Hilliard




Raleigh, North Carolina


I have taken many classes in which the Civil War has either been briefly discussed or central to a class. Inevitably, when discussing the Civil War, the issues of the northern and southern pride make their respective appearances. One of the central topics mentioned when discussing southern pride is the Confederate flag. Having been born and brought up in North Carolina, I am known as a southerner, geographically. However, my father is a native Californian and my mother was born and raised in Maryland. Therefore, in my heart, I am not a southerner. My parents are certainly not southerners, and they never raised myself or my brothers in a way that emphasized southern pride. The Confederate flag has several implications for me. Because of the nature of the Civil War and the position that the South took during those bloody years, the Confederate flag identifies with slavery for me. The first thing that I think about when I see the flag is slavery and, even more so, the slaveowners. For me, the first idea that enters my mind is racism and the horrible things that happened around the time of the Civil War. I believe that if I were to wave a Confederate flag, there would certainly be many people around me, especially African-Americans, that would make many negative judgements about me. While that may not be what I believe at all, it does not mean that others will not think those things. The flag could merely be a way of me displaying my heritage, or that I am a rebel. Either way, my personal beliefs are not written on the flag. The way a person perceives me depends solely on their opinion of the Confederate flag. Personally, when I see someone showing the Confederate flag, I do not make any judgements about them, but the flag itself sparks very bitter feelings towards those who were involved with slavery. With all of that being said, I would like to clear up the other perspective. I completely understand that people have many reasons for flying the Confederate flag. I also understand that many people who fly the flag are not racist, but are only taking pride in the fact that they are a southerner. However, I believe flying the Confederate flag can potentially be a very harmful action to take because of the nature and the reality of the Civil War. Because of the negative connotation that is associated with the flag, I believe it should only be flown in very specific and controlled situations where it will not offend anyone.


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Sean Hilliard, Sean Hilliard, "The Confederate Flag," May 7, 2012, Civil War Era NC, accessed April 19, 2024,