By David Z. Morris
August 18, 2017

In response to national controversies about Confederate iconography, the Texas-based Six Flags amusement park has pulled down Confederate flags from park entrances in San Antonio, Arlington, and Georgia. Also removed were the flags of four other nations that have ruled over Texas, leaving only United States flags flying in their place.

“At Six Flags Over Texas we strive every single day to make people happy and to create a fun, thrilling and safe family friendly experience for our guests,” a representative said in a statement to Dallas’ NBC 5. “We always choose to focus on celebrating the things that unite us versus those that divide us. As such, we have changed the flag displays in our park to feature American flags.”

Six Flags has more than a dozen locations, including parks in California and New York. According to NBC 5, the flags were only being flown at the Texas and Georgia locations.

Last weekend’s fatal white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., was set off by a statue memorializing the Confederacy, and local governments have since been moving aggressively to remove similar symbols. Corporations have also been distancing themselves from white supremacist groups and symbols, notably denying services to far-right publications.

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Six Flags is in a unique position on the topic. It’s named for the six different governments that have controlled Texas since European settlement—France, Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederacy, and the United States—putting the park’s display of the Confederate flag within a clear historical context. And according to NBC 5, the version of the Confederate flag flown at the parks was not the “stainless banner” flag most associated with hate groups, but the less recognizable (and thus less inflammatory) “stars and bars” national flag of the Confederacy, which features a circle of seven stars.

That was part of the company’s rationale just yesterday, when it said it would not remove the Confederate flag. And, in fact, a majority of Americans support leaving Confederate monuments standing as historical symbols.

But with each passing day after the events in Charlottesville (with no small help from President Donald Trump), those symbols have become ever more strongly associated with white supremacism. That mounting pressure clearly makes them too big a risk for many companies to stomach.

 

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