it bears restating that the civil war was not about slavery. it was about many things, including free trade, industry vs agriculture, and states rights. the end of slavery was a wonderful side benefit, but even lincoln said he would not have gone to war for that alone.
the battle flag at the time was not a racist emblem, any more than the swastica before hitler got hold of it. its meaning has been co-opted and disgraced by white supremacist movements in this country. most people don't understand the civil war or the original significance of the flag. most people think the war was about slavery, hence my statement that i believe most people who display the flag are racists. there are a minority who fly it and fight for its inclusion in various state flags because of respect for its original meaning. their cause is used, however, as a rallying point for people with a completely different agenda. the language of the southern heritage movement is used so extensively as code for white supremacist propaganda that it is nearly impossible to separate the two. it is too bad that people can't be educated in the truth so that the battle flag can be a symbol of pride and honor as it should be instead of a symbol of divisiveness and hatred as it has become.