OFFENSIVE: The Confederate flag has long been regarded as a symbol of racism
A POPULAR bar in Huddersfield has sparked anger among members of the town’s African Caribbean community after it displayed by the American Confederate flag outside its premises.
Staff of Revolution displayed the flag – the symbol of the southern states during the American Civil War – as part of an in-house promotion, thought to have been based on hit TV series The Dukes of Hazzard.
However the idea backfired when the town’s black residents took to social media to complain about the move.
Revolution was criticised for being insensitive to the flag’s association with racism and slavery that was practised for hundreds of years in the US’ southern states.
Among those who took to Facebook to comment was rugby league player Marcus St Hilaire, who posted photos of the flag taken through the window.
Another woman Doreen Reid emailed a letter of complaint to Mark McQuarter, chief executive of Revolution Bars Group after the incident happened last month and to the firm’s area managers and marketing executive explaining why the flag is contentious and asking the company to make sure the flag is never used again at any of its bars.
She said she had received a verbal apology.
However Reid said she was not happy with the firm’s response and has now written separately to McQuarter to further explain her concerns.
She said: “Huddersfield is a lovely community and we all get on with our neighbours and we don’t want to see that harmony in our community disturbed.”
CONCERNS: Doreen Reid led complaints about Revolution’s use of Confederate flag
Reid, who used to run her own beauty therapy business and now works in project management for London Air Ambulance said: “This flag is a symbol that reflects everything that is vile to the black community and people of colour in this town. The Confederate flag is seen as a symbol of hate towards people of colour and all ethnic groups and goes hand in hand with pictures of black men being hunted down and hung from trees as trophies.”
She added: “I love going to Revolution and the staff there are fantastic. I would not expect them to realise the significance of the flag, but its use is insensitive and we would not like to see it again in Huddersfield.”
However a spokesman for Revolution Bars Group said: “There is no further comments we would like to add at this time.”
The Confederate flag has long been the subject of controversy.
It came to symbolise the Confederacy, an unrecognized confederation of secessionist slave owning states in America’s south which existed from 1861 to 1865.
A 2011 Pew Research poll revealed that nearly a third of all Americans, or 30 per cent, have a “negative reaction" when “they see the Confederate flag displayed” seeing it as a symbol of hatred and white supremacy.
In a 2013 YouGov poll, 38 per cent of those polled disapproved of displaying the flag in public places. In the same poll, 44 per cent of those asked viewed the flag as a symbol of racism, with 24 per cent viewing it as exclusively racist and 20 per cent viewing it as both racist and symbolic of pride in the region.
The controversy follows last week’s killing of nine African American church goers in Charleston, South Carolina.
Suspected killer Dylann Roof proudly displayed Confederate plates on his car before ambushing a bible study class at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and opening fire on the African American congregants. Roof frequently posed with the Confederate flag, implying a greater allegiance to that flag than the American flag.
Protesters in South Carolina have defaced a war monument as the Confederate flag continues to fly over the state's capitol.
The banner has been condemned by millions - including President Obama as a symbol of racial hatred that disrespects the nine black churchgoers who were massacred.