An onslaught of retailers – including Amazon, Ebay, Etsy and Walmart – are removing Confederate flags from their stocks in the wake of the racially-motivated Charleston church shooting that claimed nine victims on June 17.
Given the killer openly identified himself as a white supremacist – going so far as to pose with the flag in several photos before the shooting – a long standing debate emerged over the use of the Confederate flag in southern states.
In particular, the flag that currently flies over the South Carolina capitol has come under fire – although it takes a two-thirds legislative vote to be able to remove it.
So far, Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Walmart, Target and Sears have announced they are removing all Confederate flags from their stocks. More will likely follow.
Update: Google is removing the flags from both its Google Shopping platform and its ads, according to Bloomberg. Newegg also contacted us to say it will no longer carry items featuring the flag, neither in its standard stock nor its seller marketplace.
Supporters of the flag suggest the it’s a part of the South’s history – it’s often used as a commemorative symbol for the descendants of Confederate soldiers – but opponents say the flag is too tinged with racist associations.
South Carolina governor Nikki Haley has called for the removal of the flag in the state capitol, saying that “while [it is] an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state.”
Virginia’s governor, meanwhile, announced the state will it will phase out license plates featuring the flag.
Of course, many are wondering why we had to wait until a tragedy of these proportions to occur before discussion reached such public levels, but if for any reason you want to get a Confederate flag, you’ll be having a much harder time doing so on the Web, and off it:
JUST IN: Valley Forge Flags, one of the top U.S. flag manufacturers, is ending production of confederate flags.
— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) June 23, 2015
Though the Confederate flag is fresh in the public mind, the issue goes deeper.
There are other racially-insensitive items available through retailers, for instance; Swastika-patterned products can still be found through a quick search on Amazon. Still, hopefully the current debate can encourage retailers to be more selective about the items they stock.
Note: Several retailers have stopped also announced they’ve ceased sales of the Confederate flag items since this post’s original listing of Amazon, eBay and Walmart. The text has been updated accordingly.