“My people died because of this flag” is a comic strip written by Walt Handelsman in the year 2000. In order to understand this comic strip, it is necessary for the readers to look at the contextual information. In the comic strip, two men are discussing/ arguing about a matter which seems to be that their people died because of a flag which is on the shirt that the white man is wearing. The two men, in term of appearance, have different skin tones, which show that they are from different races, which are more likely to be white and black. From the way they dress, we can conclude that they are both from the modern societies. In term of look, both of them are modernly unhealthy and overweight, which leads to a prediction that they are American, as obesity has been a particular problem in the States nowadays. Moreover, an important fact which adds into the point is that the flag on the white man’s shirt is a flag of the Confederate States of America. This flag is strongly related to the characters’ history as it is derived from the American Civil War, which is strongly associated to slavery and racism towards the black. The conversation of the characters in the comic strip has helped to clear the meaning of it.
The white man is pointing at the flag on his shirt, saying “My people died because of this flag!”, and then the black man says “So did mine…” while folding his arms, which shows that he is uncomfortable or quite offended. The statement of the white man reveals that he is from the southern states, which are the Confederate states in the Civil war. These states are also the defeated side in the Civil war, and are said to be supporting slavery and racism at that time. However, there are opinions who say that they were actually fighting for independence. Therefore, in my opinion, the white man’s statement can be interpreted in two ways: he is either proud to be from the southern states because his ancestors had bravely sacrificed for independence (and that might also be the reason he is wearing a shirt that has the confederate flag on it), or it can be that he is angry towards the black man as the black people are part of the reason his ancestors had to die, so to say. The black man’s reply basically means that his ancestors died in the war as well. The irony here is based on the ambiguity of language, which is also what creates the humour for the comic strip.
Usually, the sentence “So did mine” is said by someone when they feel that the situation that is being talked about applied to them as well, and it often shows that there is something in common between the people who are having the conversation. But in this case, the sentence “So did mine” of the black man shows his frustration about the matter that his ancestors were also killed, but wrongly and unnecessarily, because of that flag. I find it unnecessary for the white man to bring up such a touchy topic that can easily create conflicts especially between white and black people. Moreover, this is a matter that had happened in the past and should not affect people and cause conflicts in the presence. It is sufficient to have pride in someone’s own ancestry as well as history only if it does not offend others and their own identities.