Despite much debate surrounding the removal of the Confederate flag, most Americans believe the flag is a symbol of Southern pride rather than that of a racist society, according to a poll.
A new poll conducted and released by CNN on July 2 showed 57 percent of Americans believe the flag is simply an image to represent the Southern states’ culture and pride during the Civil War from 1861-1865.
CNN noted that the number is about the same amount that agreed with this statement 15 years ago when the question was last asked in 2000. At that time, South Carolina lawmakers were considering removing the flag from government property.
The poll also separated results by race, education and age. For example, 72 percent of African-Americans view the Confederate flag as a symbol of racism, with 1 in 4 whites agreeing. Southern African-Americans feel more strongly about the racist tone of the flag — 3 out of 4 believe the flag represents racism; 75 percent of Southern whites disagree with that interpretation.
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In terms of education, whites with a college degree were more apt to believe the flag is a symbol of racism than pride. The majority in both educational categories do not believe the symbol represents racism. Of those with a college degree, 51 percent felt the flag represents Southern pride; that number climbs to 73 percent for whites without a college degree.
Most of those polled want to see the flag removed from any government building, but allowed to be placed in a museum. Of those polled, 55 percent agreed with that statement, while 43 percent believe otherwise. In a closer vote, only 50 percent believe private companies should abstain from manufacturing the flag, while 47 percent believe the companies should continue to make the flag and allow Americans the option to buy one if they want to.
African-Americans generally believe the flag should be placed in a museum and should not continue to be made to sell. Of African-Americans, 73 percent agree state office buildings or any other government-owned building should not fly the flag inside or outside. In addition, 65 percent believe private companies should stop making the flags.
Younger African-Americans — those under age 54 — were more likely to support the removal of the Confederate flag than their elders — 80 percent support for the younger crowd, 63 percent support for the older citizens.
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In terms of identifying the murder of nine African-Americans by an identified white supremacist in Charleston, South Carolina, as a hate crime, 92 percent of African-Americans and 86 percent of whites agree with that sentiment. But 61 percent do not believe the incident was an act of terrorism, while 55 percent of African-Americans believe it was.
You can read the full poll results here.
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