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Spinoff: Confederate Flags

RheannaRheanna Posts: 2,614Registered Users
Being from where I am from, I see these a lot. Sometimes from racist rednecks who mean it in a very malicious way; Sometimes not at all.

I also see a lot of people with t-shirts or bumper stickers with "rebel flags" that say things like:

Heritage, not Hate
If you don't know what this means, then go back to history class
Southern Pride
Proud to be a Southern girl!


Thoughts? I've argued with my husband about this, and I had a friend write a paper on this very subject. I know that the Civil War wasn't JUST about slavery, and I really do think that some of the people who wear or own Confederate flags are not racist and do not mean anything harmful by it, but they truly see it as a pride thing, regarding where they are from and their southern heritage, KWIM?

HOWEVER, I think that when something has come to mean something harmful, even if it didnt' start out that way, the time to stop using it has come. Others argue that they shouldn't have to give up on their beliefs just because someone else wants to see it in a negative or distorted way.

The friend that did a paper had to fight to be able to do so because our 12th grade English teacher flipped out and all but called her racist. The girl had ancestors who had fought in the Civil War and she is/was far from being racist in the least; she felt that people were distorting the meaning of a rebel flag. When she did research for the paper, she talked to many Black kids who felt that it wasn't something to get upset about.

Thoughts? I don't want this to be some huge argument. I am truly interested in opinions. I really have faith that we can keep it sane and controlled here people :)
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Comments

  • iris427iris427 Posts: 6,002Registered Users
    As someone from New York State, I find them offensive. Slavery was the main issue the Civil War was fought over (I mean, yeah "states' rights" but what was the so-called right those states wanted to exercise at the time? Slavery).

    I also find it kind of weird the way Confederate war heroes are celebrated as these great patriots--when they were actively trying to dismantle the country they were born in. And the same people that are all about the Confederacy are often the same ones with the whole "support our president, God bless the USA, these colors don't run" attitude. A bit ironic, in my view.

    My ancestors fought for the Confederacy too. But I recognize that their actions were harmful to my country and harmful to black Americans.
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  • internetchickinternetchick Posts: 6,191Registered Users
    It is freedom of speech whether we like what someone has to say or not. I saw a car that had a license plate frame that said "Welcome to America, Now Go Home". I find it offensive, but I don't like the slippery slope we would be going down to start censoring opinions and views. I think when we protect freedom of speech we have to realize that doesn't mean only those views that agree with our own.
  • FreeCurlsFreeCurls Posts: 4,408Registered Users
    I can see both sides, though seeing them does make me uncomfortable especially when it is on a pick-up truck. Ann you do see them up north as well.
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  • LucilleLucille Posts: 588Registered Users
    Honestly, also being Southern, I see one and think the person in the car or flying it must be a complete tool, either too stupid to know better or too insensitive to care.

    Fortunately, we do have free speech, and people are free to alert me in advance that they fit into either above category without me having to inquire further.
  • internetchickinternetchick Posts: 6,191Registered Users
    I live in Washington and see them up here(few and far between though), but displayed in a racist way(anti-black slogans next to the flag). We have a huge population of white supremacist groups here because overall the majority of the state is white, though in the area where I am I don't think there are. IIRC, they are mostly positioned in the more northern areas such as Redmond.

    ETA(for clarities sake) that the white supremacist groups prefer it here due to the large white population, not the large population leading to white supremacy groups.
  • YolyCYolyC Posts: 3,758Registered Users
    It is freedom of speech whether we like what someone has to say or not. I saw a car that had a license plate frame that said "Welcome to America, Now Go Home". I find it offensive, but I don't like the slippery slope we would be going down to start censoring opinions and views. I think when we protect freedom of speech we have to realize that doesn't mean only those views that agree with our own.

    I totally agree.
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  • iris427iris427 Posts: 6,002Registered Users
    YolyC wrote:
    It is freedom of speech whether we like what someone has to say or not. I saw a car that had a license plate frame that said "Welcome to America, Now Go Home". I find it offensive, but I don't like the slippery slope we would be going down to start censoring opinions and views. I think when we protect freedom of speech we have to realize that doesn't mean only those views that agree with our own.

    I totally agree.

    I agree as well. I'm not saying they should be banned--just that I find them offensive.
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  • hayseedladyhayseedlady Posts: 646Registered Users
    YolyC wrote:
    It is freedom of speech whether we like what someone has to say or not. I saw a car that had a license plate frame that said "Welcome to America, Now Go Home". I find it offensive, but I don't like the slippery slope we would be going down to start censoring opinions and views. I think when we protect freedom of speech we have to realize that doesn't mean only those views that agree with our own.

    I totally agree.

    Both these women are wise!

    I very rarely see them up here, if you do it's the back window of an old Honda Civic or smaller car since the people can't afford a truck.

    I hate the way it makes all pick up truck drivers look like tools, even if your truck doesn't carry thing.

    I will say I secretly want an air horn for my truck that does DIXIE. So deliciously redneck, I'm even a northern hick I don't get it.
  • KaiaKaia Posts: 8,815Registered Users
    I used to find them offensive, until I lived in the south for a few years. Most people who display them around here don't do so maliciously. If something is not meant to offend, why let it offend you?
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  • MonaMona Posts: 49Registered Users
    I live in the South, and also see quite a lot of Confederate symbols: flags, slogans, etc. While the people that display these flags may or may not mean to portray something negative, they end up giving off the vibe that they aren't... the sharpest knife in the drawer. This may just be the area I live in (mostly white, rural area), and it has a lot to do with the fact that the people who do this are usually making fools of themselves (screaming "Git 'R' Done!" while speeding out of a parking lot with 5+ people in the back of their pick up, wear t-shirts with scantaly clad women/men wearing a very small *ahem* Confederate flag, etc.).

    I do know several people who belief in "heritage, not hate" and don't act in this way, and I personally believe that having some pride in where you came from is perfectlly fine. However, I also believe that there are better ways to show this than displaying a Confederate flag, simply because people may find it offensive.

    Another reason that I see this flag quite often is that the old Georgia flag (my home state) was the GA state seal on a blue background... with a Confederate flag placed to the right of it. This flag was set in place back in the '50s to comment on the Civil Rights movement in a negative way. They finally got rid of it in... 2000? 2002? Sometime in that area.

    Of course, free speech has to be considered as well. If I have a right to express my views about the Confederate flag, then so does the next person (who may have a completely different idea).
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  • EilonwyEilonwy Posts: 12,389Registered Users
    Of course individuals have the right to fly the Confederate flag, although I'll certainly think you're either racist or a tool if you do. But I don't think that the flag belongs on state seals or flags, or near government buildings.

    This probably isn't the best canon to reference, but South Park actually made a pretty good argument about this :oops: If you and the kkk happen to agree on something, then even if you have good intentions, you should probably change your opinion.
  • mandyvmandyv Posts: 2,437Registered Users
    Usually when I see one I smile and flip the person off whose car or truck it's on. So far I've been lucky and haven't been shot at or run off the road but I find them despicable. They're free and so am I.
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  • EilonwyEilonwy Posts: 12,389Registered Users
    mandyv wrote:
    Usually when I see one I smile and flip the person off whose car or truck it's on. So far I've been lucky and haven't been shot at or run off the road but I find them despicable. They're free and so am I.

    ITA :wink:

    I think that if someone in my area was wearing a Confederate flag or had one on their car, they'd have hell to pay. It's definitely considered a symbol of hatred and crackerdom here, and I can't imagine anyone flying it. Someone who lives near me flies a Canadian flag, though. Unpatriotic b@stard :twisted:
  • AmnerisAmneris Posts: 15,117Registered Users
    Lucille wrote:
    Honestly, also being Southern, I see one and think the person in the car or flying it must be a complete tool, either too stupid to know better or too insensitive to care.

    Fortunately, we do have free speech, and people are free to alert me in advance that they fit into either above category without me having to inquire further.


    Excellent post!
    BTW, the song Dixie is even more offensive, because the lyrics glorify slavery and imply that the Black singer of the song would prefer to be a slave than free.
    And the Confederate flag has become a sign of white supremacy outside of the south, in places where no one can claim any historic or cultural justification for it whatsoever. I've seen them in windows and on trucks in Canada several times a well as in the northern US, and racist groups up here sometimes use them instead of or as well as swastikas - they have adopted a similar meaning.
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  • Gemini13Gemini13 Posts: 5,000Registered Users
    Amneris wrote:
    Lucille wrote:
    Honestly, also being Southern, I see one and think the person in the car or flying it must be a complete tool, either too stupid to know better or too insensitive to care.

    Fortunately, we do have free speech, and people are free to alert me in advance that they fit into either above category without me having to inquire further.


    Excellent post!
    BTW, the song Dixie is even more offensive, because the lyrics glorify slavery and imply that the Black singer of the song would prefer to be a slave than free.
    And the Confederate flag has become a sign of white supremacy outside of the south, in places where no one can claim any historic or cultural justification for it whatsoever. I've seen them in windows and on trucks in Canada several times a well as in the northern US, and racist groups up here sometimes use them instead of or as well as swastikas - they have adopted a similar meaning.

    Funny story (well, I think so anyway!). When I first started dating my husband, he had a confederate flag in his back window, serving as a shade. :shock: When I noticed it I was shocked, and not a little freaked out. Then I realized- my husband is from Ireland, he probably doesn't even know what it stands for. I calmed down, and decided not to say anything that night- we hadn't known each other that long and I didn't want to embarrass him. Time goes by, and I forget the thing is even there. When he moves out of that apt, I tell him he really should throw it in the garbage (which he does).

    It comes up in conversation some time later, and I tell him what I just told you guys. He says, no, he had no idea what it meant and yes, he would have been really embarrassed had he known! And he was really glad it had been in his back window. Apparently he picked up the flag while living in Germany. It had been in one of his old apts when he moved in. It really clicked for him when he said this, because there was a burgeoning Neo-Nazi movement in that area. Which is a roundabout way of saying that yes, it's considered a sign of racism and hatred many places far from the US.

    My personal opinion is that people are free to wear/fly/display what they want, but I find the Confederate flag to be incredibly offensive.
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  • Gemini13Gemini13 Posts: 5,000Registered Users
    I also wanted to point out that the swastika was originally a positive symbol (the word is derived from Sanskrit, and roughly means "lucky charm"). At this stage it doesn't matter where it came from because its original meaning has been so horrifically besmirched. People can talk about "reclaiming" certain symbols all they want, but it's already far too late for some of them.
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  • three rivers curlythree rivers curly Posts: 994Registered Users
    While we're on the subject - can someone explain to me what the term "The South will rise again!" means? I just think this is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard! What do they think is going to happen if the South does "rise" again?
    Better everyone think your a fool, than to open your mouth and prove them right.

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  • internetchickinternetchick Posts: 6,191Registered Users
    While we're on the subject - can someone explain to me what the term "The South will rise again!" means? I just think this is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard! What do they think is going to happen if the South does "rise" again?

    Cars and trucks and mobile homes will rise up off their cinder blocks and the trailer parks shall inherit the earth :lol:
  • yagottaloveyacurlsyagottaloveyacurls Posts: 5,766Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    While we're on the subject - can someone explain to me what the term "The South will rise again!" means? I just think this is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard! What do they think is going to happen if the South does "rise" again?

    Cars and trucks and mobile homes will rise up off their cinder blocks and the trailer parks shall inherit the earth :lol:

    :lol: *snort*
  • LucilleLucille Posts: 588Registered Users
    While we're on the subject - can someone explain to me what the term "The South will rise again!" means? I just think this is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard! What do they think is going to happen if the South does "rise" again?

    Cars and trucks and mobile homes will rise up off their cinder blocks and the trailer parks shall inherit the earth :lol:

    From the tornados that always target such areas. ;)
  • EilonwyEilonwy Posts: 12,389Registered Users
    While we're on the subject - can someone explain to me what the term "The South will rise again!" means? I just think this is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard! What do they think is going to happen if the South does "rise" again?

    It means "US South uber alles." Also used as innuendo.
  • KaiaKaia Posts: 8,815Registered Users
    How ironic that the people who are offended by confederate flags seem to feel it's ok to reduce the south to trucks and trailer parks. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised. :roll:
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  • fig jamfig jam Posts: 2,555Registered Users
    Sigh.

    I'm from the South originally, and I get so tired of the Southern stereotype and how some folks think it's okay to perpetuate it.

    People in the South aren't stupid or uneducated, and they know the Confederate flag is offensive. It's been more than 30 years since the University of Georgia banned "Dixie" from the marching band's repertory.

    What might be news to some people is that racism and rednecks are very prevalent in other parts of the country/world as well. The South has no corner on it.

    I have seen just as much racism in New England, the Northwest, Colorado, and the Midwest. Because it's more subtle and insidious, though, people seem to deny it exists. At least in the South I grew up in, when you encountered it, it was in the open for everyone to see and challenge. You could point the finger and say, "Fool!" and everyone would know exactly what you were talking about.

    As long as people think it's a Southern problem, they aren't going to address it where it lives -- which is everywhere. Dang, people, grow up.
    I've lived all over this country, excepting Hawaii and Alaska, and seen just as many pickups and trailer parks in Maine and Missouri and Colorado and Oregon as I ever did in Tennessee and Georgia.

    And, yes, I am aware that pickups and trailer parks do not equal stupid or racist. Trailer parks usually mean "all I can afford" and pickups can mean anything. Including nothing. I'm just using the imagery others have tossed out here.

    Racism targets vary by region. Hell, a lot of people in Maine didn't care for the French! Who knew!?

    Look in your own backyard before you start laughing at the people next door. :evil:
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  • fig jamfig jam Posts: 2,555Registered Users
    Sorry. DP.
    "Tell me, are you incapable of restraining yourself, or do you take pride in being an insufferable know-it-all?"

    "Honey Badger don't care!"
  • fig jamfig jam Posts: 2,555Registered Users
    WTF is wrong with this Board!?
    "Tell me, are you incapable of restraining yourself, or do you take pride in being an insufferable know-it-all?"

    "Honey Badger don't care!"
  • fig jamfig jam Posts: 2,555Registered Users
    $%$#)%(*)*(
    "Tell me, are you incapable of restraining yourself, or do you take pride in being an insufferable know-it-all?"

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  • iris427iris427 Posts: 6,002Registered Users
    Just for the record, I've lived in the South and my family is from the South.
    I don't think the South is all ignorant hicks and racists or that those two types of people don't exist elsewhere.
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  • yagottaloveyacurlsyagottaloveyacurls Posts: 5,766Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Dang..
    It was just a joke.
  • TrenellTrenell Posts: 3,562Registered Users
    Gemini13 wrote:
    I also wanted to point out that the swastika was originally a positive symbol (the word is derived from Sanskrit, and roughly means "lucky charm"). At this stage it doesn't matter where it came from because its original meaning has been so horrifically besmirched. People can talk about "reclaiming" certain symbols all they want, but it's already far too late for some of them.

    I was going to make the same point.

    When I see the confderate flag, it makes me stop in my tracks for a second. Funny thing, I am MORE offended by people who wear it as "heritage not hate" as oppse to KKK.
  • iris427iris427 Posts: 6,002Registered Users
    Trenellm wrote:
    Gemini13 wrote:
    I also wanted to point out that the swastika was originally a positive symbol (the word is derived from Sanskrit, and roughly means "lucky charm"). At this stage it doesn't matter where it came from because its original meaning has been so horrifically besmirched. People can talk about "reclaiming" certain symbols all they want, but it's already far too late for some of them.

    I was going to make the same point.

    Same here, although I would like to mention that in some parts of the world, it still retains the original meaning, in spite of the Nazis.

    I do believe that many people don't have bad intentions with the Confederate flag. But that doesn't mean it isn't offensive. People don't always have bad intentions when they make racist jokes or statements, but they are still offensive.
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