A new CNN/ORC International poll that surveyed 1,017 Americans found that 57 percent of people see the Confederate flag more as a symbol of Southern pride than as a symbol of racism, but 55 percent still think it should be removed from government property, other than museums.
Mike Mercer of Columbia says, “Yeah, it doesn’t need to be flown, and if it’s going to cause problems take it down; it’s not that big of a deal. But Southern pride? Yes, big thing.”
The poll asked, “Do you, yourself, see the Confederate flag more as a symbol of Southern pride or more as a symbol of racism?” 57 percent of all Americans said Southern pride, while 33 percent said racism. Among African-Americans, 72 percent said racism, while only 25 percent of whites said that.
“From an African-American standpoint, it’s a symbol of racism. It’s clear and simple,” says Vernon Hartley, who now lives in Jackson, Mississippi but grew up in Batesburg, SC. “If folks want to put it on their table, if they want to put it on their door, if they want to put it in their yard, great. Have at it. Love your great-grandparents or whatever you need to do with it to feel your sense of pride. But as far as taxpayers, it has no position on taxpayers’ property.”
Walter Davis of Columbia says, “As a symbol, I do believe it’s a symbol of Southern pride. My problem is how people conduct themselves with the flag. It’s not the flag itself, it’s their actions. And when they use it to represent a belief of racism and hatred, then I have a problem with it.”
You can see the entire poll and its results here.