As big retailers rush to remove confederate flag merchandise from their shelves, allegations are emerging that the crackdown is going too far and effective re-writing American history.
Apple recently jumped on the anti-Confederate flag bandwagon and pulled all its Civil War games from its App Store pleasing those who believe the Confederate flag is a symbol of slavery yet angering those who believe its simply a piece of history and an integral part of honoring soldiers who died in the Civil War.
Retailers Wal-Mart and Amazon have already banned the sale of any Confederate flag merchandise as a reaction to recent protests around the Charleston shooting.
Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke out against any display of the flag, which was a precursor to the company’s decision to remove its Civil War-era games. Apple’s statements have cited usage or display of the flag as “offensive and mean-spirited” as a reason for removal but the company is walking a fine line between trying to avoid offending people and rewriting history.
Historical video games don’t necessarily promote or glorify a cause or opinion and removing key symbols may alter the credibility or accuracy of the experience. Some video games have been used in classrooms as teaching tools, making the removal of the flag absurd.
While there is social and political pressure on both sides of the Confederate flag debate, Apple has taken a safe route by pulling all its games that contain any glimpse of the flag.
HexWar Games, a developer and manufacturer of many historical strategy games, takes a neutral but fair stance, saying that they are “in no way sympathetic to the use of the flag in an offensive way, we used it purely because historically that was the flag that was used at the time."
While Apple may have the best intentions for removing the flags, the company’s decision threatens historical accuracy and collective memory. Regardless of the objectionable nature of the flag, its history may be more important than the opinions of a percentage of the current American population.