A Confederate flag seen flying in front of a North Delta home caused quite a stir on social media last week.
The existence of the flag, located in the 8600-block of Shepherd Way, was brought to the Reporter’s attention via Twitter and through private messages on Facebook. One Twitter user called it a “symbol of racism,” while another said it was not surprising and that there are more instances of the flag being displayed in North Delta, namely as a sticker on the back of a truck.
The flag on Shepherd Way was taken down some time on Sunday.
The Reporter talked to people from eight neighbouring houses last Friday and while most did not want to be identified in order to avoid creating animosity among the residents living on the block, all but one called the flag offensive and said it made them uncomfortable.
It is not illegal to fly the flag in Canada, however, its association with extremist right-wing groups in the United States and its racially-charged history gives many people cause for concern.
THIS IS NOT OK! How is this acceptable in our community? I’m certain there are laws around hate propaganda being displayed so prominently? Hoping the Delta Police Department deals with this in a timely manner. #DeltaBC @CBCVancouver @GlobalBC @DeltaOptimist @CTVVancouver pic.twitter.com/qWM8SI99Wa
— A OLeary (@irish_andi) February 28, 2019
One neighbour, who spoke to the paper on the condition of anonymity, said she lived in the United States for four years and had never seen a Confederate flag used in a positive way.
“I am not sure a lot of people [in the neighbourhood] understand it, if you’re not a [white] supremacist or black or have some history with it,” she said. “It’s a bold statement, and especially underneath a Canadian flag.”
She hoped an explanation of the history of the flag may make the owner realize why many consider it offensive.
David Milton, who lives just around the corner from the property, told the Reporter he did not have a problem with it, citing freedom of speech and the possibility that it may be part of the flag flyer’s heritage.
“It’s just showing that Canada is unified and diverse, and accepts all kinds of different people,” Milton said. “If the neighbours have a problem with it, they should just talk to the [person] and rectify it that way.”
Umar Chaudhry has lived in the area for 14 years and is the secretary for outreach at the Baitur Rahman Mosque on River Road. He echoed Milton’s words about Canada’s diversity, but said it’s alarming that flags associated with the extreme right are on display in North Delta.
“It’s kind of disturbing, especially in Canada, which openly promotes multiculturalism and believes in it,” Chaudhry said.
The Reporter has repeatedly reached out to the person who raised the flag near Nordel Way and Shepherd Way, but has yet to hear back as to why the person put it up in the first place, why they subsequently took it down, or what it means to them.