Dog whistle alert: The ugly history of Maryland’s flag is exposed

Dog whistle alert: The ugly history of Maryland’s flag is exposed

You gotta love dog whistles. I don’t mean the literal kind you use to summon your pooch. I mean the type that certain aggrieved segments of society love to trot out as evidence of one or another -ism or phobia.

When it comes to these imagined slights, the princess from the Hans Christian Andersen classic “The Princess and the Pea” has nothing on liberals.

Which brings us to the latest dog whistle and the evidence it provides of an actionable injury to black people. It resides in the Maryland state flag, which as an aside has to be the most seizure-inducing flag in existence. Just look at it, if you can bring yourself to.

An individual known to Twitter as Benjamin YoungSavage [sic] has looked at it and sees something that is sure to touch a nerve in fellow “abolitionists” (which is one of the traits YoungSavage lays claim to in his Twitter bio).

According to CBS Baltimore, YoungSavage is “kind of right”:

Yes, even though Maryland was a Union state, the flag — which is featured on the state’s license plate and is a popular adornment for clothing and accessories — does contain some Confederate symbolism.

The flag’s older history is tied to George Calvert, an English politician and colonizer who more or less founded the Maryland colony, although he died just weeks before the charter for the state was approved in 1632. The settlement of the area was left to his firstborn son Cecil and his second son Leonard Calvert was the first colonial governor of the province.

“George Calvert, first Lord Baltimore, adopted a coat of arms that included a shield with alternating quadrants featuring the yellow-and-black colors of his paternal family and the red-and-white colors of his maternal family, the Crosslands,” state archives say.

“When the General Assembly in 1904 adopted a banner of this design as the state flag, a link was forged between modern-day Maryland and the very earliest chapter of the proprietorship of the Calvert family.”

But the red and white part of the flag, known as the Crossland arms, was also the design flown by Marylanders who sympathized with the South in the Civil War, according to state records.

This “discovery” is just the latest incident in a lengthening saga of overreactions to an admittedly dark chapter in American history. Anyone recall the ending of George Santayana’s sage admonition that begins “Those who cannot remember the past”?

(h/t Conservative Firing Line)

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer.

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