Why does the southern part of the U.S. still insist on flying the Confederate flag? - Page 2 - U2 Feedback

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Old 02-19-2002, 01:20 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4:
It's been used as a symbol of racism and bigotry and I hate it for that. But it's also the flag under which thousands of Americans shed their blood and died for (many of them my ancestors) and for that reason, it upsets me to have it equivocated with the swaztika.
Good points, but neo-Nazis would likely argue similarly as to why they should be allowed to raise the Nazi flag. Nazism did stand for quite a bit more than the Holocaust, and, during the 1930s, there were lots of prominent Americans who admired and loved Hitler for his unique style of government and his effectiveness of ridding out communism. Hitler's highway system was also the model for our Interstate Highway system. No, these Americans were not necessarily anti-Semites; Hitler kept a lot of that under wraps and most people didn't know of the Holocaust until the camps were liberated at the end of World War II.

Regardless, we do have to deal with reality. The swastika was a symbol of peace for thousands of years, but now it is a symbol of hate, for better or for worse. We cannot change that. Likewise, with the Confederacy, I'm not going to doubt that many people wish to preserve the flag for various reasons, most of them being fairly noble. However, we cannot erase the fact that it is seen as a symbol of hatred and racism against black Americans, which coincides with white supremacy. You cannot erase the Civil War and you cannot erase the 100 years afterwards of state-sponsored racism and segregation at the hands of it.

It really comes down to that, as to why I believe it shouldn't be allowed to be flown. It is just like the word "fuck." It may be innocuous in regards to its original meaning in pig copulation, but, regardless of how much we can defend its usage, the indecent connotation still remains. Do I make any sense here?

Melon

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"He had lived through an age when men and women with energy and ruthlessness but without much ability or persistence excelled. And even though most of them had gone under, their ignorance had confused Roy, making him wonder whether the things he had striven to learn, and thought of as 'culture,' were irrelevant. Everything was supposed to be the same: commercials, Beethoven's late quartets, pop records, shopfronts, Freud, multi-coloured hair. Greatness, comparison, value, depth: gone, gone, gone. Anything could give some pleasure; he saw that. But not everything provided the sustenance of a deeper understanding." - Hanif Kureishi, Love in a Blue Time
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Old 02-19-2002, 01:24 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2:
80s,
The south was never a country so why should the Confederate flag fly over 6 flags over Texas?
The Confederacy was indeed a "country", a "Nation". Whether the Union looked at it as a nation or not is really of no importance. It was not prohibited under US law for states to secede, and they did.



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Old 02-19-2002, 01:26 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
Melon: true enough, the states shouldn't fly the flags, but AGAIN, no one is asserting through the mainstream media that Germany is a backwards country still defined by anti-Semitism.
I'm not asserting that at all about Germany, nor am I asserting that in regards to the South. The fact still remains that the swastika is a symbol of hatred in Germany and the confederate flag is seen as a symbol of white supremacism, slavery, and state-sponsored segregation and racism.

Although I wish we could, we cannot erase history just like that. There are lots of still living black Americans who lived through the institutional segregation and racism. The flag is a slap in the face to people like them.

Melon

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"He had lived through an age when men and women with energy and ruthlessness but without much ability or persistence excelled. And even though most of them had gone under, their ignorance had confused Roy, making him wonder whether the things he had striven to learn, and thought of as 'culture,' were irrelevant. Everything was supposed to be the same: commercials, Beethoven's late quartets, pop records, shopfronts, Freud, multi-coloured hair. Greatness, comparison, value, depth: gone, gone, gone. Anything could give some pleasure; he saw that. But not everything provided the sustenance of a deeper understanding." - Hanif Kureishi, Love in a Blue Time
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Old 02-19-2002, 01:27 PM   #24
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Excellent post, Sula.
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Old 02-19-2002, 01:55 PM   #25
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My first concern is to address the fact that this post is directed at "the southern part of the U.S." This is a pretty sweeping generalization of people who fly the Confederate Flag.

I am, of course, against the flying of this flag. See all the other posts explaining why.
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Old 02-19-2002, 06:14 PM   #26
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Yeah, melon, I completely understand your point. And insofar as the flag is a symbol of hatred and racism, I do agree with you. I'm not particularly fond of seeing it myself unless it is at a war memorial or historical site.

Quote:
originally posted by melon: You cannot erase the Civil War and you cannot erase the 100 years afterwards of state-sponsored racism and segregation at the hands of it.
Those 100-some years of segregation should not be placed at the Confederacy's door, imo. The United States of America as a whole is to blame for that. If the Confederacy alone is to blame for the state of civil rights then it would follow that upon their defeat the North would set everything right and institute equality and justice for all, but as we all know that was not the case. I think it makes us all feel better if we can put messy things like racism, segregation, and racial supremacy in neat little boxes. Like you say, we cannot erase history, but sometimes I wonder if we are not too quick to gloss over the facts of history. History is, after all, written by those who win wars. In a country where the North won the Civil War, it seems sometimes that the easy fallacy to fall into is to blame not only the war and slavery on the South, but racism, bigotry and segregation as well. And that's unfair, I think. We must all share that burden and work to change it.

Ultimately, I think it really comes down to the perception of what the Civil War was all about. If it was (as we're led to believe by movies and by our history books) a war about slavery, then yes the Confederate flag would be by definition a symbol to be discarded. BUT, if it is a legitimate conflict fought by two nations, then why is the "losing" nation to be humiliated by having their flag outlawed?

Again, I'm posing questions here and generally playing devil's advocate. I don't have answers. I've lived in both the North and the South enough to know that it's not a simple thing. What a shame it is that Abraham Lincoln was assasinated before he had the opportunity to carry out a reconstruction of reconciliation and peace, not of destruction and punishment.
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Old 02-19-2002, 06:31 PM   #27
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Great posts from melon and sula. (Sorry, I'm at work--that's the best I can do today.)
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Old 02-19-2002, 07:07 PM   #28
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on a related note, vh1 is showing a special right now on "hate rock" ... nothing is scarier to me than seeing two six year old girls singing and doing the nazi salute. like they have any idea what they're doing? of course i knew this was going on in america, it's just sad that children are being raised with this.
this guy in west virginia, of all places, (i don't know his name) has gone so far as to create a video game where someone goes around with a machine gun, killing minorities...
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Old 02-19-2002, 07:47 PM   #29
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I think it's a stretch to suggest that the VH1 documentary is "on a related note."
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Old 02-19-2002, 07:52 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
I think it's a stretch to suggest that the VH1 documentary is "on a related note."
which is what I was going to say.
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Old 02-19-2002, 08:08 PM   #31
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Melon: I agree that history is what it is. I know that no one here is suggesting that Germany is defined by anti-Semitism, and I hope that no one here is suggesting that the South is defined by racism.

But the mainstream media has defined us thus.

In my last semester at school, my great books course focused on Southern literature, literature written about the South, mostly by Southerners. With the exception of "All The King's Men," racism was key to EVERY BOOK.

Look at Hollywood movies (many based on books):

To Kill a Mockingbird
In the Heat of the Night
Forrest Gump
Driving Miss Daisy
Ghosts of Mississippi
A Time to Kill

Granted, many films about Germany revolve around WWII, but not ALL focus on the Holocaust, as horrible as it was. (Hell, did Run Lola Run - a German-made film - even MENTION WWII?)

At the same time, most films about the other parts of the country do not HARP on their racial problems. The strain caused by immigration in the west (particularly Mexican and Asian immigration) DOES NOT DEFINE the west.

I hope you can see my point. It's overkill, how the media portrays the South, and there's bound to be backlash.
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Old 02-19-2002, 08:59 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
I think it's a stretch to suggest that the VH1 documentary is "on a related note."
or...instead of trying to attack me for saying that, you could give me a chance to tell you why i thought it was on a related note.
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Old 02-19-2002, 10:53 PM   #33
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Only two Civil War battles were fought in the North - Antietam and Gettysburg...which means the rest of them were fought in the South and many of them had to defend their own homes and families, some of which did not own slaves. The South was almost completely annhilated at the war's end. I think the Stars and Bars can honor those people.

Also, I agree with the other people who have said that the flag is a part of the South's history, for better or for worse. I do not agree with racism, but maybe the flag also serves as a reminder to us that such a hatred did exist in this country and to not let it happen again. We shouldn't forget our past, as horrible as some of it has been.

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Old 02-19-2002, 11:04 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
Melon: I agree that history is what it is. I know that no one here is suggesting that Germany is defined by anti-Semitism, and I hope that no one here is suggesting that the South is defined by racism.

But the mainstream media has defined us thus.

In my last semester at school, my great books course focused on Southern literature, literature written about the South, mostly by Southerners. With the exception of "All The King's Men," racism was key to EVERY BOOK.

Look at Hollywood movies (many based on books):

To Kill a Mockingbird
In the Heat of the Night
Forrest Gump
Driving Miss Daisy
Ghosts of Mississippi
A Time to Kill
Well, Bubba, we've hit a rare moment of clarity. I finally understand what you're getting at. With that, it is my hope that this situation changes. Yes, I do think that *some* of these racist books do need to be taught--to ignore it wholly would be unbalanced--but I also think that, for purposes of balance, there should be more favorable Southern books.

Honestly, I have never read any of those books, nor can I really suggest any alternative Southern literature. I took four straight years of the Honors English curriculum in high school, with none in college, and the main emphasis was on Victorian-era English Literature.

My point, personally, was *just* on the Confederate flag itself. I really don't think that the South of the present is anything like the segregationalist past. However, to outsiders, the Confederate flag makes it seem like the South has never gotten past it. The South may see that flag as a symbol of Southern pride. I do not doubt that for a moment. To outsiders, though, it reduces the South to the same old stereotypes of small-minded, reactionary white supremacist KKK members. I am not trying to be a smart ass...this is what *a lot* of people think. I believe that the South would be much better off without that flag, both blacks and whites, because it would show the South for what it really is: a modern, diverse community like everywhere else in America. That is really the point I'm trying to make.

Quote:
Granted, many films about Germany revolve around WWII, but not ALL focus on the Holocaust, as horrible as it was. (Hell, did Run Lola Run - a German-made film - even MENTION WWII?)

At the same time, most films about the other parts of the country do not HARP on their racial problems. The strain caused by immigration in the west (particularly Mexican and Asian immigration) DOES NOT DEFINE the west.

I hope you can see my point. It's overkill, how the media portrays the South, and there's bound to be backlash.
I do see your point; and I am an aspiring screenwriter. I'm sure I'll revisit this relatively "new" idea in the near future. I always love to go against the grain...

Melon

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"He had lived through an age when men and women with energy and ruthlessness but without much ability or persistence excelled. And even though most of them had gone under, their ignorance had confused Roy, making him wonder whether the things he had striven to learn, and thought of as 'culture,' were irrelevant. Everything was supposed to be the same: commercials, Beethoven's late quartets, pop records, shopfronts, Freud, multi-coloured hair. Greatness, comparison, value, depth: gone, gone, gone. Anything could give some pleasure; he saw that. But not everything provided the sustenance of a deeper understanding." - Hanif Kureishi, Love in a Blue Time
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Old 02-19-2002, 11:36 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally posted by KhanadaRhodes:
or...instead of trying to attack me for saying that, you could give me a chance to tell you why i thought it was on a related note.
It wasn't an attack - just an observation that I thought it was a stretch. If you want to elaborate, feel free.
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Old 02-19-2002, 11:49 PM   #36
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My point, personally, was *just* on the Confederate flag itself. I really don't think that the South of the present is anything like the segregationalist past. However, to outsiders, the Confederate flag makes it seem like the South has never gotten past it. The South may see that flag as a symbol of Southern pride. I do not doubt that for a moment. To outsiders, though, it reduces the South to the same old stereotypes of small-minded, reactionary white supremacist KKK members. I am not trying to be a smart ass...this is what *a lot* of people think. I believe that the South would be much better off without that flag, both blacks and whites, because it would show the South for what it really is: a modern, diverse community like everywhere else in America. That is really the point I'm trying to make.

Oh, I agree wholeheartedly that the South SHOULD let go of the whole flag issue. I'm just trying to explain why many can't. It seems to be a cycle that's very difficult to break: Holywood portrays the South as backwards, pisses off Southerners who then fly the Rebel flag, thereby confirming Hollywood's stereotypes.

And I say, go against the grain.
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Old 02-20-2002, 10:29 AM   #37
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very good discussion melon and bubba.
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Old 02-20-2002, 10:41 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
Oh, I agree wholeheartedly that the South SHOULD let go of the whole flag issue. I'm just trying to explain why many can't. It seems to be a cycle that's very difficult to break: Holywood portrays the South as backwards, pisses off Southerners who then fly the Rebel flag, thereby confirming Hollywood's stereotypes.

And I say, go against the grain.
Well stated.

This is an interesting phenomenon with various groups. I mean, let's face it. Hollywood has stereotyped everyone and everything. At the same time, while we are all generally angered by these stereotypes, it seems that, in response, we cling to them more. It isn't that the stereotype originally holds a grain of truth as much as we eventually conform to them for some reason. It would be an interesting long-term study I think.

Melon

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"He had lived through an age when men and women with energy and ruthlessness but without much ability or persistence excelled. And even though most of them had gone under, their ignorance had confused Roy, making him wonder whether the things he had striven to learn, and thought of as 'culture,' were irrelevant. Everything was supposed to be the same: commercials, Beethoven's late quartets, pop records, shopfronts, Freud, multi-coloured hair. Greatness, comparison, value, depth: gone, gone, gone. Anything could give some pleasure; he saw that. But not everything provided the sustenance of a deeper understanding." - Hanif Kureishi, Love in a Blue Time
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Old 02-20-2002, 11:51 AM   #39
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There's too much here in this thread to try and jump in after traveling for two days, but I just want to drop in a few thoughts on the whole issue.. However related or unrelated they may be..

Being from The last capital of the confederacy, and still living there I do feel that the south still has some resentment towards the north because of the war/reconstruction,

However, turning to the topic of racism, I have found out, after living in the south my whole life, and visiting my parents families in Michigan and going to college up north with many northern friends, that the northerners tend to be more racist.. Now, what I mean is that that people in the south have much more exposure to blacks, and interact, study with, work with them on a daily basis.. And When I came up here, when I put up a Confederate flag up in my dorm quad, my roomates about shit in their pants, Because they don't have really the exposure, and I'm not going to say they're racist because they quote unquote hate blacks, but they have a more racial tendency, or racist precautionary attitude. (Another quick anecdote... I was talking to a friend about Savannah GA, talking about how beautiful it was to which she immediately replied, "Oh.. I didn't like it there, there were too many Black People.")

I'm not sitting here saying the south is wiped clean from racists et al, but in my lifetime I've encountered more racially biased, or 'Racist Tendency' people in the north, and here at college than back home, and even further south.

And about the flag, I personally don't think that it is offensive, but I see how it can be, and I feel that regardless of people wanting to fly the flag for southern pride, or just as an artifact of the south, It will never be viewed as that.. only as slavery.. And that was my big gripe with the South Carolina.. I think.. capital building flying a confederate flag.. It was put up there during the civil rights movement of the 60's or what not, and it doesn't take a genius to realize the motivation for that.

I'm sitting here debating the nazi issue, as they persecuted Catholics as well as polish in addition to the jews during the holocaust, but I do agree that it stands for more than that, but in teh same way.. like ya'llve said about slavery and dixie.. The nazi symbol goes the same route.

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[This message has been edited by Lemonite (edited 02-20-2002).]
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Old 02-20-2002, 01:05 PM   #40
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Many very astute insights into the Confederate-flag issue here. I think AchtungBubba hit it on the head - major economic differences between South and North, and a harsh reconstruction.

Let's remember that the reason why the Civil War was fought (and the reason the reconstruction was so harsh) was not slavery (someone here did mention this). "Fight against slavery" was the propaganda line that the North used to convince people the awful destruction of the South was just (as some have pointed out, slavery was not limited to the south). Fundamentally, this was a war between two entities with different economic systems that were each vying for dominance of the U.S. The South were losing and therefore wanted independence. The Northern elite were slowly moving towards an industrial and manufacturing predominant economy (obviously more so later in the 1800s), while the South was primarily agricultural. Slavery was prevalent in the South not because northerners had moral objections to it, but because the crops on which the South was economically dependent were amenable to a plantation-style system (PLEASE DO NOT NOT NOT INTERPRET THIS AS A JUSTIFICATION OF SLAVERY - IT ISN'T - IT'S JUST AN EXPLANATION OF WHY IT WAS PREVALENT IN THE SOUTH VERSUS THE NORTH). The North of course still wanted to keep these resources in the republic, and to be able to control them within their political system. For the most part, pre-war attempts to erode the slavery system were simply methods to try to erode the economic power base of the South - they were not actually directed at eliminating slavery on moral grounds.

Hence, slavery was one (horrible) part of an economic and cultural system, of which may elements are considered worth preserving or at least honoring by Southerners. So I think the vast majority of Southerners don't view raising the Confederate Flag as supporting slavery; it's the other elements of that culture (and its independence) that they feel should be supported.

But I also don't think such symbols are appropriate for government buildings, government-sponsored projects, etc.
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