Why You Should Invite Your Confederate Flag-Loving Friends to See “Inside Out”

On June 17, 2015, there was a horrific shooting in Charleston, SC where nine African-Americans in a bible study were murdered in cold-blood by a 21-year-old white male who wanted to start a race war. Two days later, Disney/Pixar’s “Inside Out” opened. There’s a part of me that thinks the timing of these two events was providential.

The Charleston shooting re-opened what has a been a long-standing debate about whether or not the Confederate Flag should be removed from State-sanctioned buildings and flags. It still flies over the state capital of South Carolina, and it’s part of Mississippi’s flag.

At the same time, “Inside Out” has taken the country by storm. Many are calling it an instant classic and a masterpiece. As a filmmaker (and parent), I wholeheartedly agree. One of the reasons is because “Inside Out” has created a whole new language to use in our discussions about feelings and emotions. A language that I genuinely believe should be used in the aforementioned debate about the Confederate Flag.

Without giving anything way, ultimately “Inside Out” is a story about growth, maturity, and learning to accept new stages in life. Through the hilarious and touching journey of the main character’s emotions, we see a perfect analogy for how a young girl goes from child to pre-teen. Along that journey, she suffers many losses. Losses that cut deep. Losses of friendship and memories. Losses that seem insurmountable.

But something magical happens at the end. Something that puts everything before it into perfect perspective. We as an audience learn that value of moving on.

I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that there is one loss in “Inside Out” that is particularly poignant. Those of you who’ve seen it know exactly what I’m talking about. I saw the movie twice in four days, and both times I was moved to tears. I think that loss is a perfect analogy for how we should look at the Confederate Flag, and how to explain to our Southern brothers and sisters why it’s okay to let it go.

This Saturday is July 4th, a date we in America celebrate independence from Great Britain and the birth of this country. That was less than 250 years ago. So in many ways, like the main character Riley in “Inside Out”, America is just a pre-teen, particularly when compared to how long other countries on this planet have been in existence. As a country America is still relatively young in its development; we still have a lot of growing and maturing to do.

There may have been a place and a time for the Confederate flag. It may still have profound meaning for many people; a meaning that even transcends slavery. But the truth is, our country is moving on to a new stage. And that flag needs to be put in its appropriate place.

You can still cling to the pride of your heritage and how that flag once represented that. But like the aforementioned scene in “Inside Out”, it’s time to move on and grow up as a country. And if I may quote another popular Disney pop-culture phenomena… “Let it Go.”