In a column for the Clarion-Ledger, David Baria has called for changing the Mississippi in the wake of the incidents in Charlottesville, NC. Noting that the flag’s use of the Confederate symbol is meant as homage to soldiers during the Civil War who fought to protect their homes and families, in modern times the flag has come to mean something very different.

“The use of the confederate battle flag by these hate groups has a direct linear connection to the cause of the American Civil War–the belief that whites are superior to the “other”. It is undeniable that despite mountains of proof to the contrary, these racist beliefs continue to persist in some whites even today. Today, cynical politicians assent to hate groups with a wink and a nod, their refusal to condemn hateful behavior making them complicit.”

Baria says that by continuing the use the Confederate symbol in the Mississippi flag, the state is offering encouragement to white supremacist groups.

“Similarly, by continuing the use of the confederate battle flag in our state flag, Mississippi provides tacit support for hate groups like those who marched in Charlottesville. These groups can point to Mississippi and say ‘at least they get us in Mississippi.’ Hate groups and hateful people are emboldened by the silence of leaders and the condoning of hateful symbols.”

Read the full column here: