Thursday, December 8, 2011

Confederate Flags in Civil Conversations


So I was listening to this: "Black Scholar of the Civil War Asks: Who's With Me", which is a very interesting article, and brings up a good point: black folks are unsettlingly absent in the cadre of scholars and Civil War buffs, but this was the turning point for African Americans’ status as human beings in this country. I should note, however, that Mr. Coates is dead wrong regarding a lack of monuments to black soldiers. Beside the African American Civil War Museum in DC, There are war memorials in nearly all the battleground states.

Anyway, that article made me think of this article posted by someone on FriendFace: Black Student Defends His Confederate Flag. Summarily, a black college student hung a Confederate flag in his dorm window, and defended his right to hang it. I don’t argue with that, but it’s the Confederate f***ing flag. He also said that he never experienced racism, to which I say, “bulls***”. A young black man in the South NEVER experienced racism? WHITE people in the South experience racism! EVERYONE in this country, no matter where they are geographically or financially, has experienced racism. Anyway, back to the flag and the post. I commented on the post as such:

#1: Every state's "causes of secession", when strung together mention slavery about 80 times. Every one posts slavery as a major factor in their reason to secede. Therefore, every state [that] willingly joined the Confederacy and flew that flag, or any derivative of it, was an established racist state.
#2: Taking out the factor of slavery, these states willingly separated themselves from the United States. Therefore, the Confederate flag is actually an anti-American national symbol. This means that those under the Confederacy were technically guilty of treason. The flag is a symbol of anti-United States sentiment. It is one of the most un-patriotic symbols in this country.
#3: People like this schmuck are the reason why it is not only important to be pro-choice, but also believe in the possibility of time travel.

…OK, #3 was a visceral response to the absurdity of the interview, but I think I’m pretty on point with the first two points. Someone from the South posited this:

The confederate flag is not about slavery. People in the South know this…I'm from the only state that can [secede] from the union. I'll defend opinions that oppose mine be it on politics, race relations, religion, etc. My high school sweetheart was black, my ex hubby was Hispanic. I live in the best state in the United States. My personal perspective (which is shared by many) views the flag as a symbol of southern pride. Other states, other entities, other bodies of knowledge have their take on it but it’s our flag, we are Texas...love it or leave it.

Original poster said this:

…I feel like that is one of the issues people have with Texas and other southern states... They talk a good game about being real Americans, but are often slow to embrace the differences in others who also make up America. It's possible to have southern pride without exaggerated ego, or attempting to rewrite history to favour the southern perspective. That last statement is in response to Texas school revamping historical text and studies to reflect the south better and to highlight the religious origins of the country. Plus, the [secession] is already shows arguably less patriotism if you are unwilling to embrace the diversity of the country.

And Texas said this:

I hear you…but I disagree with you. The minority opinion must always be protected and heard. In this case the minority opinion being the belief or view of the confederate flag as being a bad symbol. Slavery isn't unique to the south, just as slavery isn't the sole reason of the civil war. It's a popular northern perspective… diversity doesn't mean to forego half the country's beliefs and opinions in support of the other half…I embrace the culture of New York...the southern pride should also be respected. But if one hasn't spent any length of time to learn to appreciate a state then the opinion is uneducated. It's just like knowing a person versus hearing about them.

To which I chimed in:

Southern pride can be respected and adored without the use of such an intentionally divisive symbol. Every state in the South has a rich history that helped shape the country, and there is no denying the robust culture no matter how much we in the North make jokes about all below the Mason-Dixon line. Chances are some of us would not exist were it not for the southern states. However, emulating a flag held by people who literally attempted to defect from the USA makes no sense. It is true that the Civil War was not solely about slavery. However, it was a lot about economy, and the primary labour force of the south's economy was tied directly to slavery. The Jim Crow laws that popped up after Reconstruction did not make a good case for the South's reputation either. Upholding a flag that represented all that deliberate divisiveness undermines the contributions that the Southern states made. I applaud you for speaking out on the other side of this argument, but I still disagree wholeheartedly with you regarding upholding the Confederate flag as a symbol of the South and souther pride. You have so many more symbols that don't have so much of this secessionist, un-American blood on them...just don't uphold Paula Deen. That lady's gonna kill us all.

Then Tex:

A flag is not racist; a person is. Yes, I can hear the arguments even as I text: “I wonder if the American Indians hate the American flag?” I would if I were them. But oh wait; I am part Indian. I realize the American Indian isn't the most populous minority but the flag issue same symbolism and I would defend their right to hate it and would still salute it.

There were a few more comments made, but in the end we all hugged and agreed to disagree, which is the beauty of our country. Contrary to what politicians are doing nowadays, arguments do not need vitriol and insult-trolling to make one’s point valid. I will never agree with Tex, and she will probably never agree with me. I highly doubt that I would find her an unpleasant person, though, and I had no desire assassinate her character to try to make my own point look more valid.

…That said, I have little to no respect for bigotry (which was NOT displayed here, by the way), and I have no qualms belittling their talking points of hate.
Also, Seriously: Paula Deen needs to go away.

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