Flagged for deletion: Why tech companies shouldn’t ban racist flags


Yesterday, Apple began removing iPhone games featuring the Confederate flag from its online store. That followed announcements by Amazon and eBay that they too had banned the Dixie flag from sale. 

All this flag banning, of course, is a response to the murder of nine people in a South Carolina church by Dylann Roof who was pictured online holding the flag. Or, more precisely, it’s a response to the social media outcry that followed the revelation (to the rest of the country, at least) that South Carolina was still flying the flag over its state capitol. 

Internet law compels me at this point to make clear that I do not own, and have never owned, a Confederate flag. As I child I did have a die cast model of the General Lee, but I was careful to only play with it ironically. My “Yeeeee-Haaa!’s” were lackluster at best. The fact that Roof’s sickening crime has prompted the lawmakers of South Carolina to declare they no longer want their state to be defined by a racist flag can only be a good thing. Ideally the state will also urgently clarify its opposition to spelling “Dylann” with two n’s, but let’s not run before we can walk.

With those disclaimers out the way, there’s plenty that makes me uncomfortable about the ban…  

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