Arkansas’ flag is another combo platter of problems and problematic.
Let’s start with the problematic: the racist legacy. Designer Willie Hocker was kinda clever. She turned the Confederate battle flag into a flag that wasn’t the Confederate battle flag, but still looked like the Confederate battle flag, by morphing the starry X inside-out, into a diamond shape. Clever. Racist, but still clever.
There’s also the set of four stars, which refer to the national empires that the territory has been part of: France, Spain, the U.S., and… the Confederacy. Hocker’s original design was only three stars… the last one was added in 1923, as a rather obvious hand-job to white supremacists who still had a hard-on for their grandfathers’ treason.
There are also simple design issues with the flag. The word Arkansas in the middle of it (added by a committee) is the most obvious no-no. There’s also all those stars (yet again indicating what order the state was added to the union), and combined with the stars in the middle you have way-the-fuck-too many stars. But these problems are easily solved.
This simpler design actually harkens back to Hocker’s original design, by arranging the three stars back into a row, without the name of the state. The diamond shape was supposed to represent Arkansas’ status as the only diamond-producing state, and that’s fine. Removing the stars from the blue lines fixes both the Confederacy nostalgia and the busy-ness. So we’re left with a flag that leaves much of the old design intact, but strips out the cruft and the racist dog-whistling. And it’s almost elegant.