Big sale on vinyl Obama Hope Rebel flag

Discuss

124 Responses to “Big sale on vinyl Obama Hope Rebel flag”

  1. Urza9814 says:

    “The Stars and Bars really ought to be seen as the American equivalent to the swastika at this point.”

    As a complete northerner (Lived about an hour from Pittsburgh, PA my whole life, parents from Pittsburgh, their parents from PA/Maryland area), I’ve got to say that that is quite possibly one of the _stupidest_ things I’ve read in a while. Sorry, but no. Not at all. Not equivalent in the slightest. The confederate flag isn’t about slavery. It’s not about white supremacy. It’s about the rights of states to govern their citizens, rather than the federal government. And I gotta say, that would be a great thing to have in this nation right now. If it weren’t for the whole slavery thing, I would probably be wishing the south had won the civil war. The states are damn near powerless now, and those in charge of the federal government are way too far removed from the citizens to govern effectively.

    • danlalan says:

      Whether a person wishes the confederate flag to be associated with slavery, racism and segregation or not, it is so entangled with the ideas that separating one from the other is well nigh impossible. If that makes you unhappy, I’m sorry, but blame the southerners who did these loathsome things while carrying this flag as a standard , not those of us looking at the historical record. As for “fighting for states rights”- the main “states right” they were in arms about was slavery. It had been the elephant in the parlor of American politics for decades prior to the war, and it was arguably the rising abolitionist sentiment in the north that had the southerners most upset. This is a fight supporters of this particular symbol are destined to lose. Again.

      • Felton says:

        Whether a person wishes the confederate flag to be associated with slavery, racism and segregation or not, it is so entangled with the ideas that separating one from the other is well nigh impossible.

        Absolutely! Thanks.

      • Ted8305 says:

        I’d rather use the confederate flag in a “queer positive” way, if you catch my drift. The negative connotations are subjective. Bigotry and discrimination are what’s really tired and ugly, not the flag.

        • danlalan says:

          I’d rather use the confederate flag in a “queer positive” way, if you catch my drift. The negative connotations are subjective. Bigotry and discrimination are what’s really tired and ugly, not the flag.

          I agree completely. It is, after all, only a symbol. Visually, it isn’t unattractive, but being a flag it really has no other function than as a symbol.

          And however differently we as individuals might wish it to be, the options are not “symbol of bigotry” vs some as yet undefined “queer positive” symbol. They are as a symbol of bigotry and discrimination or as symbol of pride in some mythical historical southern culture that existed separately from the bigotry and discrimination, and which is often only a thin veneer over the unfortunately persistent and all too widespread notions of bigotry and discrimination that still exist.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think this is a really, inadvertantly brilliant idea. Why not co-op the symbols of racism? I’d love to see a rebel flag in rasta (african?) colors (green, yellow, black.) Or how about a pink swastika?

    Stetson Kennedy helped crack the KKK way back when by infiltrating their ranks and then basically ridiculing their secret rites, services and handshakes, what have you.

    I think this is a really interesting mash-up. And, just so you know, I am a proud Southerner and I despise the Rebel battle flag and what it stands for.

  3. Xopher says:

    But it doesn’t matter, nutbastard. The symbolism is not inherent, no matter what it was concocted to mean. And the Confederate Battle Flag is no more immutable than any other symbol, no matter what its inventors meant.

    And what they did mean is that they should have the right to keep slaves, so even that doesn’t help much. But the key point is that whatever was meant by it originally, it’s tainted with the racism of the segregationists now. 50 years from now, that may fade. But right now, it’s as foolish to put it up and say “it’s about Southern Pride” as it is to put up a hammer-and-sickle flag and say “it’s about industry and agriculture working together” (which was the original meaning of THAT flag).

  4. Mark Frauenfelder says:

    Do a lot of black southerners like the Confederate flag as much as you do, Ted8305?

    • seanmichaelragan says:

      This guy does:

      http://www.timesanddemocrat.com/articles/2004/04/07/news/news1.txt

      And he’s not just some nut-job. He’s former president of the Asheville chapter of the NAACP and was interviewed on Penn & Teller’s “Bullshit” episode about reparations. They liked him.

      Personally, I think the juxtaposition of Obama’s face and the stars-and-bars is at least conceptually beautiful, because it represents a full-circle coming about among Southerners who can be both proud of their heritage and proud that they live in a country that’s elected a black president. You don’t put someone’s face on a flag if you despise him.

  5. Tdawwg says:

    Do you mean that quaint custom of employing children in factories up North? (Yep, the banner on the right reads “slavery.” The banner on the left is in Hebrew, which rocks.)

    Here’s a happy Jersey girl in 1910. Ah, that forward-thinking Yankee spirit! Union forever!

    Not to minimize the horrors of African and African-American slavery down South. But I hate it when the North gets a free pass in the human degradation and exploitation game: it’s so completely ahistorical.

    That said, the “states rights” talk is a dogwhistle and a canard for many of us: Robert E. Lee could wax rhetorical about his “country” Virginia because he was a white man. It wasn’t just about taxes and railroad gagues, folks.

  6. nutbastard says:

    wow. there’s enough stereotyping, ignorance and vitriol in these comments that, if indoctrinated properly, the vast majority of BB readers commenting on this post would make really great racists. Thank god y’all were indoctrinated the OTHER way – it’s just as disgusting, but at least nobody gets hurt.

  7. MITTZNZ says:

    Who cares what brown people feel? I’m entitled to my precioius offensive symbol because, goddammit, I am me.

  8. mcchud says:

    is it really for white supremacists? i think it’s kinda cheeky and ironic, like sapping the intimidating power and message of the confederate flag from white supremacists. like obama? like your southern heritage & history, warts and all? this is a good flag for you then! i mean, i don’t *feel* naive.

  9. diluded000 says:

    To all you fellow southerners that don’t like that flag: move north of the Mason-Dixon and you might change your mind. Regardless of your enlightened viewpoint and intellectual capacity, a large number of yankees will think you are stupid and talk funny. The thing is, after living on both sides of the border it became quickly evident that yankees are bigger racist than southerners. Ask them about illegal immigrants. They like the INS raids on the packing plant that send daddy back to Mexico and leave his wife and kids at home without support. Breaking up families sound familiar?

    I have a rebel flag on the wall in my garage because I don’t like how yankees look at southerners. I would have never considered doing this in the south, because it means something different there. But a disproportionate number of yankees are total buttholes, and if I can do something to tick them off – good. I voted for Obama.

  10. Brainspore says:

    (Told ya.)

  11. ZippySpincycle says:

    “If it weren’t for the whole slavery thing, I would probably be wishing the south had won the civil war.”

    I couldn’t agree more. And were it not for some hubbub during the third act, the April 14th 1865 performance of Our American Cousin would have gone off without a hitch.

  12. Scott Bieser says:

    The war was, at the outset, about whether states had a right to secede from the Union. The elites on both sides were concerned with tariffs: the southern states were paying the lion’s share, which the northern industrial elites liked and the southern agrarian elites hated.

    The abolitionist movement had only minority support in the North. Far more Northerners opposed the expansion of slavery into the new territories because they saw slavery as unfair competition with Free White labor.

    The Southern states seceded because with the continuing faster growth in Northern population, they saw that they were becoming a permanent electoral minority, and would always be a milch cow for Northern industrial interests.

    Fort Sumpter, the flash point for the war, was essentially a Federal customs-collection station. South Carolina, upon seceding, demanded that the Federal tax-collectors go home. The Feds and their garrison stayed. Finally, the Confederates lost patience and fired on the fort, and the war was on.

    Even though Lincoln did not wage war on the four Slave states which did not secede, and slave labor was at work rebuilding the Capitol building throughout the war, the elites on both sides used the slavery issue as a “popular” cause with which to drum up support for the expensive and bloody conflict from their respective populations. And of course the victors wrote the history books.

    It might be argued that the Southern States, by maintaining slavery, deserved what they got (even though the Slave States not in rebellion suffered only the loss of their slaves after the war). But it could also be argued that American Imperialism began with the victory of the Northern States and the subsequent Indian Wars.

    History rarely offers up clearly good-vs-evil contests.

  13. Steve says:

    Hundreds of confederate flags waving in the infield at a Nascar race… I guess they all hate black people. Or they’re just stoopid rednecks. Sorry, it’s lazy and convenient to sling that stereotype because it’s blatantly obvious that not everyone sees it the same way.

    For a group who often takes up the fight against xenophobia, bigotry, and discrimination, dismissing the flag as a symbol of hate alienates a lot of people who don’t view it that way.

    Imagine the conflict if the KKK started using a rainbow as it’s symbol…

    • danlalan says:

      I don’t think anyone is arguing that everyone that flies the stars and bars are racists. The problem is that the value and power of a symbol does not rest with the perception of the people displaying it, but rather with the perception of those viewing it. In 2001, Mississippi had a referendum about continuing to include the stars and bars in the state flag, and a survey of attitudes about the flag were conducted. 75% of whites surveyed said they saw the flag as a symbol of heritage, but 70% of blacks saw it as a symbol of racism and hatred.
      http://psweb.sbs.ohio-state.edu/grads/block/Rayz%20Pagez/Research%20Publications/racial_threat.pdf

      Neither opinion is “correct” in any absolute sense, but the effect of displaying a symbol that is widely acknowledged to be a symbol of the contempt by ones “self-identifying group” of another group, regardless of the value that the displayer assigns to the symbol is not trivial.

      I may display a swastika because in my view it represents potato pancakes, dark beer and leiderhosen, but I would be disingenuous and deliberately obtuse if I then condemned everyone I offended as narrowminded and bigoted.

      • Xopher says:

        danlalan, I agree with you. But: ‘lederhosen’, please. Leather pants. ‘Leiderhosen’ would be “Suffering pants,” and would presumably have SPIKES ON THE INSIDE. Using a swastika to mean THAT wouldn’t be so far off the mark!

        Ribbing aside, good post.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Flagz – Your *both* doing it wrong -

    http://www.sulgrave.org/Sulgrave%20Church/ChurchW04w.jpg

    (The Washington Family coat of arms – yes, Washington’s family was British right up until he had to pay taxes.)

  15. aldasin says:

    I’m from the south and that’s the flag of dirt bags.

  16. nutbastard says:

    “I just think it’s important to acknowledge the terrible history it represents for many people”

    I think it’s rather more important to acknowledge what the flag actually MEANS rather than what has been ascribed to the flag, after the fact, by people who can’t help but wrongly equate everything negative about the souths past with the flag of the time.

    How do you think the American flag makes the Native Americans feel? After all, they could easily make the case that the American flag is symbolic of violent invasion and colonialism. But we both know that that’s NOT what the American flag represents. Both flags represent ideals and philosophies. Neither is representative of or in promotion of the sins of the past, just as a Crucifix isn’t representative of or in promotion of the Crusades, or the Spanish Inquisition. Both were done in the name of Christ, but we know that such an association is completely absurd, since Christ most definitely was NOT in favor of casting stones.

    • Felton says:

      How do you think the American flag makes the Native Americans feel?

      I have to admit, that’s a good point. I’m part Native American, and I’ve always thought the American Revolution was overrated. :-)

      • Ted8305 says:

        The POW/MIA flag is somewhat popular among Native Americans. Being rounded up and sent to live on a rez is similar to being made a prisoner of war. The flag is a way to be patriotic while make a subtle statement about native rights.

    • Brainspore says:

      I think it’s rather more important to acknowledge what the flag actually MEANS rather than what has been ascribed to the flag…

      No symbol has any inherent meaning- all interpretations are ascribed on some level or another. That’s why “I don’t want that on my courthouse because it reminds me of slavery” is a valid opinion, but so is “I’d like to hang that Obama flag in front of my house in a display of Southern pride.”

  17. Anonymous says:

    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. – HST

  18. Xopher says:

    Tdawwg, most of the “right-to-work” (that is, anti-union) states are in the South. I don’t think the South has a monopoly on racism, but I know the North doesn’t have a monopoly on the “big-business, pro-industry, screw-the-workers” ideology either.

    • Tdawwg says:

      Xopher, I’m talking about the nineteenth century, for which what I said was perfectly accurate. The model for the rapacious capitalism of the twenty-first century is the rapacious capitalism of the nineteenth: and this got started mainly in Britain and in the North of the United States. There’s a reason French folks don’t say “Johnny Reb, go home!”

      Updike puts it well in The Poorhouse Fair:

      Had the northern manufacturers been half so concerned with the slaves in their own mills as they were with those in the fields of the South, they would have had no need to make the war for the sake of munitions profits. But they were jealous. Their hearts were consumed by envy. They had taken a beating in the Panic of ’57. The civilization of the South menaced their pocketbooks. So as is the way with the monied minority they hired a lawyer to do their dirty work, Lincoln.

      Wow, the comment system still sucks major ass. Is the point that we comment less? If so, mission accomplished!

  19. Axx says:

    I am southern, and I regret that the Battle Flag of the Confederacy has become a symbol of hate…whether other southerners want it to be or not, that’s what it is seen as.

    If southerners want a racially neutral symbol to rally around, I suggest the Bonnie Blue Flag: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bonnieblue.svg

    It even has a catchy song to go with it:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61Ec7j7Qtdw

    Presto!

    But even though it inspired the first “Republic of Texas” flags…those guys can’t use it! =P

  20. TheWillow says:

    @bcsizemo “Since states control most public school curriculum I wonder what gets taught about the Civil war is different from the South to the North?”

    … I grew up in VA (albeit Fake VA, but considering my high school had to have a lawsuit in the mid EIGHTIES to remove Johnny Reb as our mascot, being off of Lee-Jackson Hwy and across the road from the planned community “Mosby Woods,” I think I have some street cred). Taking a course on the US South in college, I found that the biggest difference between the Southern kids and Northern kids (to be fair, our two Southerners were me-the child of carpetbagging New York Jews and a 2nd generation Louisianan off Middle-Eastern descent) is that the Southerners had actually learned about the Civil War in elementary-high school beyond: “The South is evil, they wanted slaves and then when we won they killed Lincoln.”

    It may have been because VA is just about the most self-important place on the face of the earth* but Civil War history was a major part of both our local and national history curriculum. A clear condemnation of the Confederacy permeated everything we learned, and slavery was identified as the key catalyst, but there was also a focus on a deeper understanding of the other causes and events and outcomes as well. We took field trips to battlefields (not just in VA, Gettysburg too), read novels and biographies on the subject, etc.

    The closest comparison I’ve found in level of depth is talking to people from Boston about their education on the Revolution.

    *FYI, every single thing in US history is due to VA: Jamestown, Roanoke, French & Indian War, the declaration, the revolution, the constitution, the bill of rights, Washington DC, 8 presidents, the confederacy, the civil war, etc…

  21. SouthernLiberal says:

    I’m white and from Texas and this flag disgusts me. Why do you think Georgia changed their flag to remove the Confederate part? It’s an unspoken law that you can tell when you’re around rednecks based on the number of Confederate flags you see. It isn’t a symbol of heritage or history, it represents slavery, lynching and legal segregation for hundreds of years.

    Do people in Germany say the swastika is only a symbol of their heritage or history? Denoted meanings aren’t always the same as connotated meanings.

  22. awilson8 says:

    Xopher – yes, historical rather than modern, although it has always been my impression (based entirely on anecdote; I’ve never lived in New England or visited for more than short periods) that the average Patrick O’Reilly would have a bit of trouble getting into some of the older country clubs regardless of how much money he had. Sorry, should have qualified.

  23. Xopher says:

    Thanks, aldasin. Symbols don’t mean what you intend by them; their meaning is what the observer takes them to mean.

    The CSA Battle Flag may not have been about racism, or at any rate entirely about racism when it was invented, but since the 1960s, when it became the flag of segregationists, it has been indelibly tainted as the flag of southern racism in the US.

    The swastika was an Indian sun symbol originally; but its association with the Third Reich has indelibly tainted it as a symbol of racist, fascist, totalitarian conquest. You can’t (in the sense that it will not work) use it as a sun symbol now. It will be read as a symbol of the Third Reich, and therefore that is its meaning.

    The tainting of the swastika is a lot worse than the tainting of the CSA battle flag, but the same principle applies: you can’t use it as a symbol of southern pride, because it will be read as a racist symbol, and therefore that is its meaning.

    I’m not sure what this combination flag is supposed to mean. Maybe they’re trying to say that Obama is a racist? That’s a meme among Rush-and-Beck fans, who are, as aldasin put it, dirtbags.

  24. awilson8 says:

    Well, it’s a pretty complex topic, when it comes down to it. The football flag of the University of Missisippi Rebels was the flag depicted above (aka the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, and technically distinct from the Stars and Bars, which was a flag of the CSA) until around 1990 or so. I remember – I was in junior high at the time – that the issue was pretty controversial. A classmate showed me what he considered to be proof that the flag was a team symbol, nothing more – a black man, in the stands, waving a 3×5 Rebel flag. The administration, which had more pressing concerns than the fans, pushed a ban on that flag, and got it.

    Still, what was that man supporting? I guess it was probably that his son was on the team – I have no way of knowing for sure, but had he attended the school he would have been one of its first black attendees.

    I think the Hope-Rebel flag is actually pretty interesting; it’s neat what you can do with red, white, and blue.

    The history of slavery in the US is a lot more complex than most people think. We live with its consequences daily – especially those of us in the south. Class and race and culture are intertwined in incredibly complex ways that are really not at all apparent to the outsider.

    Mark – while the KKK’s antisemitism is not debated, most southerners have very little antipathy to Jews. One of the strange consequences of race as seen in the South is that European-extracted folk are simply white. There is almost none of the Irish v. Italian v. Polish v. whatever that is seen elsewhere – the great divide of black and white collapses all such divisions. And it is a strong divide – black and white cultures in the South have very little overlap, even among professionals who work together. I have worked closely with black Southerners -my boss is one – but I’ve never been invited to his home, and never will be. The fact that we like each other and work well together in the office is irrelevant.

    As I said, the intersection of culture (black society being radically different in many ways from white society in the south) and class makes black-white relations incredibly difficult – because while class distinctions erode as you move up the social scale, the culture differences become stronger. There’s no good solution. I’ve had numerous discussions with people who were not native Southerners who moved here. When they first arrived, they thought everyone was a horrible racist. After a year or two, though, they got it: skin color is far less important than which culture you subscribe to. The same things that are said about blacks in the South are said about the Irish in Boston and about the Mexicans in San Antonio.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes Yes everyone needs an ‘other’ to rail against. Given the economic structure of society today, most boingers (myself included) would be inclined to pick the corporate plutocracy.

      You know, 3rd generation trust fund kids who spout Ayn Rand, CEOs who knowingly neglect their employees’ welfare while taking home seven figures, politicians whose votes go to the highest bidder, etc.

      Blame the behaviour, not the person. Also, please defend the swastika, since the parallels to your argument are exact.

  25. bentham says:

    racist people, even subtle ones – including those that (silently) acknowledge slavery was just another part of their cultural heritage or regional history – like to display the confederate flag because it allows them to lean on the crutch of the phrase “southern pride.”

  26. Xopher says:

    The same things that are said about blacks in the South are said about the Irish in Boston and about the Mexicans in San Antonio.

    All that means is that different cities have different groups they’re racist about. I’m surprised to hear that Boston is “racist” about the Irish—I assume you mean today, right? 100 years ago, you bet: NINA signs. Even in New York.

  27. Anonymous says:

    I’m not at all convinced this was meant to be racist. Do a google image search for “Rednecks For Obama” and you’ll see plenty of confederate flag/ pro-Obama motifs.

  28. hometack says:

    The iconic picture of Obama and the Confederate Flag are a humorous enough juxtaposition. The fact that they’re on sale makes it even funnier. Surely you realized that equating white supremacy and the confederate flag would polarize some people.

    Regardless of what side is right, I think it was just stupid to add the line in the first place. The content of the post was funny enough, let people draw their own conclusions as to its motivations.

  29. Stefan Jones says:

    Of course, if this item is cheap enough you can cut it in half and have a perfectly nice Obama flag.

    The rest can be used to pick up dog turds.

  30. anachronismo says:

    First of all Scott Bieser offered pretty much the best 4 paragraph run down on the war of northern aggression I have read in a while.

    I’m from Richmond, the capital of the confederacy. I dig the flag, I own several. I don’t like Obama. I am not a racist. And I love boingboing.

    So many things I don’t know where to begin. most of you have no clue what you are talking about when it comes to the civil war, but i guess that is a matter of perspective. Rebel Flag=Swastika is probably the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Might as well compare the U.S. flag to the swastika for the systematic slaughter of native americans. What’s the difference? Why does the south get all the blame for slavery, when africans, europeans, and northerners were all accomplices?

    The flag surely means different things to different people. Its unfortunate segregationists misused it but to simply right it off as a hate symbol is ignorant. Its is a symbol of heritage (and yes I have ancestors who were confederates) but it is also a symbol of the south itself, rebellion, and self governance.

    And if you’ve never seen a black southerner rock a confederate flag, then you obviously been too deep into Dixie.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      it is also a symbol of the south itself, rebellion, and self governance.

      Your self-governance was based on human slavery, to which you seem willing to turn a blind eye in your effort to romanticize your past. As for rebellion…for the last 140 years, it’s been a symbol for whining about a past that never existed. If that’s rebellion, it’s adolescent rebellion that you never moved beyond.

    • Xopher says:

      Its unfortunate segregationists misused it but to simply right it off as a hate symbol is ignorant.

      Oh, I agree. And it’s unfortunate that the KKK misused the words ‘I HATE N****RS, F****TS, AND JEWS’ as symbols of racism, homophobia, and religious prejudice. They mean SO much more than that.

  31. dderidex says:

    Your self-governance was based on human slavery, to which you seem willing to turn a blind eye in your effort to romanticize your past.

    Except, as pointed out up-thread, it wasn’t.

    There were several Union states that KEPT slaves. And were not “the enemy” during the Civil War. Slaves were simply not that uncommon in the North at the time. Indeed, as the country was founded, virtually ALL states had a significant number of slave owners in their leadership ranks – it came with being part of the British Empire.

    It’s fairly clear that, between the automation happening during the Industrial Revolution and overall initial glimmerings of a ‘middle class’ of entrepreneurs, that slavery was on the way out. It was being extinguished in one state after another as a matter of course, and the entire Confederacy would likely (even if they had successfully seceded) wound up ending the practice within another 50 years on their own.

    Whatever the casus belli, the war certainly WAS about states rights vs the Federal Government.

  32. Phrosty says:

    I live in southern Louisiana, and find the Confederate flag to be a dead giveaway to anyone who is a narrow-minded, prejudice redneck. Ask them if they’re racist and they’ll deny it (ask if they’re xenophobic, and you’ll receive a blank stare), spouting some pseudo-justification behind the “real” intentions of the Confederacy, but listen to them for 10 minutes and you’ll find otherwise.

  33. GoodOldBoy says:

    I think the flag is Perfect !
    Obama stated “Change”
    And the Confederate States of America were for Change !
    Hell Im a good ol boy and I voted for the man.
    America needs to give him a chance !
    Our congress needs to work “WITH” him !

  34. Phrosty says:

    Do you guys think this flag has anything to do with that Glenn Beck lady and that Rush Limbaugh thing calling Obama a racist? You know, so they juxtapose the president’s portrait next to a Dixie flag, which is already associated with racism and prejudice.

  35. SamLL says:

    Well, don’t take our words for it. Let’s see what the seceding states said about themselves . Here is an excerpt from the declaration of secession from Missouri:

    Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization.

    How about the Texas declaration:

    In all the non-slave-holding States, in violation of that good faith and comity which should exist between entirely distinct nations, the people have formed themselves into a great sectional party, now strong enough in numbers to control the affairs of each of those States, based upon an unnatural feeling of hostility to these Southern States and their beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery, proclaiming the debasing doctrine of equality of all men, irrespective of race or color– a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of Divine Law. They demand the abolition of negro slavery throughout the confederacy, the recognition of political equality between the white and negro races, and avow their determination to press on their crusade against us, so long as a negro slave remains in these States.

    Hmmmm.

  36. stinkape says:

    To all you fellow southerners that don’t like that flag: move north of the Mason-Dixon and you might change your mind. Regardless of your enlightened viewpoint and intellectual capacity, a large number of yankees will think you are stupid and talk funny. The thing is, after living on both sides of the border it became quickly evident that yankees are bigger racist than southerners.

    I have lived in the North, and the constant, subtle condescension I caught from co-workers for talkin’ slow and hillbilly made me move back (well the winters are what really made me do it). And yeah, I detected far more racism, especially after living in Chicago, which has to be one of the most segregated places I’ve ever seen. None of that changed my mind about the flag. I just can’t help but see it as a relic of an ugly past. The flag has a nuanced history, sure, but not an overly respectable one.

    My mountain ancestors didn’t care much about a war to preserve the livelihood of rich white plantation owners, and I still have no interest in flying that symbol.

  37. dbarak says:

    I think we need to get back to what’s important – Are you sure it’s vinyl? Sometimes vinyl is treated with lead to keep it soft.

  38. RedShirt77 says:

    **I happen to find the rebel flag a nice reminder of where I’m from and what it means for me to be an American. I understand that’s probably as foreign to everyone else as eating “grits”, but it’s where I’m from and that means something to me.**

    I love grits, bluegrass, bourbon, and stories about kudzu. On the other hand, the Stars and bars, all the monuments in richmond, and most states rights issues are about the south not liking that the fancy pants northerners tell them what they can and can’t do with their black people.

  39. Kibble says:

    @tdawwg,

    “Not to minimize the horrors of African and African-American slavery down South. But I hate it when the North gets a free pass in the human degradation and exploitation game: it’s so completely ahistorical.”

    I agree with your point. If there had been a flag symbolizing Northern “pride” in its use of child labor, and that flag was paired with Obama’s face, it would have about the same effect as this one.

    The people who talk today about how business should be free and markets should be free and government regulation is always bad are by no means entirely Northerners.

    To others who say that the Confederate flag does not represent white supremacy, instead it favors fill-in-the-blank, I can only say, maybe to YOU it does, but you don’t speak for everyone any more than I do.

    • Tdawwg says:

      Indeed, Kibble, but what’s most insidious is that no such flag is needed: we’ve effaced all that history (in the public mind) and we accept that big-business, pro-industry, screw-the-workers is the “normal” way to do things. The North won, and the political arrangements that that made possible are presented as necessary and obvious: there’s never much talk about how contingent those choices were, and how much they benefited a tiny segment of the population, wealthy elites.

      I find those tacit assumptions to be worse in their way than the blatant combatable-because-visible racism signified by the Confederate flag.

  40. nutbastard says:

    “No symbol has any inherent meaning”

    Yes, they do – the meaning that is ascribed to them at the moment of their conception is the inherent meaning. Any other meanings are subjective; the original meaning is definitive.

    • Brainspore says:

      Nutbastard: then we will never know the meaning of the swastika since the guy who originally conceived it lived in the Neolithic period (if not earlier). And since the cross predates Christianity by millenia your earlier statement about it having something to do with Christ is WAY off the mark.

  41. bcsizemo says:

    So far a few people have explained my feelings well, and if you haven’t read through the comments, I’m not rehashing them here…

    You know I’ve tried to think of some way of expressing my concern with the judgmental attitude with which many people here automatically go rebel flag = racist (or redneck, ect…). It’s no wonder this country is as fractured and broken as it is. I don’t drive around and think every person with an Obama sticker on there car is an idiot or a genius. That every person who has a rebel flag is a redneck lynching white supremacist. I mean really. Is that how everyone else here lives?

    Yeah I occasionally think the stereotypical thing about someone because they’ve done something that fits that bill. Everyone has, that’s why it’s called a stereotype. But I don’t make it a rule, or a way of life. I have heard racism described differently about the North and South. The South didn’t like blacks as a race. You may have black friends that you would call a friend and help out if they needed it. But, those “type” of people are trouble. The North didn’t like blacks on a personal level. We accept all races and backgrounds, but John at work is lazy and has an attitude. It’s probably because he’s black. How true that is, is certainly beyond me. I could only speak for the Southern side (which I have seen people like this, mostly older.) But now it’s more of a social dynamic cultural thing than a race thing.

    Give the US another 100 years and I bet race will have fallen pretty far on the social issue list.

  42. bcsizemo says:

    I actually also wondered something else…

    Since states control most public school curriculum I wonder what gets taught about the Civil war is different from the South to the North?

  43. Xopher says:

    nutbastard, you’re talking nonsense. That’s not how things work. So you think the inherent meaning of the swastika is “praise the sun”? And the symbolic meaning of the Holy Trinity, which derives from traditions of grouping sacred things in threes, which in turn derives from triangles written on grain storehouses, which triangles were stylized vulvas— how does your theory explain THAT?

    Symbols change meaning all the time. Words are symbols (though complex ones). A template is no longer a small temple. A gourmet is no longer a “little groom” (which meant a wine merchant’s assistant at the time).

    It is that mutability (more exactly, the fact that meaning occurs in the minds of those perceiving the symbol) that makes something a symbol. A picture of a tree cannot be a symbol of a tree because that’s an intrinsic association based on its appearance. It CAN be a symbol of any number of other things…but a symbols meaning is not inherent in the signifier, and the linkd to the signified is entirely in the minds of the observers.

  44. danlalan says:

    There is little doubt that had the southern states not seceded, slavery would not have been abolished as early as it was. Slavery was not why the north fought the south, it was maintenance of the Union. But the reason the south seceded in the first place was the election of a Republican, Lincoln. The only significant difference in the platform of the Republicans and the Northern Democrats at the time was not tariffs, but the fact that the Republican party had an explicitly anti-slavery plank as part of its formation 6 years earlier. Had Douglas, the “Northern Democrat” (who actually carried a slave state in the election) won the election there would likely have been no secessions, despite the fact that the tariff positions of the Republicans and the Northern Democrats were virtually identical. Those who wish to deny the importance of the issue of slavery in causing secession and therefore the war can do so, but it doesn’t withstand real scrutiny well.

  45. orwellian says:

    The Confederate states didn’t allow their residents to vote on secession. They also fired on a Union navy supply ship before Lincoln took office. Lincoln and the Republican party were free-staters, which means they wanted new states to be free of slavery. Part of the reason for this was abolition but it was also feared that slaveowners could get rich running plantations in the West while homesteaders were pushed out or went broke.

    Besides slavery, the Confederates were in favor of states-rights, something that had been a bone of contention since the 1830s. The Confederates, ironically, instituted income tax and the draft before the Union did and was much less states-rights than the Union. So they were slavers and stupid.

    The appeal for many is that they fought valiantly for the Lost Cause (slavery and all that) and almost all the good officers were on the Confederate side. Sadly, the flag had a big boost when desegregation started in the 1950s. Several states added it to their flag to protest Eisenhower and JFK sending in the army to keep people from killing schoolchildren.

    I’m a history buff and find the Civil War to be endlessly fascinating but think flying the Stars and Bars is stupid. If you’re racist, it’s like drawing a target on yourself (so, please, continue) and for non-racists it is too divisive a symbol to show. You can celebrate the bravery of Confederate soldiers without that symbol.

    Or, you can use it and look like a jerk.

  46. Xopher says:

    symbol’s not symbols
    link not linkd

  47. gantrim says:

    From my view (PA/NY), the real reason some Southerners fly the flag is not out of racism or regional pride, but because it makes them happy to watch apoplectic reactions from smug condescending Northerners (Northerners includes Southerners who act “Northern”) who like to point to the faults of others associated with their flag and forget all of the crimes associated with their own US flag which, at least at this point rival or surpass anything the confederacy ever did. Witness this thread.

    • danlalan says:

      Southerners fly the flag is not out of racism or regional pride, but because it makes them happy to watch apoplectic reactions from smug condescending Northerners who like to point to the faults of others associated with their flag and forget all of the crimes associated with their own US flag which, at least at this point rival or surpass anything the confederacy ever did.

      So displaying the stars and bars is an uber-subtle form of ultra-liberalism meant to either mock the slavish loyalty to, or encourage an awareness of, the numerous mistakes of modern corporate america through the ironic use of a symbol of defeated proponents of past injustice.

      Cool.

      I was totally fooled.

  48. Anonymous says:

    I totally want this flag, but my wife would flip. I support Obama and I’m proud of my Southern heritage. And no, I’m not a white supremacist. Every culture has parts of its history that are shameful. Keep in mind that at the time of the Revolution, slavery was legal and practiced in all thirteen colonies. Should we be offended by Betsy Ross’s flag? The victors write the history books, so of course the Union wrote themselves on the moral side of slavery. But that’s not what the Civil War or the Confederacy was all about. No Union soldier ever ran into a battlefield full of cannon fire yelling, “Free the slaves!”

  49. slywy says:

    My question today is, why a separate symbol for the south? Isn’t the Stars and Stripes the symbol of our nation? Why do we continue to insist on divisiveness?

  50. danlalan says:

    Why do we continue to insist on divisiveness?

    Why indeed.

  51. adamnvillani says:

    Look, I know that not everyone who flies the Confederate battle flag is a racist, but it’s complete revisionism to claim that the South did not fight the Civil War to preserve slavery. Note that that is not the same as the North fighting to abolish slavery, which it did not do. You can play semantic games and say that they fought for the *rights* of states… but the states’ right they were most concerned with was the right to buy and sell human beings as slaves. If you don’t believe me, just ask Alexander Stephens, the VP of the Confederacy:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornerstone_Speech

    “(Jefferson’s) ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. … Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner–stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and normal condition.”

  52. anachronismo says:

    Gantrim pretty much right. We johnny rebs still like to piss off yankees a bit. Don’t get me wrong I like ny and philly and what not but it is kind of like the rivalry between sports teams…

    As far as slavery is concerned I will concede that its preserveration was the goal of most confederetes ( minus robert e lee for one) but it wasn’t the only reason by any means.

  53. Ted8305 says:

    That’s what you do, that’s how you build an empire. We stole countries with the cunning use of flags! Yeah, just sail round the world and stick a flag in.

    “I claim India for Britain!” They go, “You can’t claim us, we live here! 500 million of us!” “Do you have a flag?”

  54. Brainspore says:

    I’m still waiting for the “Confederate Flag = Definite Bigot” people to provide an explanation as to why a dyed-in-the-wool racist would want Obama on their flag.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I would imagine that it was made by someone who wants to heal the past. Or someone with a great sense of irony. Or, most likely, someone in a sweatshop in China who randomly juxtaposed the images.

      • Brainspore says:

        I would imagine that it was made by someone who wants to heal the past.

        In my experience most bigots aren’t interested in healing the past. I’m not asking you to like the symbol (as I said I don’t care for it either), I’m just asking you to allow for the possibility that not everyone who does like it is a white supremacist.

        • Felton says:

          I don’t believe that everyone who likes the flag is a white supremacist, or is necessarily racist at all. I just think it’s important to acknowledge the terrible history it represents for many people, and anyone who would proudly display it needs to understand the strong feelings it brings up in a huge segment of the US population.

  55. Xopher says:

    Because you’re doomed, of course! (It’s a great book, btw. “The debutante squatted under the bridge” is a typical sample sentence. Or maybe that’s from her other book, The Well-Tempered Sentence.)

    • danlalan says:

      “The debutante squatted under the bridge”

      I “dated” her once, I think.

      • Xopher says:

        Heteros are so dirrrty!

        How about Esmerelda Luft? “Esmerelda Luft, who likes to stroke gargoyles, is a debutante.”

  56. Anonymous says:

    My grandfather and great grandfather fought for the CSA; both were wounded, captured at Vicksburg, released with the proviso they would not take up arms again; both did anyway. It cost my grandfather his leg. A great-great grandmother passed secret messages through the lines to the Confederates. So you can say I’m a Southerner.

    I’ve lived in the Deep South all my life and to the best of my knowledge have never met a member of the KKK. Perhaps thirty years ago, the KKK announced a huge rally-parade to be held in Jackson, Mississippi, where I live and was raising my family. The huge rally-parade consisted on two middle-aged to elderly people (one man and one woman, as I recall) carrying rectangular Confederate battle flags. The mostly white crowd lining the parade route booed and hissed and signaled “thumbs down” as the beleaguered Kluckers passed. Jackson’s last several mayors, police chiefs, and fire chiefs have all been African Americans. Their white immediate predecessors were racial progressives. One can’t go to any of the good restaurants in town without seeing interracial tables and families. Liberals (Mississippi Religious Leadership Conference, Jackson 2000) and conservatives (Mission Mississippi) work actively for racial harmony. For a number of years many ordinary African Americans showed a great deal of contempt for whites, but in recent years that has changed. “Have a blessed day,” said with a warm smile, is a frequent greeting I receive, whether it’s from the check-out clerk at Kroger’s or the cashier at BankPlus. The atmosphere has changed; but all is not well, not yet. The public schools were well integrated when my three daughters attended, but as the ratio of blacks to whites increased in some public schools from about 40/60 to greater than 60/40, or maybe even 80/20, a tipping point was reached, and those schools (though not all public schools) became 100 percent black. Many students score below grade level on achievement tests, but people are working diligently in many areas to turn things around. Usually a union supporter, I have reservations currently about the obstreperousness of teachers’ unions and, especially, teachers’ unrealistic expectations of functionally illiterate parents, working sometimes two and even three jobs, to help their children with homework. It’s silly, really.

    The Stars and Bars is a flag resembling somewhat the American flag, with only three stripes (two red, one white) and in the field of blue in the upper left corner, a circle of seven white stars. What is popularly regarded as the Confederate flag is actually the battle flag of the Army of Virginia. It is the familiar flag with white stars set on a blue St. Andrews Cross (X) on a red field. It was a square flag, not the rectangular one we ordinarily see. In recent years, a blue ribbon interracial committee was appointed to devise a new state flag without reference to any Confederate flag, one that all Mississippians could rally ‘round without reservation. The committee came up with an elegant design, but the voters of Mississippi rejected it. Most of the public opposition came from historians. Do I suspect an underlying racism on the part of some? You bet. Interestingly, an examination of the precinct vote in the Jackson area at least, showed very poor turn-outs in heavily African American precincts. I was amazed; but I’ve been told by black friends it was a nonissue in their community. I’m at a loss to explain this.

    The point is: In my view, the Civil War (or War for Southern Independence or War Between/Among the States, whatever)) was a huge debacle, the greatest in American history. We can debate its causes, but the results were disastrous for the entire United States, especially for the South. We barely noticed the Great Depression in many parts of the South, because we’d been in a depression since 1865. I don’t understand why Southerners, historians especially, continue to celebrate, even glorify, our own failings by picking out the least admiral five years in our history to symbolize our part of the US. Silliness abounds!

    My children, ages mid-thirties to mid-forties, are essentially color blind; their children, if possible, ever more so. Although Sunday morning may be the most segregated hour we experience, my church has adopted a significant number of young Sudanese men and a few women, much to our mutual delight. The church has sponsored scholarships and fundraisers for their benefit; some plan to return to the Sudan after college to make a difference there; some, to my relief, will remain in the US. Other churches have made similar progress. I see great hope for the future.

  57. ill lich says:

    Of course they can offer it for such a huge markdown– it probably cost them 10cents to make in China.

    Defending the Confederate flag as emblematic of “southern pride” and not racism reminds me of people who defend the Confederacy on the grounds that the Civil War was about “states rights” . . . well, yeah. . . states rights to LEGALIZE SLAVERY. It’s not like the Civil War was about liquor laws, taxes, or some border dispute.

    The South doesn’t have a monopoly on ignorance (there are plenty of “rednecks” up north, with different accents), but you don’t see Yankees with bumper stickers claiming “The North Will Kick Dixie’s Ass Again!” Any attempt to defend the South’s part in the Civil War, including the flag, only shows you’re not accepting blame for both the war and the issue that caused it, and that just tarnishes the image of the South more.

  58. TJJohn12 says:

    I’ll let Alexander Stephens, Vice-President of the Confederacy, make my case for me with his speech of 21 March 1861:

    “The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the “storm came and the wind blew.”

    “Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”

    Game. Set. Match.

    The war was over slavery. Joseph Glatthaar’s newest book does a great job of crunching the numbers. 1 of every 2 officers and enlisted men of the Army of Northern Virginia (whose flag appears above) either owned slaves themselves, came from a slaveholding family or lived in a slaveholding household. The war was over slavery. Th ANV fought for the right to own slaves under that flag. Slavery is evil. That flag is evil.

  59. Stefan Jones says:

    @Brainspore: It’s an alternative energy project. The juxtoposition of the images causes the flag to flap vigorously. It planted near a wind turbine it provides a continuous stream of high-velocity air.

  60. Tom says:

    Cheap Chinese picture frames now come with a picture of Obama instead of a random happy family.

    In Europe at least…

  61. stinkape says:

    I’m from a small town in the South and have immense Southern pride, but I won’t offer up a word of defense for the Confederate flag. It’s a tired, ugly symbol that needs to just die already. Not gonna happen any time soon though, I’m afraid.

  62. jimh says:

    I’m pissed off as hell about this.

  63. danlalan says:

    Wow. Talk about yer cognitive dissonance.

  64. Brainspore says:

    Mark, you’re about to catch a lot of hell from Southerners who don’t equate Confederate pride to white supremacy. Good luck.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      you’re about to catch a lot of hell from Southerners who don’t equate Confederate pride to white supremacy.

      Maybe we could set them up on a blind date with some Germans who don’t equate the Third Reich with the Holocaust.

      The Dukes of Hazzard is not a documentary film series.

      • Brainspore says:

        Antinous, I’m no fan of the Confederacy either. However CIVIL WAR = FIGHT ABOUT SLAVERY is a gross oversimplification and I suspect you know it.

        Symbols carry different meanings for different people. For you or I or most people of color it’s not surprising that the flag might be seen as a symbol of white supremacy, but that doesn’t mean it carries that meaning for everyone. If it did, I doubt anyone would have made that flag to begin with.

        I completely agree with the position that the Confederate flag has no place on public buildings because a large percentage of the population sees it as a symbol of hate and discrimination. But if a Southern Obama fan wants to hang this godawful thing in his living room I’m not going to assume he’s a closet Nazi based on his admiration of the flag alone.

    • mn_camera says:

      The Stars and Bars really ought to be seen as the American equivalent to the swastika at this point.

      What’s to be proud of in taking up arms against your countrymen in order to be able to own other human beings?

    • chascates says:

      Right. It’s all about heritage. The heritage of bigotry.

    • danlalan says:

      Brainspore, I’m not sure there’s much of a yeehaw-southern-redneck-shotgun-rack-in-the-pickup segment of the BB readership. I could be wrong tho….

    • Ted8305 says:

      Yeah, what does the Confederate navy jack flag have to do with white supremacy? Way to propagate negative stereotypes, Mark.

  65. nico_forgot says:

    @ted8305 – “no flag no country!”

    brilliant :)

    yes, the civil war was war about states’ rights. with those rights the southern states wished to maintain its heritage and historical use of slavery. rights and freedoms aren’t synonyms any more than having a right equates to being right.

  66. Anonymous says:

    In my sociology class we learned that most societies give up slavery at about the time of their industrial revolution.

    Essentially, labor under mass industrial production produces enough surplus that it becomes far more expensive to enslave someone than to pay them a living wage.

    Also, since slavery is essentially a system designed to get labor for far less than the market value, slave owners suffered from the “economic calculation problem” – slavery was OK for unsophisticated agriculture of the day, but for skilled industrial labor slavery leads extreme misallocation of human resources (since the slave owner does not have a market price for labor, they can’t make the kinds of cost/benefit analysis necessary to maximize utility). Ending slavery is most likely a prerequisite for a more advanced industrial capitalist society.

    Which means the post-modern hippy folks who want to see a “return to the earth” where we abandon industrial production and return to what is essentially a far less prosperous agrarian society, are the people we should be condemning! A confederate flag is, in reality, an empty symbol… where as, there are many people who support an antiquated economic and social system (even if they don’t quite understand the consequences) that will makes the return of slavery inevitable!

  67. gantrim says:

    anachronismo – that’s basically it. Its like a sports rivalry. Its fun to watch the other side go crazy. I would say this is the majority of it. I am sure there are some people who fly the flag to return to a white America or what not, but no one takes those people seriously except themselves.

    As for the merits and all, it just plain obviously that slavery was either the primary reason or one of the primary reasons for Southern secession, even if the other reasons may have some actual legitimacy. Regardless, that doesn’t make the North right in all they did: introducing total war scorched earth (March to Atlanta), the shredding of the constitution (abolition of habeas corpus) , the instituting of slavery in the North (the draft is slavery, especially when the rich could just by out), the subsequent use of black soldiers to kill Indians, etc… Lincoln entertained the idea to send the freed slaves back to Africa (Liberia) and also introduced an Amendment to make slavery permanent to avoid the war in the first place.

    The Civil War is flat out too complex to discuss which side was right or wrong. Both sides were right on things and wrong on others. But, back to the point at hand, the flag waving has little to do with merit based positions. Its about regional antagonism and rah rah ing for the locals against the other side.

  68. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    Hey Cognitive Dissonance,

    Danlalan is bad mouthin’ you!

  69. FoetusNail says:

    Please allow me to re-post this excerpt from a speech, along with a little of my own history. That anyone would still argue this point is understandable, but none the less ridiculous.

    First, the Civil War was about States’ rights, the right of slave holding states to continue to hold human beings as chattel. Sorry, but I’m from the South, have family members that fought in that nightmare and it’s rumored one of the uncles murdered a black man in broad daylight in the middle of town without being arrested. Yeah, it was about States’ rights.

    Someone in the previous thread stated, “War is always based in economics.”

    Mostly true, I would agree. And slaves being the most valuable objects in the south, their importation restricted, and the southern economy dependent upon their labor somehow fails to qualify as an economic issue worthy of war?

    Once again that war was about slavery, without slavery there would not have been an economic issue worth risking everything. And yes, that economic issue was preserved by States’ rights. Slavery was at the root of the southern economy and their need to preserve their version of States’ rights.

    The following is from a speech by Henry Clay on abolitionist petitions in the Senate, February 7, 1839, in Swain, The Life and Speeches of Henry Clay, 2:398, 410

    With them [abolitionists] the right of property is nothing; the deficiency of the powers of the general government is nothing; the acknowledged and incontestable powers of the States are nothing; a civil war, a dissolution of the Union, and the overthrow of a government in which are concentrated the fondest hopes of the civilized world, are nothing. A single idea has taken possession of their minds, and onward they pursue it, overlooking all barriers, and regardless of all consequences…

    A third impediment to immediate abolition is to be found in the immense amount of capital which is invested in slave property. The total number of slaves in the United States, according to the last enumeration of the population, was a little upwards of two millions. Assuming their increase at a ratio, which it probably is, of five per cent. per annum, their present number would be three millions. The average value of slaves at this time is stated by persons well informed to be as high as five hundred dollars each. To be certainly within the mark, let us suppose that it is only four hundred dollars. The total value, then, by that estimate, of the slave property in the United States, is twelve hundred millions of dollars. This property is diffused throughout all classes and conditions of society. It is owned by widows and orphans, by the aged and infirm, as well as the sound and vigorous. It is the subject of mortgages, deeds of trust, and family settlements. It has been made the basis of numerous debts contracted upon its faith, and is the sole reliance, in many instances, of creditors within and without the slave States, for the payment of debts due to them. And now it is rashly proposed, by a single fiat of legislation, to annihilate this immense amount of property! To annihilate it without indemnity and without compensation to its owners! Does any considerate man believe it to be possible to effect such an object without convulsion, revolution, and bloodshed? I know that there is a visionary dogma, which holds that negro slaves cannot be the subject of property.I shall not dwell long on this speculative abstraction. That is property which the law declares to be property.

    I was not born in the South, but of the south. My Grandmothers sent The Flag and a box of soil to my mother, who placed my newborn feet in the soil and The Flag under my pillow. When The Flag was finally taken down in much of the South, my grandmother looked at me and asked, what are they doing to our flag? Almost every woman in my family until the last generation was a member of the Daughters of the Confederacy. I was taught in the womb that slavery had nothing to do with the Northern War of Aggression. Coming to believe slavery was the biggest single cause of that war was not easy; I cannot so easily go back.

    Now, as far as those who take the position that the Civil War was not about slavery, but States’ rights not being racists, all I can say is the only ones I’ve ever heard make that claim are white, and I usually get the impression they are racists. The Klan will tell you it was about States’ rights too. So, please pardon those of us that make that assumption.

  70. Jason says:

    Oh come on. You’re a patriot and you don’t know how to properly fold the flag? Even I, a filthy liberal, know how to fold it.

  71. Erin says:

    Why are we assuming this is racist? Looks more like mashup art to me. The combo of a man who triumphed over racism + an old-school symbol of racism. I don’t get why anyone’s not talking about that. For the record, I’m am anti-Confederate flag and pro-Obama.

  72. Church says:

    Infringement suit in five, four, three…

  73. Daemon says:

    The great thing about symbols is that the same one (like this flag) can mean totally different things to different groups of people.

    To some, it’s a symbol of racism, etc.
    To others, it’s a symbol of regional pride.

    Personally, I associate the confederate flag with the Dukes of Hazzard.

  74. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think I can consider accepting the idea that it is a sign of untainted “regional pride” when I see a southern black man waving it in honor of his “southern heritage”.

  75. Jason says:

    Looks like the database server for the site is overloaded. MySQL error: Too many connections. Maybe they shouldn’t use osCommerce.

  76. The Life Of Bryan says:

    My favorite thing about the Confederate flag is that it is so often displayed by uber-jingoistic, hyper-patriotic types that utterly fail to see the irony.

  77. bcsizemo says:

    I wasn’t aware that in my Southern heritage that we systematically rounded up large groups of people and gassed them… or invaded other countries…

    I happen to find the rebel flag a nice reminder of where I’m from and what it means for me to be an American. I understand that’s probably as foreign to everyone else as eating “grits”, but it’s where I’m from and that means something to me.

    • Felton says:

      I wasn’t aware that in my Southern heritage that we systematically rounded up large groups of people and gassed them… or invaded other countries…

      Slavery, lynchings and racial segregation are so much better.

  78. Felton says:

    I suppose I’m technically southern, but I can’t stand that flag. I’m so curious to see how many BB readers will defend it.

  79. nutbastard says:

    @Xopher

    …except that this particular symbol isn’t one that is co-opted from another, archaic meaning. it was generated as a unique symbol with a specific meaning, for the express purpose of being a unique symbol with a specific meaning.

    things like swastikas and trinities are so basic in shape that of course many meanings have been assigned to them over long periods of time by many different peoples. this is not so with the confederate flag. it’s a complex arrangement of shapes and colors, unlikely to ever have existed prior.

    because it is completely unique and was conceived for the express purpose of being a clearly defined symbol, it’s foolish to say ‘well, they had slaves, so that’s, like, a slavery flag’.

    if there’s anything to be offended about in the confederate flag, why not the British flag? all things being equal, a much larger number of atrocities have occurred under THAT flag. Yet I dont see anyone arguing that it’s a symbol of hate or in promotion of slavery or imperialism. why?

    look, anyone can subjectively declare and argue that something represents something which it in fact does not – just because they feel that way?

    what’s the point in arguing over feelings?

    • danlalan says:

      Actually, the stars and bars are a modified form of the St Andrews cross, which in turn was taken from pagan symbols from preliterate Europe. It’s still just a symbol, and no symbol has inherent meaning.

      Symbols like the British flag represent countries that still exist as political entities and therefore represent that entity in its current form as well as all representing the past of the country.

      This is not true of the stars and bars. The political entity it represented was short lived, associated with a relatively simple set of values and a limited history, and is dead. Except for the revivals the symbol experienced when associated with opposition to civil rights in the south, the formal ideals associated with it were fixed at the destruction of that political entity, and like it or not those will forever prominently include slavery.

      • Xopher says:

        Good point danlalan. (Btw, the flag under discussion is the Confederate Battle Flag; the Stars and Bars is actually this flag, which is quite different and probably wouldn’t cause any discomfort if it were flown today.)

        But your point is excellent: the Confederate Battle Flag represents an extinct attempt at a nation, one founded on the basest of principles, and a more modern ideology which is reprehensible at best, and no repetition of “but I just mean Southern Pride when *I* fly it” will cancel half a line of that history, nor all your* tears wash out a word of it.
        ___
        *people who fly it, not danlalan.

  80. phisrow says:

    @bcsizemo: *cough* “our peculiar institution” *cough*

  81. Avram / Moderator says:

    Ever since discovering that there’s a Ruso-Israeli neo-Nazi movement nothing like this surprises me anymore.

  82. anachronismo says:

    Gantrim pretty much right. We johnny rebs still like to piss off yankees a bit. Don’t get me wrong I like ny and philly and what not but it is kind of like the rivalry between sports teams…

    As far as slavery is concerned I will concede that its preserveration was the goal of most confederetes ( minus robert e lee for one) but it wasn’t the only reason by any means.