Social justice crusaders are spotting Confederate flags everywhere, even places they don’t actually exist.
In the wake of a deadly conflict between anti-fascist agitators and white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend, officials in many states and cities are heeding calls to remove all traces of the Confederacy.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo urged the U.S. Army to rename streets in its Fort Hamilton facility in Brooklyn named after Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted the city will “conduct a 90-day review of all symbols of hate on city property,” and Bronx Community College removed Lee’s and Jackson’s busts from its Hall of Fame for Great Americas, Fox 5 reports.
Now, some are alleging subway tiles below Time Square are promoting hate because they allegedly look like Confederate flags, despite the artwork’s 100-year history representing the “Crossroads of the World,” according to Fox 5.
“Lifelong student of the Civil War” and history blogger David Jackowe alleges the tiles actually have much more racist roots as architect Squire J. Vickers’ symbolic gesture to New York Times owner Adolph S. Ochs and his southern heritage.
Regardless, the city’s MTA announced it will modify the tiles, though a spokesman insisted they have nothing to do with the Confederacy or racism.
“These are not confederate flags, it is a design based on geometric forms that represent the ‘Crossroads of the World,’” spokesman Kevin Ortiz told the New York Post, “and to avoid absolutely any confusion we will modify them to make that absolutely crystal clear.”
Ortiz wouldn’t say when the change will happen.
The MTA also would not discuss whether the decision is in response to the deadly events in Charlottesville.
Plenty of folks who spoke with The Gothamist commended the move.
“It does resemble a Confederate flag, a lot,” Harlem resident Reggie Fullard said. “I think they should take them down. It’s real suspect.”
“If I was in charge of the MTA I would probably change it,” said Ari Satlin, a Spanish Harlem musician. “Especially in a multicultural city like this, I’d want more of a universal symbol. Not something that resembles the Confederacy.”
The New York Times attempted to determine the true origins of the allegedly racist subway tiles, but could not come to a definite conclusion. The paper did note Ochs’ strong ties to the Confederacy, which included being raised by his Confederacy-supporting mother in the south.