Thursday, January 25, 2007


I routinely see cars and trucks (mostly trucks) that sport license plate frames or stickers or miniature flags of the Confederacy.

How is that even remotely acceptable in 2007? Why not a bumper sticker that says "Honk if you hate black people"? Or "My child is an honor student - but also a little racist in training."

And I'm not listening to any argument that says that it's a cultural relic that doesn't mean what you think it blahblahblah. Everyone knows what it means.


Blogger cuznate said...

Yeah - one of my closest friends is from Savannah. He finds the confederate flag thing laughable. The way he sums it up is even though his family has respect for it's ancestry, including a good handful of civil war vets, and thus understands that the confederate flag does stand for more than just it's implications relative to slavery and the civil rights struggle. But just because there's more there than just the racist stuff, that doesn't mean the racist implications aren't there. So what he always points out is that no one ever tries to sell anyone on the fact that a swastika also represents German cultural pride.

5:35 AM  
Blogger cuznate said...

To clarify what I said, because I've been thinking about it all morning - I don't think that the Confederate flag/symbol means the same thing to all people. For some people, it truly does not have any direct connection to the legacy of slavery and anti-civil rights tactics of the past. For some, it is emblematic of a region, of the idealized american rural lifestyle, of community and tradition.

However, for many people (probably a majority of people) there are intrinsic links between it and racism. The fact that it was the rallying symbol not only of the Confederate States of America and then later was the standard for the Klu Klux Klan and other like minded organizations. There's no way around that, and so for many if not most people it is a deeply charged and offensive symbol.

Which is what I was trying to get at before - that even if you are a person who wants to display that symbol because you do not find it inherently linked with those bad things and are as pure as you can be in your intentions relative to it's display - how can you ignore the fact that so many other people will be offended and take it negatively. It's not a question of political correctness, but rather of civility. Why display something, even if you're well intentioned when doing it, when you know you're going to be deeply offending (for good reason) many other fellow humans?

I should add however, that I have trouble swallowing any moralistic argument that somehow the North being the side of light and justice relative to slavery. I know that's not what this was about, but sometimes I think that the negatives heaped on the confederate flag are also a function of non-southern self-denial about the entire country's tacit cooperation in centuries of oppression and exploitaion.

8:13 AM  

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