America’s giant retailer Walmart announced on June 23 it will no longer sell merchandises bearing the Confederate flag in an effort to eradicate traces of racism in the country.
In a report by CNN, Walmart’s move is the latest reminder that the Confederate flag has become “toxic.”
“We never want to offend anyone with the products that we offer. We have taken steps to remove all items promoting the Confederate flag from our assortment — whether in our stores or on our website,” Brian Nick, Walmart’s spokesperson, said.
“We have a process in place to help lead us to the right decisions when it comes to the merchandise we sell. Still, at times, items make their way into our assortment improperly — this is one of those instances,” Nick continued.
The Confederate flag became a source of another controversy and debate after 9 African-American churchgoers were killed inside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17 while having a prayer service.
In the photos of the perpetrator, Dylann Roof was waving a Confederate flag and after his arrest, he confessed to the massacre and said “he wanted to instigate a race war,” news said. Police also said Roof issued a couple of racial insults to Afro-American churchgoers at Charleston.
On his manifesto discovered by Internet enthusiasts, Roof categorically said he chose the Charleston Church because of its historical symbol and it “had the highest ratio of blacks to whites in the country.”
Critics of the Confederate flag immediately spoke, calling on South Carolina to take the controversial flag because of its racism symbol. Walmart responded positively on such call, while other retailers like the eBay and Amazon are yet to release any statement.
Some of Walmart’s merchandises, including belt buckles and T-shirts, carry the Confederate flag.
Walmart’s announcement also came after South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley made an earlier statement that she is supporting the removal of the Confederate flag from the capitol grounds.
In a separate news conference, the governor said that while the Confederate flag is an integral part of America’s past, “it does not represent the future of our great state.” Haley is a Democrat and South Carolina’s first non-white governor.