Sunday, June 29, 2014

What's Up With All the Confederate Flags in the South?

Written on June 21, 2014
There were a few things I noticed about North Carolina during my stay there. The one thing I kept seeing over and over again were Confederate flags. I even saw a bunch of Confederate flags as I drove through Virginia. 

When I say all over, I mean all over. Literally even in the gift shop, where it was on the shirt saying "My Redneck Boyfriend."

I don't get it. I mean, I genuinely don't get it. One, it's been like two hundred years after the Civil War has happened. Get over it already and stop being so butthurt.

Now I was told by a Southerner (my cousin's husband, who is from Texas) told me that most people just saw it as a sign of Southern pride, and didn't give much thought to it. But my, what an awful thing to be proud of!

But seriously, can they be that stupid? How do they not think of the Civil War when they see the Confederate flag? More importantly, how can they not think of everything the Civil War represented?
I recognize the fact that the Civil War is far more complicated than it is often presented as. The Union good/Confederacy bad dichotomy doesn't give the Civil War justice. It doesn't take into account the deeper conflict between the North and South, nor does it take into account the fact that the Civil War's purpose was not simply to "free the slaves". Most Southerners never even owned slaves; rather a very small portion of wealthy Southerners owned the vast majority of slaves. Many Northerners were against slavery not because they cared about the welfare of slaves (although many abolitionists did), but because they feared that the expansion of slavery might endanger the chance of them getting jobs.
Yet the issue of slavery was definitely a huge contention in the Civil War. The Confederacy's only real difference from the Union is that it allowed slavery explicitly in its Constitution. The Confederacy was formed on the fear that the Union was going to ban slavery, which was the backbone of the Southern economy, even though it had not done so at that point. So, in essence, the Confederate flag represents slavery, the system that created the unique flavor of American racism that we know today. So yes, having a Confederate flag in your front yard is racist and I find it ridiculous that anyone would argue otherwise.
Man, that's one thing about the South I'm not going to miss. Confederate flags are quite the eyesore.

1 comment:

  1. I actually live in the south (well, kinda. I'm in Kentucky, but I've visited Tennessee and South Carolina, and driven through any states between there) and I don't understand the fascination with the Confederate Flag and the Civil War either.

    I mean, for one thing, THEY LOST! It'd be like Germany going "Hey let's do a re-enactment of World War 2, where everything was horrible and we were the bad guys and we ended up losing!"

    Why on Earth would you want to keep the reminders around that your ancestors were awful people and enslaved humans and fought a stupid war and ended up losing? Okay, wait, let me rephrase that, because I mean, concentration camps still stand, because that's an important part of history, that happened, and we can't just bulldoze over it and pretend it didn't. Okay. Why on Earth would you BE PROUD to keep the reminders around that your ancestors were awful people and enslaved humans and fought a stupid war and ended up losing?