T Nation

Confederate Flag: Pride or Bigotry?


#1

So I was just at Sheetz getting my late night $4 sub and there was a guy there in full cowboy gear including a confederate flag belt --note that I live right outside Pittsburgh.

So that got me thinking what other people think about the confederate flag and its meaning. Does it offend you?

I personally think its just another racist symbol. Im a strong believer in freedom of speech but I still feel that the confederate flag is a pretty blatant symbol of bigotry. Now I have always lived in Pittsburgh so I am obviously biased and ignorant of the "southern pride" connotation but Im just stating my view.


#2

it doesnt bother me at all. it did when i was younger and went through my wigger phase though. i think it just depends on the person. some like it because it shows theyre proud of where they come from... im sure others use it to show how they feel about other people. im a proud american and i think its a very important piece of our history.


#3

I think the US Civil War was more complex than most people pretend it was. I'm not going to go as far as to suggest that slavery was not an issue but (especially to a foreigner like me) it seems that the prevailing attitude is that slavery was the only issue. I'm reminded of that scene from the episode of The Simpsons where Apu attempts to get his US Citizenship:

Proctor: All right, here's your last question. What was the cause of
the Civil War?
Apu: Actually, there were numerous causes. Aside from the obvious
schism between the abolitionists and the anti-abolitionists,
there were economic factors, both domestic and inter--
Proctor: ... just say slavery.
Apu: Slavery it is, sir.

There's no doubt that the 'North' which had the political votes places very punitive taxes on the 'South' prior to secession. In addition, the whole 'we love slaves' myth of the Union doesn't accord with reality in my poinion but as they say history is written by the victor.

So I don't know, it's a tough issue. You certainly can't deny that to many people it is a symbol of oppression and slavery, to others it is a symbol of defiance against oppression and slavery, and the right to secede.

In Australia it is more a symbol of the Rebels Motorcycle Club, one of our bikie gangs.

I have Confederate Flag dog tags which I bought simply because I thought it was funny that a tacky jewellery store in Australia with a clear demographic of teen girls, would carry such a thing.

Sooo, yeah I guess after all that all I can say is 'I dunno'.


#4

From my experience, it is a symbol of southern pride. Hunting, mudding, drinking and working hard. Nothing to do with race, except maybe a few that arnt "southern" to begin with.


#5

I've found it to be a symbol of southern heritege (sp?). There is really nothing racist about it.

P.S. I'm a northern boy


#6

In the North it's generally viewed as racist. I can't say how it's viewed in the South but I've never seen a brother rockin it anywhere.


#7

Sometimes... But I've also seen them used in highly antagonizing ways against minority communities, just to provoke reactions and hostility. It's a big "Fuck You," as far as I'm concerned.

And seriously, what do people in the south have to be proud about? That it's hot? That Mississippi is like the worst state in the nation (sans Indiana.) Or maybe that they have the best conference in college football?

I don't get it. They [i]LOST[/i] the war. It'd be like romping around down in Vietnam with an American flag, sticking our tongues out at them. Whaa?

So my answer: It's niether pride nor bigotry. It's hillbilly-ism.


#8

Nothing to do with racism, unless it has something to do with racism for YOU. Personally i like the flag and the confederate flag too. I'm foreign born and don't see it as a racist symbol at all. More of a Symbol of resisting.

What few people consider is that many southerners that had slaves didn't want to own slaves and didn't find the practice appealing, but the times they lived in forced their hand. Oftentimes it is difficult to change the very system you were born into. Aside from all that, the war was fought over just about everything else other than slavery. It's the methods of teaching in schools here that really present an inaccurate recount of what really happened, or rather they have selective truth telling.


#9

You're being ignorant of someone else's culture right there. You also assume that because some idiots use it to antagonize minorities it must be a racist symbol. It is a racist symbol only to them, if you know what i'm saying.


#10

It means MYOB, directed at the federal government.


#11

No, I'm not being ignorant. I come from a hick area. No one around here is from the south, yet the rock their Confederate flags. Most people (I KNOW) who have them know damn well the underlying connotations the flag represents, and are perfectly fine with it. Most of these people also drive big 'ol trucks, and have huntin' and fishin' decals on there, and most of them probably have a can of Skoal or twelve in their glove compartments. So again, I'll answer again. It's niether pride nor bigotry - It's HILLBILLYISM.

What people from the South don't realize is that we do the EXACT same shit up here. Except it's really fucking cold for half of the year. It's not a "Southern" lifestyle.

But if I'm wrong, please, enlighten me. What does the almighty Confederate flag represent? (If you're a Southerner, I'm serious. I'm truly interested.) I'd be really surprised to hear that all those folks are truly proud of losing a war in which they defended slavery.


#12

Confederate flag = states rights advocates? I dunno. Why get upset about what kind of flags other people put up and shit? I mean, tons of people wear USSR patches with the hammer and sickle, that's pretty fucked up too isn't it?

Are you gonna start hating on cowboy hats next?


#13

I assume this is directed at me. I don't "hate" on anything (except maybe shadow-boxers.) I'm very far removed from the Hillbi- er, Southern culture, in terms of interest. I have tons of friends who are into it, and as I said, grew up in an area heavily influenced by it. I've been exposed to it my entire life.

My apologies if I came off sounding like a "hater," but I will stick to my convictions until I see otherwise.

And yes, cowboy hats are as lame as they get. :wink:


#14

In the South it is commonly understood that there is some racist connotation to the more current use of that symbol. I am not sure why people try to deny this or act like it doesn't matter.

No, most black people today don't give a shit and it will take more than that to piss someone off....but it isn't like that erases the stereotype when it is being worn along with cowboy boots, a big ass belt buckle and a hat as that person steps out of their big ass pick up truck with the Flag painted on the back window.

I don't know anyone who truly sports that due to some sort of "southern pride" unless they truly grew up on a farm.

I am laughing at all of the responses by people who haven't been any further south than Detroit.


#15

It doesn't mean the same thing to all people that display it.


#16

Commonly understood by who? People of like mindedness? You state that people act like it does not matter, and then go on to say how to black people it indeed does not matter. So if it does not matter to anyone then it should be good to go.

And once again, the civil war was not fought over slavery. Attaching the flag to this issue is a stupid stereotype, one where you will be able to find and support your dislike for it. Much like a black kid wearing a shirt with a big "X" on it. Wouldn't it be stereotypical of me to assume he hates whites and partakes in militant Islam?


#17

Good for them. However, even if the word "nigger" means "great guy" in Swahili, it would be in that person from that region's best interest to realize it doesn't mean the same here.

Get it?


#18

I am amazed you think the way you do.

Most young black people today didn't grow up around the same racism that their parents did. I know what the flag means around here and how it has been used because I can remember when its more racist aspect was more blatant and people reacted more towards it. You seem to think that there can be no progression of racist sentiment or reaction to it. That makes no sense.


#19

I see it more as something to represent where you're from, rather than as a racist symbol like the Swastika turned into. Then again, I'm Canadian and have no say in this matter.


#20

Being black, a native and life-long Tennessean, and a huge Lynrd Skynrd fan, I think I can weigh in on this. It seems to me that most who proudly, purposely display the Confederate flag long for a return to some part of the era it represents. They could be appreciative of the simpler time it seems to represent, or their motive could be more sinister. But, as in all things, you can't use this to judge a person. Some of my best friends would think nothing of throwing on a Skynrd or Harlet t-shirt with a rebel flag on it, but that doesn't make them bad people.