The Rebel Flag

9 10 2007

Apparently, there are two views on the Confederate flag

1. a symbol of white supremacy

2. a symbol of pride and heritage

I would argue that those two things aren’t as different as some would have you believe, more specifically, those who claim the second category would have you believe.

The rebel battle flag has become a kitchy southern cultural phenomenon. It was painted on the rough of the Dukes of Hazard’s car, and to this day is incorporated in the state flags of a few southern states. People hang it on their walls as one would for their favorite sports team. It even has become clothing (see below).

So I consent that it may be a display of so called ‘southern pride’. But pride in what? The most devisive issue of the civil war (the obvious origin of the flag) was that of racial equality. Anyone that would claim today that the south wasn’t on the wrong side of that issue is a racist. So when southerners fly the flag, what can it mean except pride in slavery, in the dehumanization of our fellow man?

racistSure, you can claim that you are proud of the southerner’s sense of independence – but surely there are better ways to do it – ways that don’t involve a symbol of an oppressive regime.

There is probably much good that can be found in 1940’s Germany, but no one will fly the Nazi flag and say that they’re only trying to remember the good parts.

It comes down to this: if you display the confederate flag in any sense (other than a history lesson, obviously) don’t be surprised to be labeled as a racist. You probably are. It scares me that people like that still exist in 21st century America.

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19 responses

13 03 2008
james r johnson

your a fucking idiot, damn liberals. the south saw their government oppressing them, so they rebeled to keep the federal government in check.

17 04 2008
Johnny

I will rebel till the day I die!!!!

16 06 2008
Marty

I fly it for what it stood for then and still dose to this day. It is about freedom and the right of self government free of federal interference. The slavery issue did not even enter at the start of the war but became an idea later the base of secession was on interference of the federal government in what was and should have been states rights to self government rule. Even Lincoln did not free slaves any were but the south. Never did he include there freedom or a statement to the fact that he believed it should be every were! nope only in the south yet there were slaves living and working in the north just not as many nor is it a very popular foot note in history as it would show the federal government was oppressing the south for some thing they fully enjoyed them self’s . Even some who made statements in history about the dislike for slavery held on to there own slaves and did not set an example by freeing them. kind of what Washington DC is know for to day passing laws they we have to fallow but the privileged few do not . People like senator Feinstein voting against privet hand gun ownership when she her self has a CCWP and owns at lest on Same with Boxer and so many more. Why it is okay for a politician to be able to carry concealed when the average person can not in the same city state or area. So believing what any of they say about a confederate battle flag is nothing but hypocritical as there doing the same thing to people of all races to this day they speak out against. The ones who believe the flag stand for any thing other do not know there history. Do not forget as many yanks fought for the south as did southern boys for the north the civil war was about a states right to self govern and the federal government trying to punish them for not allowing it. Kind of reminds me of to day were the fed punish a state for not fallowing federal ideas like speed limit and such. the feds pulled and with help moneys promised to states if they did not lower speed limits to 55 not to long ago and they have done this over and over forcing the will and wants of federal government on the states . The revolution was fought to free us from ternary but we live under it to day still only now it is not king George but the federal government runs by all political parts not any one over the other. This is also way during the revolution each state still had to decide to join or not same when the south broke away. The Rebel battle flag stands for pride and a belief in self government with out federal intervention. To me this would be no diffract then if the federal government out lawed all flags but the union battle flag. No state individual flags nor cities not religious nothing but starts and strips again this would be oppression by the federal government on self rule. So I fly the stars and bars with honor and respect of freedom and my rights to be free from the government oppression

4 05 2011
Robert T. Tegland

Amen I praise God everyday for people like you Marty. you are the people who keep me going when all around me are blinded by the federal teaching.

16 06 2008
Marty

I am a Yankee by birth and southern by chouse! The south were manners still mean some thing. Like yes mama and no sir are used every day there called manners an exchange or words with an acknowledgement of facts and respect for the person that had been speaking to you.

3 03 2010
faith

I am happy people support wat they believe in. born and raised in tennesse but still have problems cuz people want to call my pride hate. well they need too face reality

19 06 2008
Kate

Thank you for your comments. I am happy to address your points, but first I just need to say that your grammar is making my head hurt. If you have the time, please review your use of there/their and where/were. Using the English language correctly is also part of showing respect.

The crux of your argument seems to be that the rebel flag does not stand for slavery but rather state’s rights. The problem that you don’t acknowledge is that symbols can have multiple meanings and that those meanings can change over time. In your posting it becomes clear that your understanding of freedom is not a broad definition. You define freedom as it relates to firearms and the speed limit. Does the flag also stand for gay rights? Animal rights? I think that the answer to those two is no.

So let’s first agree that if the confederate flag stands for freedom, it stands for only some freedoms. Furthermore, these freedoms are typically sought for and celebrated by a subset of the American people: white southerners.

But now you need to address the fact that other people see the flag as standing for other views that were historically held by white southerners: racism and oppression. The use of the confederate flag nearly disappeared after the civil war (in no small part because the symbol was banned) but reemerged in the south during the 1950s and 1960s as a symbol of resistance to racial integration. It is that more recent use of the flag that stands out in most people’s minds.

Your historical analysis of the meaning of the confederacy does not address this use of the flag. It seems to me that most advocates for the use of the flag don’t address the issue of racism is because they just don’t care about issues of racial equality or because they are racist. Anyone who cared about the issue of equality would care enough to use a different, less emotionally charged symbol of freedom.

You say that you fly the flag just because you believe in freedom, but I believe that you have a broader political agenda. I could fly the Nazi swastika from my front porch and say it was a symbol of organization and efficiency, but no one would believe me either.

19 06 2008
Mitchell

Indeed. Kate is spot on.

18 11 2008
Holly

Yes, because teaching a biblical myth about mankind’s existence should definitely be debated upon in public, government-funded schools. Because it’s okay to hate other races and hang them from trees and even place figures of President-Elect Obama hanged from a tree. Because it’s okay to burn crosses on the lawns of those we dislike for ignorant reasons. [/sarcasm]

Look, the South isn’t alone in this ridiculous battle of ignorance. There is nothing wrong with being a liberal, and there’s nothing wrong with being conservative, but there is never a need for hate, especially widespread, IGNORANT hate like we are seeing ALL OVER THE COUNTRY from Maine to California, not just in Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Indiana, Texas, etc.

The Confederate Flag is viewed by most people not as what it originally stood for but as a backward symbol of racism and ignorance. It is wonderful to have pride in oneself and one’s country, but we need to move on from these horrible, painful reminders of torture and intolerance that sadly even continue today. It is not an attack on your flag and your Southern Pride, but it is an attack on what the general public sees behind this symbol.

8 01 2009
Nicki

I totally agree with Kate. How is the confederate flag any different from the Nazi swastika? Continuing the beliefs of white southerners means you must continue all of their beliefs, not just the ones you like. We can find a better way to show rebellion that is less emotionally charged for everyone.

16 02 2012
Beth Fairchild

It’s not all that different… the only reason either of them represent racism is because hate groups picked up the image and used them represent something darka dn disturbing. The origins of both stood for something much more than people see them as today.

10 04 2009
Chris

I think everyone cries to much on what offends them. I think the Confederate flag should fly. they have the freedom to look away or move to the the north if they dont like our southern ways. Y do all of you cry so much about what is”PC”. You are all taking away are freedoms by complaing so damn much!!! Our founding fathers would puke to hear what a once great America is becoming at a rapid pace.

20 04 2009
Mitchell

This may be the first time I’ve ever been accused of being politically correct. Private individuals have (and should have) the right to fly whatever flag they want – but that doesn’t mean they’re not racist ass-holes.

4 05 2011
Robert T. Tegland

sir you have proven your iggnorince by name calling .

4 06 2010
griffin

Actually… everyone’s ignorance is quite profound.
People in the south still call northerners “Yankees”, but you dont hear too many “Hey Johnny Reb” being said in the north.
Also… the “Confederate” flag isn’t racist. It was origonally created to signify the 13 origonal colonies… hence 13 stars. The south wanted their own flag, but by keeping with tradition, the 13 stars was indoctrinated on the southern flag. Racism wasn’t attached to the flag until years later.
I’m a Yankee… but i didn’t choose where I was raised. I fly my Confederate flag proudly. Why? Because to me, it stands for: Honor, Truth, and Justice… somthing America has seemed to forget.

1 11 2010
Bruce

I’m not American but I do like the confederate flag and think it should be preserved by all means so, because just like “griffin”, to me it stands for Honor, Truth and justice as well as a very significant measure of southern pride and Anglo Saxon heritage which I do share. I sometimes wear it in the form of a belt buckle or collar pin. I wear it neither to please nor displease. I wear it because it’s mine. Although I’m not half as worthy of it as for the many men who died for it’s cause but I wear it with pride and will not push it aside.

4 05 2011
Robert T. Tegland

As the title says my dear kate , “ignorance is evil” so perhapes you should do a litle more digging into history and a little less spouting off unhistorice and unlogical “facts” I won’t stop you but I at least can request that you not name call,lable and or speak untruths.

16 02 2012
Beth Fairchild

You could fly a Swastika if you wanted to, sure! Swastikas have been used in other ancient civilizations throughout the years and remains widely used in Indian religions like Hinduism and Buddhism. It’s also a Chinese character, symbolizing eternity… but only an uneducated, simpleton would conclude that you were a Nazi, or that it was “a symbol of organization and efficiency.” Oh wait… that’s exactly what you conclude about that hooked cross AND our battle flag. It’s part of American History and 400,000 southern soldiers, white and black, died for it. If you can’t respect that, well, “It scares me that people like YOU still exist in 21st century America.”

3 09 2013
bob

Just stopping in to say it’s hilarious (or terribly depressing, depending on your view) that nearly every comment in this string by someone insisting the “rebel flag” does NOT stand for racist asshattery (barring two who think it stands for “Honor, Truth, and Justice”…I’d bet those slaves would have something to say about the honor and justice parts) contains gross spelling and/or grammatical errors. One’s ignorance in one area bleeds over into others, evidently.

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