Target, eBay, & Other Retailers Ban All Confederate Flag Merch

Photo: Courtesy of eBay.
As a symbol of Civil War–era slavery, the Confederate battle flag has served as a painful — and polarizing — relic of American history for many. Despite the horrible connotations of racial hate, the motif has endured in retail and pop-culture settings. It’s appeared in prom photos, Yeezus Tour merchandise, and even Kendall Jenner’s #OOTDs. However, in light of the June 17 Charleston shootings, eight major retailers have pledged to remove all Confederate flag merchandise from their stores. Amazon, Walmart, Sears, Kmart, Etsy, eBay, and Target have each released statements promising to no longer stock products featuring the rebel flag emblem. Following Amazon's ban, Google Shopping announced it, too, planned to stop featuring paraphernalia containing Confederate flag imagery. Although we applaud these retailers for taking such action, the unfortunate reality is that the demand for the flag still exists. In fact, Vanity Fair reported that immediately after Walmart and Sears announced yesterday they were discontinuing Confederate flag merchandise, both online and in stores, Amazon's sales of the battle-flag motif skyrocketed a whopping 3,620%. Amazon has since removed all Confederate flag merch from its site — and, even though eBay claimed it was banishing the emblem, rebel flag auctions are still live online. The retailer ban is only the latest in a nationwide movement to pull the Confederate flag after the Charleston tragedy. Before South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called for the removal of the banner, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, and attendees at public rallies insisted it be taken down. According to Esquire, the list of states officially distancing themselves from the flag is growing. But, perhaps most important, the prominent manufacturer Valley Forge Flag declared yesterday that it would cease production on Confederate banners. As the company stated in a press release, “We hope that this decision will show our support for those affected by the recent events in Charleston and, in some small way, help to foster racial unity and tolerance in our country." Reggie Vandebosch, vice president of sales, summed up the sentiment, saying, “We do not want to continue to hurt people.”

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