So the South needs a new flag. That is, it needs a flag and it needs a different flag than the Confederate one. I say this as a proud Southerner born and bred, and as someone who thinks that the best years of the South are ahead of us. The new flag could represent a New South. This would be a South that celebrates the deep overlaps— and at times identity— of black and Southern culture, a South that openly acknowledges its past and very present atrocities, and forcefully expresses its will to overcome them, but a South that is nonetheless extremely proud of its Southerness and many other parts of its history.
I think that there are better and worse, more and less politically viable, ways of going about this. Northerners urging Southerners to cease using the Confederate flag should probably also acknowledge the need for an emblem of Southern pride and identity, and not pretend that the North— home to the most segregated cities in the nation— holds any moral superiority when it comes to racism in the United States. This is a national conversation and an equally national problem, in forms open and closed, virulent and casual, personal and systemic. The vast majority of Southerners will welcome a signifier of their Southerness that also signifies a rejection of white supremacy. For those who don’t— well, we’ll let them defend their position in public discourse.
If South Carolina were wise, they would seize the day and hold an open design call for the new Southern flag; make a thing of it, a search for a latterday Betsy Ross. My submission is above. However, doubtful of the wisdom of our political class, I along with my co-Southerner Jessica Ciocci started a tumblr for collecting alternatives. Submissions can be sent to the address imaged below, and can be drawings, sketches, photoshopped or whatever. The winning submission will probably come from an elementary school student, to be honest.