The Canadian city of Toronto is set to address a motion to ban the Confederate flag on city property following a single complaint from a resident who was triggered by a “Dukes of Hazzard” display car at a local festival.
Toronto city Councillor Neethan Shan, a member of the left-wing New Democratic Party, issued the motion to pass the law banning the Confederate battle flag. The flag features prominently on the roof of the car made popular by the ‘80s action-comedy TV series.
According to a CBC News report, the politician called for an outright ban of the flag from all city-owned spaces and city-sponsored events—including parks.
“I think at some point we have to put our foot down and say what is not acceptable when it comes to symbols of hate,” Shan told CBC Toronto on Friday.
His decision to virtue signal was sparked by a complaint during the Highland Creek Festival in summer, when a visitor named Ybia Anderson noticed a replica of the General Lee, the customized Dodge Charger from Dukes of Hazzard.
Either ignorant of the car’s origins, or unable to separate fantasy from reality, the woman unleashed a barrage of anger against the organizers, demanding they move it. They refused.
“Let me tell you what I want: I want the car gone,” she said in a recording of the incident. “I want it out of sight. It does not belong here. It represents lynching and death of black people… This is racist … This does not belong here.”
Anderson later told CBC Toronto that she’s glad for the politician’s proposal, and expressed her desire to see the Confederate flag be defined by the worst of its bearers in history.
“I absolutely support it, because I think there’s a disconnect happening … I think people do not understand and define the Confederate flag as a hate symbol, which it is,” she said.
Shan’s motion calls on city staff to investigate whether they can ban the flag, adding that a multicultural city like Toronto needs to act against anything that makes its residents feel uncomfortable.
“This is not a case of freedom of expression or freedom of speech,” he said, betraying no small amount of cognitive dissonance “It is a symbol of hate that infringes on the well-being of other people in a place that is public, and a place that is publicly funded, in a place that is publicly maintained or supported by the community.”
The motion, which will be voted on for discussion later this month, requires two-thirds of councilors to be debated.
Feature Image via TV Guide