Confederate flag is offensive but protected

Staff Editorial

Administrators recently confiscated two students’ Confederate flags that were flying in the backs of their pick-up trucks in the school parking lot.

This is kind of shocking, as we live in California, and Confederate flags are certainly a rarity around here.

Upon seeing this eyesore, administrators promptly removed the flags from their trucks without the students’ permission.

Granted, we understand administration’s point. The flag is offensive to the minorities of our student body and have deeply hurtful implications because of its association with part of our country’s racist history.

Even though it is a stretch for us, we also understand the students’ point as well.

It would be hypocritical for us to champion the clear disregard of the First Amendment on administration’s part. As a newspaper, free speech is something we value very greatly and believe that it should never be taken away.

This being said, Confederate flags are a symbol of the Southern states during the Civil War era.

Back when the war raged on, the flag stood as a reminder that the South was fighting for free labor and a thriving economy, as any American history textbook would tell us.

The caveat then was that free labor meant the enslaving of countless Africans, who would be forced to live out the rest of their lives being brutally beaten and put to work in jobs for which they were not paid.

We would also like to clarify that the flag was not created for the purpose of representing the South as a sweet tea-producing, fried okra-eating, generally friendly section of the United States.

It was created during secession when these states wanted to maintain their way of life. But the only way to do that was to also maintain a robust slave labor force, which should be frowned upon.

The Confederate flag has a pretty negative connotation these days and does not count as a symbol of present-day South.

Despite the obvious reasons why the flag is a representation of racism, oppression and slavery, two of our fellow students still decided to put it on display.  The students showed poor taste and ignorance in displaying the flag shamelessly because of the motives of the army that fought under it.

But the law states these students can be as tasteless, offensive and as ignorant as they want and administrators can’t do anything about it.

If administrators felt the flags created a disruption, they could have asked the students to take down the flags themselves.

Administrators also missed out on a great educational opportunity to discuss with the students the  inherently offensive meaning behind the Confederate flag.

The students are completely entitled to their uneducated opinions and it is not a school’s  job to take their free speech rights away from them.