Reactions To Amazon & eBay Banning Confederate Flag Merchandise Fall Into Several Distinct, Equally Passionate Camps
Online retailers eBay and Amazon banned the sale of Confederate flags on Tuesday, following closely in the footsteps of giants like Walmart and Sears. The decision came in the wake of revived discussions over the flag's potentially racist undertones given its history, which dates back to the Civil War. Retailers weren't the only ones considering the ban of the iconic symbol either — on Sunday, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a Republican, also called for the state legislature to consider removing the Capitol building flag, explaining that leaving it up had created discord among the public. Since news of the Confederate flag sales ban broke, however, many have been taking to Twitter to express both their dismay and collective excitement.
"Come people do not let your governments take everything," wrote one Twitter user on Monday. "The confederate flag is not race oriented its about being a rebel not a racist."
While anti-ban sentiment was overwhelming, calls from the opposite side of the argument still managed to make waves. In a surprising move, several conservative politicians also spoke out in favor of the Confederate flag removal, including former presidential candidate and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who tweeted over the weekend:
...To many, it is a symbol of racial hatred. Remove it now to honor #Charleston victims.
So far, the chaotic fervor has taken over the social media site, with arguments over the intended meaning behind the flag itself largely becoming an obvious point of contention. Many favored the removal of what they believed was antiquated, racist symbology:
Some, however, defended the Confederate symbol, claiming that it wasn't rooted in racist history. If Amazon and eBay were going to stop the sale of "racist" Confederate imagery, they explained, both companies would do well to look into all of their stock:
Others took the time to point out that, while the ban on Confederate-themed merchandise was a start, there were much bigger issues at hand:
Overall, many seem concerned over the fact that it had taken as gruesome and incident as last Wednesday's church shooting in Charleston to finally bring the topic of Confederate imagery to the table.
Following the announcement of the eBay and Amazon bans on Tuesday, the Southern Poverty Law Center told NBC News that the backlash had grown concerning on the far ends of the debate, with some even resorting to calling the removal of the Confederate imagery "cultural genocide."
"There's no question that organized white supremacy right now is using the battle flag as a rallying cry for their views," spokesperson Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC's Intelligence Project, told the news outlet. "It is entirely possible that people who are maybe a couple steps into racist thinking will see the battle flag coming under attack and believe that they should be activists in support of a pro-South view, which frankly is a pro-white view when it comes to the battle flag."
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