A new poll released this week points to troubling public perception surrounding the rainbow flag, historically understood as a symbol of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement.
Public Policy Polling found that the Americans polled were more offended by the rainbow flag than the confederate flag, the latter of which has remained a controversial image since the American Civil War and for many holds oppressive and racist symbolism.
The results stem from two questions presented to 649 American voters: "Do you think high school students should be allowed to wear confederate flags to school, or not?" and "Do you think high school students should be allowed to wear gay pride flags to school, or not?"
42 percent of the voters polled defined themselves as "somewhat conservative" and 34 percent said they were "very conservative," while only 3 percent stated they were "somewhat liberal" and 20 percent identified as "moderate."
43 percent of people feel high school students should be allowed to wear confederate flags to school, while only 28 percent felt students should be able to sport the Pride flag. A whopping 57 percent of those polled felt that high schoolers shouldn’t be allowed to wear gay flags to school.
Washington Post Blogger Jonathan Capehart found the results shocking. "Folks, the confederate flag is no better than a Swastika," he wrote. "It is a symbol of white supremacy, hate and oppression that has no place in American political discourse."
The questions were most likely sparked by a high-profile case last month when two students were suspended for wearing confederate flags to school. Their reasoning? Another student had worn a gay pride flag in celebration of LGBT History month.