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Marching under a different flag

Daily Kos asks how Southerners get away with displaying the Confederate flag. Well, you know, it is a symbol of Southern pride. Recognizing that is just as important as recognizing that US arrogance pisses off the rest of the world, sometimes.

The issue here is that the Confederate flag has two meanings, and the second darker meaning is not inherently associated with the first. It’s not safe to assume that those who care about the first meaning also care about the second. It is possible to be proud of one’s heritage without being proud of slavery. It’s futile to tell an entire region that their entire heritage is crap because of one prominent blemish.

It is equally important for those flying the flag to recognize that it’s deeply painful to another group of people. Maybe I don’t associate the flag with slavery; that doesn’t mean it’s wrong for you to make that association.

Beating people over the head isn’t going to solve the problem. Gotta step back, say “I understand that you are flying the flag for reasons other than racism” or “I understand that the flag has very bad connotations for you,” and work from there.


  1. obe obe

    Except that for many who fly it, the flag is a symbol of race supremacy and is still the “rebel” flag, unyeilding and in your face racist. Your proposal to reach out to the other side of this debate assumes that no one has these leanings and everyone is good, just a little upset over miscommunication. Don’t you think that is a bit niave?

  2. Well, certainly it’s worth considering that many people hide behind cultural pride in an attempt to signal their racist beliefs, just as they attempt to cloak racism in the guise of states rights. But there are many who do take honest pride in their heritage – it seems hard to honestly talk about this issue if you’re not willing to admit that fact, since it tends to characterize everyone on the other side of the issue as inherently dishonest. I can’t say much else, since I’ve never been personally harmed by the Confederate flag or an agent of the CSA.

  3. No, I acknowledge that there are those for whom it represents racism. I should have made that more clear.

    There are two dangerous fallacies possible here:

    “I don’t think of it as a racist symbol, therefore it is not a racist symbol.”

    “I think of it as a racist symbol, thus anyone who displays it must also think it’s a racist symbol.”

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