The Slatest

Sales of Confederate Flags Are Booming Because of Supply, Demand, and Racism

The Confederate flag outside South Carolina’s statehouse in Columbia.

Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty

In recent hours Sears, eBay, and Amazon have joined Walmart in announcing that they will no longer sell (or facilitate the sale of) Confederate flag merchandise in the aftermath of Confederate sympathizer Dylann Roof’s massacre of black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina. Yahoo Finance has put together a convincing case that the seemingly imminent difficulty of buying Confederate memorabilia has created a run on the historic-symbol-of-racism bank, as it were:

On Monday, before Haley announced her change in position on the flag (which still must be approved by the state assembly), Amazon listed two Confederate flags among the 60 bestselling items under “Outdoor Flags and Banners”: one at the No. 5 spot, and one at No. 43. The following morning, five of the top 20 bestsellers in the category were Confederate flags, including the No. 1 bestseller, a 3-by-5 foot polyester model made by Rhode Island Novelty and sold by a company called Anley. Among the top 60, 12 were versions of the Confederate flag.

A small Nevada company told Yahoo’s reporter it sells five Confederate flags in the typical week and has sold nearly 250 this week. The article also notes that many such flags are actually manufactured in China, which means that (at least in the short term) a controversy related to the United States’$2 19th-century civil war is enriching the capitalists who work within the communist system of one of the United States’ longtime 21st-century antagonists. We live in strange times.

Read more of Slate’s coverage of the Charleston shooting.