The Confederate "Rebel" Flag and it's Meaning and Usage

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For most Americans this flag means something, but it seems to mean a lot of different things to different people. People also have very varying opinions on how it should be used. I started to think about this again when someone on the radio was complaining how the Georgia state flag was changed from this to this a few years back. My question is pretty basic: What do you think about it and how should it be used?

I personally have mixed feelings on the Battle Flag. I have lived in Georgia all of my life and am proud of where I come from; I love the south. I think that the Battle Flag is a good representation of a piece of Southern history. However, thats the it, its a piece of Southern history. The focus a lot of Southerners put on the flag because its "history" annoys me greatly as its a fairly small piece of history, and frankly not exactly a shining piece of it either. As much as I like to Romanticize the people in it, the Confederates were traitors, and they were traitors for a really shitty cause.

I don't think the flag is inherently racist, but it's certainly not making things up to say it is. Like any other symbol it means what people think it means, and for the past 150 years, its been used by racists supporting racist policies. Is it a coincidence that states started adopting Confederate battle flags into state flags right after the Civil Rights movement started to get into swing? I think not.

TL;DRI'm starting to ramble, basically I respect the flag, but I think it's used for less then honorable reasons much of the time and don't particularly care for it.

Shock and Awe:

For most Americans this flag means something, but it seems to mean a lot of different things to different people. People also have very varying opinions on how it should be used. I started to think about this again when someone on the radio was complaining how the Georgia state flag was changed from this to this a few years back. My question is pretty basic: What do you think about it and how should it be used?

I personally have mixed feelings on the Battle Flag. I have lived in Georgia all of my life and am proud of where I come from; I love the south. I think that the Battle Flag is a good representation of a piece of Southern history. However, thats the it, its a piece of Southern history. The focus a lot of Southerners put on the flag because its "history" annoys me greatly as its a fairly small piece of history, and frankly not exactly a shining piece of it either. As much as I like to Romanticize the people in it, the Confederates were traitors, and they were traitors for a really shitty cause.

I don't think the flag is inherently racist, but it's certainly not making things up to say it is. Like any other symbol it means what people think it means, and for the past 150 years, its been used by racists supporting racist policies. Is it a coincidence that states started adopting Confederate battle flags into state flags right after the Civil Rights movement started to get into swing? I think not.

TL;DRI'm starting to ramble, basically I respect the flag, but I think it's used for less then honorable reasons much of the time and don't particularly care for it.

It is strange how people take things different ways. This flag reminds me of the first time I had seen it actually displayed on the wall at my friends home. It was on the wall in his bedroom, as well as his framed great gandfathers uniform. According to his family, the war was not about slavery it was about economic supression. The abolition of slavery was an unintended consequence that was only done in order to win, not because they really wanted to do so. Some were actually allowed to keep their slaves after the war if they fought for the union. I am not sure how him displaying the flag and the confederate uniform can be considered " racist" considering the guy is black. There is no "myth" of the black confederates, they are real.
http://blackconfederates.blogspot.com/
http://www.stonewallbrigade.com/articles_black_confeds.html
This guy pretty much states how the southern black confederates view this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8hPo6mYnks

I think that the confederate flag is a symbol of racism and bigotry. If someone walks in wearing a confederate flag, I automatically assume they are a racist/white supremacist. Basically, it means the same thing as a burning cross to me.

BreakfastMan:
I think that the confederate flag is a symbol of racism and bigotry. If someone walks in wearing a confederate flag, I automatically assume they are a racist/white supremacist. Basically, it means the same thing as a burning cross to me.

So if it is a black man in a confederate uniform waving it around they are a white supremacist? seriously? This guy disagrees with being taken as such.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8hPo6mYnks
So does my friend and his family.

Personally I wanna get one for my car before I go back to New York for vacation. The south has been my home for the past 13 years and I prefer it compared to where I grew up. The flag itself is a symbol of the south and symbols change their meaning over time. The swastika was a symbol in some asian religions before Hitler took it and changed the meaning to fascism.

BreakfastMan:
I think that the confederate flag is a symbol of racism and bigotry. If someone walks in wearing a confederate flag, I automatically assume they are a racist/white supremacist. Basically, it means the same thing as a burning cross to me.

The problem here is you're generalizing, sure some people use it that way and are racists but to me it means where I'm from, no different than someone flying an american flag or the flag of the country they came from.

Seems like it is a reminder of Southern chivalry and dedication to Southern values. It has changed over time. A normal Southern white male would be embarrassed to be called racist and does not see that flat in that manner, even if it initially included that vile quality.

But it also included honor, courage, the willingness to fight, kill and die for home, liberty (for his kind at the time, now his kind includes all USA country folk) country and G-d.

I've read that actual combat members are disproportionately represented by southern white males. If this flag inspires them, then it is a good thing and we owe it some reverence.

Shock and Awe:

What do you think about it and how should it be used?

I wouldn't say it's racist per se, but tbh I don't understand how it's not seen as more unacceptable given the historical and racist connotations attached to it, especially since the civil rights movement.

Iunno - instinctively I'd view the confederate flag with some.. caution. It kind of suggests out and out racism at worst, and a kind of aggressively romantic airbrushing of history at best.
I would not be sorry to see it disappear from popular usage entirely, in much the same way that the flags of other unpleasant causes have done.

In a lot of cases that attitude is probably unfair and I imagine a lot of Southerners think of it in the same way I'd look at, say, a Welsh flag.
But there's no getting away from the fact that the confederate one has a lot more baggage than most any other flag that considered acceptable for public display!

That said, much of the Commonwealth still features elements of our flag and likes the queen, which is just as weird given the history there. The union flag has also presided over very nasty things but I have less of an objection to that, so I'm really not sure.

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Edit:

Just though of the closest comparison, in my eyes at least.

It kind of reminds me of the way revisionists in Japan still use the Rising Sun flag. To them, it may seem like a reminder of glory, comradeship, honour, 'the good old days', whatever.

But to most Westerners (and other Asians for that matter), it reminds us of Nanking, Unit 731, and hunger marches, and the worst of nationalist fervour.
The continued use of a tarnished symbol suggests either dismissal of, or apologism for, heinous acts.

I'm fine with it. When talking about the Confederate flag, you usually get quite a few Southerners sputtering about how it doesn't represent slavery or racism and how it actually represents fighting for one's home, southern pride, or "resisting northern aggression". The fact that they go out of their way to try to divorce themselves and the flag from slavery and racism tells me that they understand that those two things are wrong. I'm not going to get on their shit because they have a different interpretation of a flag than I do.

It can mean different things to different people.

Personally, whenever a person actually parades that flag around, I automatically think they're as a racist who's divorced from reality. It's like a combination of when I see someone wear a Che Guevara shirt and a piece of clothing with a swastika on it.

OneCatch :

In a lot of cases that attitude is probably unfair and I imagine a lot of Southerners think of it in the same way I'd look at, say, a Welsh flag.
But there's no getting away from the fact that the confederate one has a lot more baggage than most any other flag that considered acceptable for public display!

You've managed to express what I was thinking in a much more eloquent manner. If you're a southerner, you may be proud of the confederate flag, but to anyone who's not a southerner and who's familiar with the causes the flag has been associated with, the flag has some pretty nasty connotations.

EDIT: The edit is an even better comparison.

Shock and Awe:
snip

Let me guess.........................The reason this thread exist is because of that Brad Paisley/LL Cool J song, right??

As for my stance on the "confederate flag", I outlined that on the review page for "42" because Movie Bob brought it up.

So, one of the biggest compaints seems to be him defending the so Called "Confederate Flag" because it is a symbol of the south, which......it kind of is. But the reason everyone seems to tie it to Racism is a) a simplistic view of the Civil War being over Slavery, which while one of the reasons, was FAR from the only one and b) Just like the Nazis hijacked the Swastika for thier own evil dispite it originally having other meanings, the KKK stole the "Confederate" flag for thier own organization.

As for the Flag itself, I personally wouldnt bother with it. To me, it just looks ugly. I mean, look at it:

image

Just doesnt seem that interesting to me.
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Oh, Im sorry. Were you expecting this one:
image

No, While that is what most people refer to as the "Confederate Flag" or the "Southern Flag", that is ACTUALLY the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, the army commanded by Robert E. Lee. Which is why everyone down there uses it. Lee was and is still now a Hero to the South. This is also the reason that the KKK hijacked the flag (which is ironic since Lee hated slavery and believed it should be abolished). Personally, and this may be just because I live in the Midwest, I have never met anyone who believes the flag to be racist. Having a rebel attitude, yeah. But not racist.

Here in the Midwest, its seen as a sign of being a rebel. Not even really a rebel against the government, just being rebellious in general. The only way you would get called racist is if you were flying it at a KKK rally. Of course, you would still do good to fly the REAL American flag (and NEVER speak ill of it unless you want to have your ass tanned).

Personally, I am going to have a Confederate flag.......And an Afrika Corp flag.........and others. Because of a thing I will be having in my home when I am older. I will have a photo of my favorite generals from all time, and thier unit flag (or unit patch, if they are too new for a unit flag or just didnt have one). They will be:
6) General George S. Patton and the US 3rd Army
5) General Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Supreme Allied Army
4) FieldMarshell Erwin Rommel and the Afrika Korp/7th Panzer
3) General William T. Sherman and the Army of the Tennessee
2) General Norman "Stormin' Norman" Schwarzkopf and 1st Corp
1) General Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia.

OneCatch :

Shock and Awe:

What do you think about it and how should it be used?

I wouldn't say it's racist per se, but tbh I don't understand how it's not seen as more unacceptable given the historical and racist connotations attached to it, especially since the civil rights movement.

Iunno - instinctively I'd view the confederate flag with some.. caution. It kind of suggests out and out racism at worst, and a kind of aggressively romantic airbrushing of history at best.
I would not be sorry to see it disappear from popular usage entirely, in much the same way that the flags of other unpleasant causes have done.

In a lot of cases that attitude is probably unfair and I imagine a lot of Southerners think of it in the same way I'd look at, say, a Welsh flag.
But there's no getting away from the fact that the confederate one has a lot more baggage than most any other flag that considered acceptable for public display!

That said, much of the Commonwealth still features elements of our flag and likes the queen, which is just as weird given the history there. The union flag has also presided over very nasty things but I have less of an objection to that, so I'm really not sure.

------------------------------
Edit:

Just though of the closest comparison, in my eyes at least.

It kind of reminds me of the way revisionists in Japan still use the Rising Sun flag. To them, it may seem like a reminder of glory, comradeship, honour, 'the good old days', whatever.

But to most Westerners (and other Asians for that matter), it reminds us of Nanking, Unit 731, and hunger marches, and the worst of nationalist fervour.
The continued use of a tarnished symbol suggests either dismissal of, or apologism for, heinous acts.

I have to strongly disagree with the continuation of using a " tarnished" symbol being a dismissal at all, more of a reclaimation. Take the swastika, for example, not only is it a sacred symbol to ancient asian cultures, it is Also a sacred symbol to ancient cultures in the Americas.
image
In my culture, it represents the sacred migrations of mankind vital to our survival as well as the great movements of the earth. We are not going to simply abandon it because some creepy cruel guy used it as a symbol for his army and destruction. Of course not, it did not belong to him to begin with.

Rather than allow these people who did cruel things to "tarnish" anything, you take that as an opportunity to educate them as to what it really means. You reclaim and turn evil to good by expanding understanding and compassion for one another. That is the path to heal and change these things, not hold bad feelings towards things that were not responsible for the actions of evil men.

For me it is a joke. When most people see that flag they see the Confederacy which is in spite of the fact that the flag was never used to represent the CSA. Instead, the flag that normally referred to as the "Confederate Flag" is one of the flags of the Confederate Navy and was used by only a handful of Army units. Basically the flag is a symbol of a false national memory.

How should it be used? Any way you want. It is a symbol. Value it for its historical connotations. If you look at my "library" I have Totenkopfs, Siegrunes, Swastikas, and on (most are not reproductions). I even have an original Hitler Youth dagger and a copy of Mein Kampf signed by Adolf Hitler (before anyone asks, they were gifts from a departed friend who did not have any children or any relatives worth mentioning and he was a major collector). To this day I still take my K98k (and occasionally even my milsurp ammo) out to the range and shoot it without feeling even the slightest hesitation. Why? Because my displaying or using Nazi equipment does not make me a Nazi any more than my use of interwar-ww2 Mosin Nagants and my owning a copy of "Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung" make me a Communist.

People get too bent out of shape over such little things. I have a Confederate Naval Flag. It is sitting in a box somewhere back home. Would I display it if I had room? Sure. Would I go out of my way to display it? No (someone who cares more about southern history might feel differently). Would I display it in my living room rather than my spare bedroom? Maybe. If I had a flag pole would I fly it outside? No. The Stars and Stripes go up first and followed by the Lone Star Flag.

Lil devils x:

OneCatch :

I have to strongly disagree with the continuation of using a " tarnished" symbol being a dismissal at all, more of a reclaimation. Take the swastika, for example, not only is it a sacred symbol to ancient asian cultures, it is ALSo a sacrd symbol to ancient cultures in the Americas.
image
In my culture, it represents the sacred migrations of mankind vital to our survival as well as the great movements of the earth. We are not going to simply abandon it because some creepy cruel guy used it as a symbol for his army and destruction. Of course not, it did not belong to him to begin with.

Rather than allow these people who did cruel things to "tarnish" anything, you take that as an opportunity to educate them as to what it really means. You reclaim and turn evil to good by expanding understanding and compassion for one another. That is the raod to heal and change these things, not hold bad feelings towards things that were not responsible for the actions of evil men.

Ok, I'll concede that you don't need to give up on it 'entirely under any circumstances', and the reclamation in the way you describe is entirely unobjectionable in my eyes.

But I would say that this is a little different because the swastika was usurped from something entirely and irrevocably different - there's not even a tenuous social, political or cultural connection between Hitler and ancient Mesoamerica for example.

The same isn't true of the confederacy flag because it's usage today is directly descended from it's more unpleasant uses.

A situation more comparable to the confederacy flag debate, in my eyes, would be a center-right party in Europe with nationalist tendencies (say, UKIP) trying to 'reclaim' the swastika, claiming that it was just a symbol.

Under those circumstances the protestation that they aren't fascist-affiliated and should be free to use the swastika isn't going to be nearly as effective.

farson135:
For me it is a joke. When most people see that flag they see the Confederacy which is in spite of the fact that the flag was never used to represent the CSA. Instead, the flag that normally referred to as the "Confederate Flag" is one of the flags of the Confederate Navy and was used by only a handful of Army units. Basically the flag is a symbol of a false national memory.

How should it be used? Any way you want. It is a symbol. Value it for its historical connotations. If you look at my "library" I have Totenkopfs, Siegrunes, Swastikas, and on (most are not reproductions). I even have an original Hitler Youth dagger and a copy of Mein Kampf signed by Adolf Hitler (before anyone asks, they were gifts from a departed friend who did not have any children or any relatives worth mentioning and he was a major collector). To this day I still take my K98k (and occasionally even my milsurp ammo) out to the range and shoot it without feeling even the slightest hesitation. Why? Because my displaying or using Nazi equipment does not make me a Nazi any more than my use of interwar-ww2 Mosin Nagants and my owning a copy of "Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung" make me a Communist.

People get too bent out of shape over such little things. I have a Confederate Naval Flag. It is sitting in a box somewhere back home. Would I display it if I had room? Sure. Would I go out of my way to display it? No (someone who cares more about southern history might feel differently). Would I display it in my living room rather than my spare bedroom? Maybe. If I had a flag pole would I fly it outside? No. The Stars and Stripes go up first and followed by the Lone Star Flag.

From what I have found, it is the black confederates that are more protective of their flags and history than most others in the south. Most white guys I know are more concerned about offending someone, whereas those with black confederate history come across as angry that they feel their heritage has been stripped from them. They feel they have been wronged by the racist attachments to their past and that they should somehow be shamed from their family history. If they wish to reclaim their history and be proud of where they came from, they should be allowed to do so, and I don't see why anyone would be offended by that.

How should it be used?By southerns of course. And race doesnt really matter. As you see here...

It merely represents people from the states that wave it.

OneCatch :

Lil devils x:

OneCatch :

I have to strongly disagree with the continuation of using a " tarnished" symbol being a dismissal at all, more of a reclaimation. Take the swastika, for example, not only is it a sacred symbol to ancient asian cultures, it is ALSo a sacrd symbol to ancient cultures in the Americas.
image
In my culture, it represents the sacred migrations of mankind vital to our survival as well as the great movements of the earth. We are not going to simply abandon it because some creepy cruel guy used it as a symbol for his army and destruction. Of course not, it did not belong to him to begin with.

Rather than allow these people who did cruel things to "tarnish" anything, you take that as an opportunity to educate them as to what it really means. You reclaim and turn evil to good by expanding understanding and compassion for one another. That is the raod to heal and change these things, not hold bad feelings towards things that were not responsible for the actions of evil men.

Ok, I'll concede that you don't need to give up on it 'entirely under any circumstances', and the reclamation in the way you describe is entirely unobjectionable in my eyes.

But I would say that this is a little different because the swastika was usurped from something entirely and irrevocably different - there's not even a tenuous social, political or cultural connection between Hitler and ancient Mesoamerica for example.

The same isn't true of the confederacy flag because it's usage today is directly descended from it's more unpleasant uses.

A situation more comparable to the confederacy flag debate, in my eyes, would be a center-right party in Europe with nationalist tendencies (say, UKIP) trying to 'reclaim' the swastika, claiming that it was just a symbol.

Under those circumstances the protestation that they aren't fascist-affiliated and should be free to use the swastika isn't going to be nearly as effective.

That is the thing though, the North had no intention of freeing the slaves and also many exceptions were allowed to have slaves after the war. That is what is often misunderstood. Lincoln addressed this directly: "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so."-Abraham Lincoln Inaugural Address, 4 March 1861

It was an unintended consequence of the war, and a very good strategic move for the North to be able to secure a win, but not their intention for the result of the war. That was not what they were trying to accomplish. This is more of a gray area rather than a "good vs bad". It is good that it was abolished, but that doesn't make the North any more chivalrous with their intentions.

I get that it means different things to different people, but I personally feel like it's unnecessarily divisive. "Rebel flag," "battle flag," these terms to me say that there is some resentment toward the union going on. People can feel however they want about what the federal government is doing, but the fact is we are one nation united. I find it rather off-putting that so many so highly regard a symbol that--if not specifically slavery--is closely linked with rebellion, division, and general resentment toward other fellow Americans. There are many things that make up the American spirit, but "fuck you all we'll do as we please" isn't one I find very compelling.

Shadowstar38:
-snip-

Just a little rule of thumb in arguments like this: Just because you can point to a couple of black people who don't mind something that is pretty controversial doesn't mean that is an accurate representation of the whole of any group. It's just not very helpful, just as saying "Well, my black friend..." isn't very helpful in discussions about using the n-word. Because first of all, we're receiving these sentiments secondhand through you and inevitably your description of their opinion will be simplified and paraphrased. And second of all, even if your story is completely correct, it's impossible to apply that to the whole of black people because your friend is not an accurate representation of ALL black people.

If you had some statistics on how black people feel about the confederate flag then that might be useful. But finding a couple of pictures of guys who are wearing it completely taken out of context isn't doing anything to help your case.

Lil devils x:

BreakfastMan:
I think that the confederate flag is a symbol of racism and bigotry. If someone walks in wearing a confederate flag, I automatically assume they are a racist/white supremacist. Basically, it means the same thing as a burning cross to me.

So if it is a black man in a confederate uniform waving it around they are a white supremacist? seriously? This guy disagrees with being taken as such.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8hPo6mYnks
So does my friend and his family.

Um... Not my point. I didn't that they were racist, and said that it makes me think they are racist.

Xan Krieger:
The problem here is you're generalizing, sure some people use it that way and are racists but to me it means where I'm from, no different than someone flying an american flag or the flag of the country they came from.

You have to recognize, however, that by using the flag you are using a symbol that is tainted as hell with unfortunate implications and hateful alternative meanings. It is like the swastika. Yes, it can mean good luck and other stuff, but it is also the symbol of an oppressive regime that executed millions, and is still a symbol of hatred and violence to many.

Lilani:
I get that it means different things to different people, but I personally feel like it's unnecessarily divisive. "Rebel flag," "battle flag," these terms to me say that there is some resentment toward the union going on. People can feel however they want about what the federal government is doing, but the fact is we are one nation united. I find it rather off-putting that so many so highly regard a symbol that--if not specifically slavery--is closely linked with rebellion, division, and general resentment toward other fellow Americans. There are many things that make up the American spirit, but "fuck you all we'll do as we please" isn't one I find very compelling.

Shadowstar38:
-snip-

Just a little rule of thumb in arguments like this: Just because you can point to a couple of black people who don't mind something that is pretty controversial doesn't mean that is an accurate representation of the whole of any group. It's just not very helpful, just as saying "Well, my black friend..." isn't very helpful in discussions about using the n-word. Because first of all, we're receiving these sentiments secondhand through you and inevitably your description of their opinion will be simplified and paraphrased. And second of all, even if your story is completely correct, it's impossible to apply that to the whole of black people because your friend is not an accurate representation of ALL black people.

If you had some statistics on how black people feel about the confederate flag then that might be useful. But finding a couple of pictures of guys who are wearing it completely taken out of context isn't doing anything to help your case.

Saying " my black friend" does actually mean something if you live in a predominantly black neighborhood and that this was the general view of most living there, or you actually hang out with many people of that culture. I do feel that people can speak of other cultures without actually being a part of them and accurately describe what they deal with otherwise, being a Hopi living among everyone else without another Hopi to be seen everywhere I go, I would not be allowed to speak of any culture since I am not " one of them".

Just because I am not white or black doesn't mean I cannot make an observation living among them. Yes, I can make a comment about how people in " da grove" throw the N word around and what it means to them as well as talk about how my tribe views the swastika. If this is what you have lived, experienced, it does not make that experience any less " helpful" than one of their own race. Just because you are discussing a subject in a room full of white people does not mean that is where you grew up.

BreakfastMan:

Lil devils x:

BreakfastMan:
I think that the confederate flag is a symbol of racism and bigotry. If someone walks in wearing a confederate flag, I automatically assume they are a racist/white supremacist. Basically, it means the same thing as a burning cross to me.

So if it is a black man in a confederate uniform waving it around they are a white supremacist? seriously? This guy disagrees with being taken as such.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8hPo6mYnks
So does my friend and his family.

Um... Not my point. I didn't that they were racist, and said that it makes me think they are racist.

Xan Krieger:
The problem here is you're generalizing, sure some people use it that way and are racists but to me it means where I'm from, no different than someone flying an american flag or the flag of the country they came from.

You have to recognize, however, that by using the flag you are using a symbol that is tainted as hell with unfortunate implications and hateful alternative meanings. It is like the swastika. Yes, it can mean good luck and other stuff, but it is also the symbol of an oppressive regime that executed millions, and is still a symbol of hatred and violence to many.

And to some the british flag is offensive for representing how they conquered so many places (my scottish friends in particular set a british flag on fire in Minecraft) and that era of imperialism still shows today in all the places it damaged. So many symbols have multiple meanings, hell in many countries the American flag seems to be a good replacement for firewood based on how often it's burned.

I understand why so many of those with Black confederate history get so frustrated with this view, they feel they are being pushed into being shamed from their own history and forgotten as history is rewritten writing them out of extistence.
image
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I do understand their frustration, and I have compassion for their plight, as being a Hopi, I feel the same done to our culture as well as History is often rewritten and distorted and promoting a false representation of our past.

BOOM headshot65:

Shock and Awe:
snip

Let me guess.........................The reason this thread exist is because of that Brad Paisley/LL Cool J song, right??

I don't know what they were saying before he mentioned it. I just know he sounded pretty base when he said it so I switched the station.

Lil devils x:

It is strange how people take things different ways. This flag reminds me of the first time I had seen it actually displayed on the wall at my friends home. It was on the wall in his bedroom, as well as his framed great gandfathers uniform. According to his family, the war was not about slavery it was about economic supression. The abolition of slavery was an unintended consequence that was only done in order to win, not because they really wanted to do so. Some were actually allowed to keep their slaves after the war if they fought for the union. I am not sure how him displaying the flag and the confederate uniform can be considered " racist" considering the guy is black. There is no "myth" of the black confederates, they are real.
http://blackconfederates.blogspot.com/
http://www.stonewallbrigade.com/articles_black_confeds.html
This guy pretty much states how the southern black confederates view this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8hPo6mYnks

While I am not going to pretend Slavery was the only issue in the buildup to the Civil War, it was one of the big ones and it's what put everything over the edge. To say that the war had nothing to do with slavery is a ridiculous idea to me as it's white washing a very large bit of history. Maybe the Northern states really did just want to just stick it to the south when it came to slavery, the thing is that they; regardless of motives; are trying to abolish slavery and the south was trying to preserve it.

That being said, I have nothing but the utmost respect for the Confederate soldier. They were not fighting for racism, they were fighting for their homes. Robert E. Lee did not leave the US Army because he hated black people, he left because he loved his home. Thats one thing that I dislike about people's perception of the war. People think that the North was virtuous and honorable while the South was a bunch of inbred savages. Both sides fought well and hard in my book, but I'd venture to say the South fought better and harder. Unfortunately they never had a chance.

Shock and Awe:

BOOM headshot65:

Shock and Awe:
snip

Let me guess.........................The reason this thread exist is because of that Brad Paisley/LL Cool J song, right??

I don't know what they were saying before he mentioned it. I just know he sounded pretty base when he said it so I switched the station.

Lil devils x:

It is strange how people take things different ways. This flag reminds me of the first time I had seen it actually displayed on the wall at my friends home. It was on the wall in his bedroom, as well as his framed great gandfathers uniform. According to his family, the war was not about slavery it was about economic supression. The abolition of slavery was an unintended consequence that was only done in order to win, not because they really wanted to do so. Some were actually allowed to keep their slaves after the war if they fought for the union. I am not sure how him displaying the flag and the confederate uniform can be considered " racist" considering the guy is black. There is no "myth" of the black confederates, they are real.
http://blackconfederates.blogspot.com/
http://www.stonewallbrigade.com/articles_black_confeds.html
This guy pretty much states how the southern black confederates view this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8hPo6mYnks

While I am not going to pretend Slavery was the only issue in the buildup to the Civil War, it was one of the big ones and it's what put everything over the edge. To say that the war had nothing to do with slavery is a ridiculous idea to me as it's white washing a very large bit of history. Maybe the Northern states really did just want to just stick it to the south when it came to slavery, the thing is that they; regardless of motives; are trying to abolish slavery and the south was trying to preserve it.

That being said, I have nothing but the utmost respect for the Confederate soldier. They were not fighting for racism, they were fighting for their homes. Robert E. Lee did not leave the US Army because he hated black people, he left because he loved his home. Thats one thing that I dislike about people's perception of the war. People think that the North was virtuous and honorable while the South was a bunch of inbred savages. Both sides fought well and hard in my book, but I'd venture to say the South fought better and harder. Unfortunately they never had a chance.

I am not pretending that the slavery issue was not a hot button issue at the time, but yes, Lincoln had no intention of freeing the slaves until his hand was forced and he thought he didn't have a choice if he wanted to win. The slavery issue was an issue, however there were also slave states that fought for the union as well. There as a long build up prior to actual war breaking out, and much resentment growing from both sides.

I agree the majority of people fighting in the confederate army were not fighting for racism, they were fighting because they were being invaded. They were fighting for their lives and freedom against an invading force. That is a far cry than what many think it is in regards to how the people at the time viewed this.

Lilani:

Shadowstar38:
-snip-

Just a little rule of thumb in arguments like this: Just because you can point to a couple of black people who don't mind something that is pretty controversial doesn't mean that is an accurate representation of the whole of any group. It's just not very helpful, just as saying "Well, my black friend..." isn't very helpful in discussions about using the n-word. Because first of all, we're receiving these sentiments secondhand through you and inevitably your description of their opinion will be simplified and paraphrased. And second of all, even if your story is completely correct, it's impossible to apply that to the whole of black people because your friend is not an accurate representation of ALL black people.

If you had some statistics on how black people feel about the confederate flag then that might be useful. But finding a couple of pictures of guys who are wearing it completely taken out of context isn't doing anything to help your case.

When it comes to how people react to a symbol, statistics fail in comparison to what you learn to real life experience in the area you live in.

As far as say, the cities in South Carolina and Georgia I've lived in goes, we seen the Confederate flag often enough that its a none issue. And the people that display it, even those that are white, tend to not be bigots.

And for the record, I myself am black. I know, I don't speak for the whole race and all that, but context.

Living in South Carolina, you see it every day. It used to fly in front of the State House. A few people would talk about it like it was racist, but most of us know that it doesn't really represent that. The ones that do call it racist typically weren't born or raised in the deep South.

Many of my American friends who are Southern explained it to me as it was for Southern pride and heritage. It represents a lot of their history. I don't have a problem with it and it really doesn't represent racism.

Lil devils x:
snip

It's not only according to his family, the issue of slavery, or to be more exact the "human rights" issue of the slaves was never the root cause of the conflict. The conflict was caused by political and economical differences, the emancipation came way later. The goal of the conflict as set by the Union/Lincoln was never about the human rights of slaves, and those moral differences were never an issue big enough to cause the cessation.
The issues of the expansion of slavery to the "new territories" and the formation of the first "universal" party which signaled the degradation of state rights caused the southern states form the confederacy. There are plenty of historians (which most of them fall within the far-left side of the political spectrum) that claim that the slavery was nothing more than a tool that the newly formed Republicans used to assert their power during the war.

Lilani:
I get that it means different things to different people, but I personally feel like it's unnecessarily divisive. "Rebel flag," "battle flag," these terms to me say that there is some resentment toward the union going on. People can feel however they want about what the federal government is doing, but the fact is we are one nation united. I find it rather off-putting that so many so highly regard a symbol that--if not specifically slavery--is closely linked with rebellion, division, and general resentment toward other fellow Americans. There are many things that make up the American spirit, but "fuck you all we'll do as we please" isn't one I find very compelling.

Shadowstar38:
-snip-

Just a little rule of thumb in arguments like this: Just because you can point to a couple of black people who don't mind something that is pretty controversial doesn't mean that is an accurate representation of the whole of any group. It's just not very helpful, just as saying "Well, my black friend..." isn't very helpful in discussions about using the n-word. Because first of all, we're receiving these sentiments secondhand through you and inevitably your description of their opinion will be simplified and paraphrased. And second of all, even if your story is completely correct, it's impossible to apply that to the whole of black people because your friend is not an accurate representation of ALL black people.

If you had some statistics on how black people feel about the confederate flag then that might be useful. But finding a couple of pictures of guys who are wearing it completely taken out of context isn't doing anything to help your case.

The irony of making the same generalization. Depending on where your at, most black's won't care or will wear the damn flag, because of southern heritage. You assumed that most of us blacks will find it offensive, racist, but we don't, well those of us who live in the south, or other rural areas. Symbol change meanings, the confederate flag, means southern heritage, rebels with cause and all that. Nothing for you guys to piss at, or find offensive.

Magenera:
The irony of making the same generalization. Depending on where your at, most black's won't care or will wear the damn flag, because of southern heritage. You assumed that most of us blacks will find it offensive, racist, but we don't, well those of us who live in the south, or other rural areas. Symbol change meanings, the confederate flag, means southern heritage, rebels with cause and all that. Nothing for you guys to piss at, or find offensive.

I'd like for you to point out where exactly in that post I made any quantification of how many blacks I felt approved or disapproved of the flag. All I did was state that taking two examples out of context proves nothing, and that statistics would be more useful in proving anything one way or the other.

tbh i think of this :

Meanings change. I certainly wouldn't carry around the flag of the old German empire. Oh, sure, it's all about grandeur, discipline, efficiency, ambition, etc., great values, eh? But these days the flag is associated with far-right Neo-Nazi groups who use it in lieu of the swastika; in part because it shares the colour scheme with the Nazi flag and also because it stands in clear opposition to the modern German flag that was part of democratic student protests and uprisings against aristocratic authority. So, no, I certainly don't follow the argument that it's nostalgic or stands for particular virtues these days. I consider it (and the Confederate flag here) as tainted by history. Sure, you can display it. But I don't think I would want to and I don't think you should want to, either.


LetalisK:
fighting for one's home, southern pride, or "resisting northern aggression".

One thing that always struck me as odd is how the South describes a war that they initiated as the War of Northern Aggression. Would someone care to explain how that's supposed to work?

Also, I'd find the states' rights argument more convincing if it had been given by those who were not themselves opposed to respecting individual rights.

There are two big memes about the war; that it was about slavery or that it was not about slavery. It would be difficult to decide between them, except for the contradictions of how the South speaks about the war. The dishonesty of the South makes it hard to accept their claim to noble causes, as well as the claim that the flag is not racist.

McMullen:
The dishonesty of the South makes it hard to accept their claim to noble causes, as well as the claim that the flag is not racist.

I don't think it's dishonesty, I think it's delusion. They want to have pride in their home, which is a normal thing to do, but their home has a very sketchy past, so they have to bury or twist it.

Edit: We probably all do it to some extent[1], since nobody or place is perfect, but while we have to do it with a cat turd, the South has to do it with rhino shit.

[1] Unless someone just straight up hates or doesn't care about where they live

To me it represents romanticisation of the past more than anything. That's not unique to the American South, I can name a bunch of events off the top of my head that people will claim were about freedom or adventure or whatever that were actually nothing of the sort, but few of them are either as popular as the 'Lost Cause of the South' idea or as easily represented.

Edit: As an aside, I saw it once on a canal barge in Lancashire. That was weird.

Lil devils x:

That is the thing though, the North had no intention of freeing the slaves and also many exceptions were allowed to have slaves after the war. That is what is often misunderstood. Lincoln addressed this directly: "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so."-Abraham Lincoln Inaugural Address, 4 March 1861

It was an unintended consequence of the war, and a very good strategic move for the North to be able to secure a win, but not their intention for the result of the war. That was not what they were trying to accomplish. This is more of a gray area rather than a "good vs bad". It is good that it was abolished, but that doesn't make the North any more chivalrous with their intentions.

Another Lincoln quote (admittedly post war):

"It is also unsatisfactory to some that the elective franchise is not given to the colored man. I would myself prefer that it were now conferred on the very intelligent, and on those who serve our cause as soldiers."

The whole debate over whether the north intended to free the slaves is debatable in the extreme.
We aren't ever going to know if Lincoln actually meant the quote that you posted, or was just trying to avert war. We aren't going to know if he freed the slaves out of expedience, or actually believed they deserved limited suffrage after the war, as per my quote. Hell, it's possible that he actually changed his mind!

But regardless of the union's original intentions, they did free the slaves and were moving towards better things, and the confederate states still fought for years to retain slavery.
Just because the people the confederates fought were (and this is arguable) 'nearly as bad' doesn't morally absolve the confederacy of the fact that it enslaved millions!

Shock and Awe:
I'm starting to ramble, basically I respect the flag, but I think it's used for less then honorable reasons much of the time and don't particularly care for it.

My only personal beef with this flag being used is when it's being said to be used for one symbol like State's rights, Southern Pride or courage and liberty, but there are underlying beliefs held by the person that contradict the face value and it ends up being a facade for racism, hatred, white supremacy and closeted bigotry, i.e. used under false pretenses. Like words, and like Lil devils x demonstrated, flags are just symbols, and symbols obtain meaning only when given meaning. Humans give meaning to lots of things and that implied meaning is what is observable from others. When the meaning is noble then there is nothing to be ashamed of, however when the outward meaning is a facade and it's used to mask prejudice and bigotry, the meaning does become tarnished.

From a purely personal reactionary perspective, my first reaction to the Battle Flag is generlly "What are they trying to say?" and, unfortunately, most of the implied meaning from those that I have encountered that air that flag is closeted prejudice. This isn't an accurate analysis and isn't meant to be objective; all the personal experiences I've had with the flag have been generally negative, whether there was something said, or unsaid, or implied through context.

I would not choose to bear that flag, but then I'm a 2nd generation American Yankee on one side of my family and a 3rd gen on the other.

captcha: labour of love - My long winded contributions to the R&P conversations.

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