Defenders of the flag say it is about heritage, not racism, and if you are offended you just don't know history. Well, I do know history. That flag began its retched existence in 1861 as the battle ensign of the Army of Northern Virginia. The design was so popular it was incorporated as the canton on the official flag of the Confederacy in 1863, the so called "White Man's Flag." The designer of the flag, William Thompson, explained the white field,
After the South surrendered and Reconstruction began, a movement began among white Southerners to free the South from the rule of carpetbaggers (Yankees), freedmen (former slaves), and scalawags (liberal Southerners who supported racial integration). These "Redeemers" worked to return the South to the days of white rule and black servitude. The Confederate flag became the standard for Rebel reunions and a symbol of the Redeemers. In 1894, after Jim Crow segregation was firmly established, the state of Mississippi incorporated the Confederate ensign into the state flag.
The flag went to sleep at this point only to be reborn when Yankees started "imposing" the hated concept of Civil Rights on the nation. In 1956, Georgia added the Confederate flag to its state flag. Also around this time the Ku Klux Klan replaced the American flag in their marches with the Rebel flag.
And so it is that, except for about eighteen months at the beginning of the Civil War, the Confederate flag has always been a loud and proud symbol of racial hatred in America. The heritage it recalls is one of hatred and racial divide.