Letter: Confederate flag is not 'banned,' but shunning is appropriate reaction

Tom Ostrom knows the Confederate flag has not been "banned" as he infers in his July 1 letter under the headline "Banning of Confederate Flag is the wrong response to Charleston tragedy."

A ban is an official prohibition with consequences, which are often legal. The Rochester Public Schools ban students from wearing T-shirts with tobacco- and alcohol-related images and for good reasons.

Flags are symbols representing the values of a group of people with their associated cultural and social understandings. The U.S. flag represents freedom and liberty to many. Ostrom has a right to destroy the U.S. flag if he chooses or to fly any flag he wants.

Whether we like it or not, our society and culture will react to the display of images and flags. There are social "norms" of what is acceptable. Most people would find the display of a Confederate flag or Nazi swastika offensive.

Tom writes "Flags don't kill people. People do." But because millions were killed during the Holocaust under the swastika most of us find the swastika is a horrific symbol associated with ethnic cleansing. This cultural censorship keeps the swastika and the Confederate flag as well from display in Rochester.


Yes, banning the Confederate flag is a wrong response to the recent tragedy. However, shunning the Confederate flag as culturally and socially offensive is a totally appropriate response.

Chuck Wheeler Handlon


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