32-year-old activist and blogger Patricia Cameron was ticketed with fourth degree arson following a Confederate flag burning event she held over the July 4 weekend, according to The Gazette. Cameron said she alerted the local authorities of the event by tagging them on the event’s #BurnTheConfederateFlag Facebook page, and was stunned when she was served weeks later.
Local police said they were not aware of the Confederate flag burning event and issued a press release stating the reason for the citation, which was due in part because “the situation posed a risk of danger to the property and citizens” who were in the vicinity of the pavilion where Cameron had burned the Confederate flag. Grilling and barbecuing is prohibited under the pavilion, and only permitted in parks with gas grills.
According to Raw Story, Cameron organized the Confederate flag burning event to start a dialogue.
“…the struggle here is the Confederate flag not being one of unity — obviously. If this is one nation, there’s not going to be multiple flags, especially one that has a racist quote-unquote heritage — so we want to unite under one flag.”
Cameron was served with a summons weeks later, and late at night. Speaking with The Daily Beast about her police interaction that followed the Confederate flag burning event, Cameron conveyed the fear she felt when police arrived at her door at 11:00 p.m.
“It freaks me out that they can show up late at night outside my house. I kind of felt like … in this day in age, and the attention on all cops, you might want to mind your Ps and Qs when it comes to your interactions with the public. I definitely think they were trying to intimidate me.”
Since the shooting of nine parishioners in South Carolina, the Confederate flag, a long held symbol of southern pride and racial division, has gained prominence both in the news and at dinner tables around the country. A recent CNN poll found that views on the Confederate flag have not changed much in the last 15 years. The poll showed 57 percent of Americans view the Confederate flag as a symbol of Southern pride, not a symbol of racism. Among African-Americans, 72 percent view the Confederate flag as a racist symbol. With pro- and anti-confederate flag rallies popping up around the country, the debate surrounding the true meaning of the flag still sparks contentious debates. Pro-Confederate flag supporters seem it as an emblem of heritage, as James Shillinglew told First Coast News.
“If you are white, black, Cuban, Mexican – whatever. If you live in the South, the Confederate flag is your flag.”
But those who are anti-Confederate flag, like Heather Parker, see it as a pro-slavery relic.
“To me, these flags are representing hatred, something that should have been in a museum. Something that shouldn’t be hanging high in any town, in any part of this country.”
While the Confederate flag has been removed from government grounds of South Carolina, other states are still debating following similar measures. Whether it flies on public or private property, the Confederate flag in the country’s current racial climate will continue to spark debate and even more flag burning events.
[Photo credit: YouTube screenshot]