Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"Heritage, not hate"

That's what those who support flying the Confederate battle flag (the "Stars and Bars") always say.

Funny, I grew up in the American South during a time when white bigots waving the "Stars and Bars" regularly made sweeps of "nigger town" to go "nigger knocking" in order to "keep the niggers in their place" because black people had gotten this notion that they might be equal to whites and it was necessary to deal with "uppity niggers" (note -- all terms in quotes are direct quotes from these bigots, not my words). That's the heritage I remember -- a heritage of hate.

The Confederate battle flag, like the swastika, may have originally had another meaning, another heritage. But you can't tell me that it is any way appropriate to fly the Confederate battle flag anywhere that a black person can see it, given the heritage of hate that it embodies. Emmett Till, Addie Mae Collins, Herbert Lee, Willie Brewster, and hundreds of others killed by battle-flag-waving bigots have completely destroyed any other meaning that the battle flag may have once had. Flying the Confederate battle flag today is akin to flying a swastika-emblazoned flag and yelling "Seig Heil!" outside a Jewish synagogue. It's got nothing to do with heritage, and everything to do with hate. You may not like it, you may think swastikas are just cool symbols and battle flags are neat, but their use as emblems of hate is far too recent in memory for your likings to be relevant. Until the last man dies who saw the battle flag used as a symbol of racism and bigotry, it will always remain a symbol of racism and bigotry. Like it or not, reality simply is.

-- Badtux the Southern Penguin


  1. Agreed!

    You should see how many racists are proud of their heritage here in Bama.

    If you question them about, then will give you a locals account about how the civil war had nothing to do with race, it was about liberty.

    Sure it was, it was about you could have liberties, and who couldn't.

  2. this country would have been better off if the mason-dixon line had been a coast line.

    minstrel, the sherman loving harper

  3. Can't say I agree with you on this one Tux.

    I live in south Georgia and while I will grant you that while every racist down here usually waves that flag around, Not everyone who waves that flag is a racist. I have several friends who's families have lived here for literally generations. My best friend's ancestors fought in the civil war. He has the confederate flag on his car, and as a tattoo on his arm.

    He is one of the most fair and non racist people I've ever met and we regularly hang out with several people of many races.

    It's not a tradition I share. (I'm from Michigan myself). But I simply can't equate that flag automatically with racism.

  4. Hmmm.. does the current American flag count?

    And "heritage not hate" is a beautiful flourish for the stars and bars- kind of like saying "I hates them niggers" with a british accent...

    such an improvement...not.

    Anyone who wears a rebel flag, or drapes it anywhere is advertising one fact: Not only am I fucking racist, But I am a proud one, too.

  5. Yes, the Civil War was fought over multiple issues, but the Confederacy can not duck the fact that they supported slavery. This is NOT something to be celebrated.

    One may have generic "southern pride", but that is different than Confederate pride. The Confederacy was on the wrong side of the single biggest moral issue that has ever faced our nation. Being non-racist today while displaying a racist symbol doesn't change the meaning of the symbol, or the history of the Confederacy.

  6. The flag of the Army of Tennessee flew over the headquarters of that army. Units fought under their regimental flags and state flags, not the flag of the headquarters.

    The Army of Northern Virgina used the same pattern, but it was square and had a white border. Again, units fought fought under their regimental and state flags.

    If people want to talk about heritage, fine, but use a symbol that reflects that heritage, not the symbol selected by veterans of the Army of Tennessee when they formed the Klan in Tennessee.

  7. Vince, if I flew the Nazi flag outside a Jewish synagogue, it doesn't matter whether I'm anti-semitic or not. I'm flying a banner that was used for hateful purposes, and it is offensive to Jews in much the same way that the stars-and-bars is offensive to blacks. In both cases the flags represent oppression, murder, and hate of one group by another group within the memories of living people (though in the case of the Nazi flag relatively few of those people are left).

    The many who died for the cause of civil rights at the hands of those flying the stars-and-bars makes waving that flag as offensive, in my opinion, as waving the Nazi flag. Maybe you simply think the Nazi flag is a cool looking flag and have no racist bones in your body, but the fact of the matter is that waving it around is going to a) offend some people, and b) convince everybody else that you're a racist bigot who wants to exterminate Jews.

    Ask your friend if he'd walk into a black neighborhood waving the stars-and-bars. His answer, I believe, will be telling.

    - Badtux the Been-there Penguin

  8. If you want to see Badtux's point in a more amusing way, watch this scene from Clerks 2.

  9. "Heritage not hate" my ass. That particular heritage is hate, whether the Southern Pride folks like it or not.

    I love the ones who tell me the Civil War (oh, pardon me, "The War Between The States") wasn't about slavery. Oh yeah? Well, what was the one commodity the South of 1861 had a bounty of that the North needed but couldn't produce enough of relying on its own resources? Cotton. Sure, the cotton gin was a great little invention, but people still had to plant and pick that stuff in the first place? And those people were...?


    And for their coerced efforts on behalf of Confederate security, those slaves were treated...?

    Like shit.

    And the symbol of this disgusting treatment of slaves is...?

    The confederate flag.

    And the people who display this symbol in public, for whatever reason, are...?


    Bullshit the Civil War wasn't fought over slavery. That's like saying a car doesn't rely on gasoline to run...

  10. Tux,

    That's faulty logic.

    It's not like he's going up to some black community cellar and shoving it in their face. He dosen't run around going LOOK AT ME LOOK AT MY FLAG.

    He's got a modest tattoo on one arm, and a small decoration on his truck. Yes he does drive through black neighborhoods (as i mentioned we have black friends) with this on and your right it has occasionally put him the occasional odd confrontation. But these are usually from out of towner's who don't know him and his family, or people looking to pick a fight in the first place. Most times the person would ask him about it and he would explain his families history and that would be that.

    Also, comparing the Confederacy to the Nazi's or the flag to the Swastika is another bad example.

    One of the Nazi's goal from the beginning was to annihilate the Jews whom they believed were the cause of Germany's problems. The civil war contrary to popular believe was not fought over slavery. It was fought over states rights of self determination and autonomy from the federal government. Slavery did not even become an issue for the north until Lincoln realized that if he offered the slaves freedom it would force the confederacy to fight the war on two fronts, The Union on the Outside and the slaves fighting to be free on the inside.

    Slavery was just one out of many many issues that contributed to the civil war. To say that it was the main reason the confederacy existed and to draw that parallel is misleading at best.

  11. vince, dude, please, don't try it with us. many of us here have experienced the greasy end of the racism stick. we know what it looks like, we know what it feels like, and frankly, your word games and protestations of innocence are insulting.

    it's not in the slightest about what you and your southern redneck motherfucking friends intend it's all about what the result is.

    learn it. live it. love it.

    take down the fucking flag. it's racist.

  12. You know....

    This is one reason I hate to call myself a democrat sometimes.

    We are just as guilty as the republicans for making certain assumptions and then attacking anyone who disagrees and in this sense we are no better than they are.

    I didn't call you names and I didn't start throwing vulgarities around.

    So who is the one here showing how hateful they are hmmm?

  13. vicne_n said... One of the Nazi's goal from the beginning was to annihilate the Jews whom they believed were the cause of Germany's problems.

    And one of the Confederacy's goals from the beginning was to maintain a state's right to own black people. Was this the only issue? No. Was it a primary issue? Absolutely. Who says? The V-P of the Confederacy himself.

    Slavery did not even become an issue for the north until Lincoln realized that if he offered the slaves freedom it would force the confederacy to fight the war on two fronts,...

    You seem to have your timeline a bit screwed up. From the Cornerstone Speech by the Confederacy's V-P...

    "The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution — African slavery as it exists amongst us — the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the "rock upon which the old Union would split." He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted."

    (Jefferson's) ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. ... Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner–stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and normal condition.

    -- Confederate Vice President, Alexander Stephens, March 21, 1861

    Compare this date to the attack on Ft. Sumter on April 12, 1861 and the Emancipation Proclamation issued on September 22, 1862.

    Slavery was a major issue before the first shot was ever fired in the Civil War.

  14. People who say the American Civil War was not about slavery amuse me. They're like people who say the Iraq war is not about oil. There is an easy rejoinder to that one: "Would we have invaded Iraq if they had no oil?" The answer, of course, is "no". And if you ask the question, "would the American Civil War have happened if the South hadn't had slaves?" once again the answer is "no."

    It also amuses me that people whose ancestors were on the losing side 150 years ago would proudly proclaim that they were on the losing side. We have a word for such people. That word is, "Losers."

    As for MB's point, I will leave you with the words of my 4th grade teacher, a proud doyenne of the Daughters of the Confederacy in that very racist Southern city who flew the Stars'n'Bars outside her home: "Niggers were happier under slavery. They were taken care of and always had a place to live and enough to eat. Abraham Lincoln was a criminal who stole our property from us."

    That's the sentiments you're expressing with the Confederate battle flag, whether you like it or not.

    -- Badtux the Southern Penguin

  15. I will clarify,

    I did not mean to imply the civil war was not fought over slavery.

    What I meant was it was not ONLY fought over slavery nor was slavery even the primary reason.

    The civil war was fought over "State's Rights", yes the right of a state to legalize slavery was a part of that.

    Also I never said it was right. Obviously it is not.

    I am frankly shocked at the response I have received here. I was expecting a civilized conversation on the matter (which I have gotten from a few people) not told my friends are "Motherfucking Racists" and have this turn into a conversation about weather or not they are racists for that reason.

    YOu people have no idea about who my friend is other than the fact he displays a confederate flag and you want to rush to judge him? He donates his time to charity, he is the best friend anyone could ask for. He would give the shirt off his back to any of his friends and NO it would not matter WHAT color their skin was.

    Jesus you people are no better than the right wingers you claim to hate.

    This will be my last comment on the matter. I'm through here.

  16. People who say the American Civil War was not about slavery amuse me.

    That defense was used by people who knew they couldn't support slavery out loud. It has become "common knowledge" in parts of the south, despite the words of Confederate leaders and the timeline events, all freely available for the looking, showing it to be false.

    I doubt that vince_n is a racist. I just think he has been taught some very basic fabrications.

  17. First, I agree with vince_n on the name calling. This topic is too important to allow it to devolve into that.

    As to the main topic, let's not forget the south's history towards blacks AFTER the Civil War. Lynchings, attacks, voting rights, and segregation in education, public transportation, public facilities, etc. The case Loving vs. Virginia was just 1967.

    The last law barring interracial marriage, in the Alabama state constitution, was removed in 2000 by less than 2/3 of the voters. The attempt to remove their constitution's mandate of segregated education failed at the ballot box in 2004. Segregation is part of their history, but it is not history to be defended.

    The Confederate flag was displayed prominently by those opposed to basic rights being granted to blacks as a symbol of the south. It's used by KKK. I would like to see evidence to the effect of large groups of southerners attempting to protect the flag and its history from being tarnished with such racist viewpoints. I doubt that it exists.

    Again, vince_n, it does not matter your friend's intent. The fact is that it is impossible to separate the Confederate flag, the symbol used for over 100 years by the most racist elements of our country, from both slavery and the subsequent treatment of blacks.

  18. We're no better than the "redneck motherfuckers," huh? You know, the kind of people who would go back to forming lynch mobs and hanging black people from tree limbs if they knew there wouldn't be consequences to their actions?

    Yes, calling someone a mean name is bad. And calling someone you don't know a mean name is even worse. But killing someone because of their skin color is magnitudes worse than that.

    Adolf Eichmann tried an alternate version of your argument from moral equivalency, Vince. It didn't work for him, either...

  19. Vince, go watch that "Clerks" out-take again, please? Even if your friend does not mean to be offensive, it is still offensive, for all the reasons that the other commentators have already mentioned.

    I am sorry if you thought I was referring to your friend with the "loser" crack, as I do not know your friend. I did, however, grow up in the American South in one of the strongholds of the Old Confederacy and knew plenty of what Mimus calls "peckerwoods" who believed, like your friend, that there was nothing wrong with flaunting the Confederate battle flag and using terms that many blacks are offended by. Most of them weren't evil. They were just, well, losers. I mean, c'mon. We're talking about folks who identify with the losing side in a war that should have never been fought. Most of'em were not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, if ya know what I mean. They were simply too dim to realize that they were behaving in an offensive manner, or if they did dimly realize this, were too dim to realize why it was offensive (hint: for a significant portion of the population, it is a symbol of the people who oppressed and killed them for over a hundred years). I'm not saying that's true of you. But I been there, seen that, son.

    - Badtux the Southern Penguin

  20. I live within 10 minutes of a cemetery in which this flag flies every day you condescending self hating southerner, unlike you I have actually researched my own heritage.

    The Blacks, were slaves beneath the Union flag a great deal longer than the Confederate flag, we need to do away with that hate mongering symbol too.

    I will continue to honor my deceased ancestors whom died fighting the Yankee invaders (both sides of the family) in that conflict so long ago, at any time I please, as it is my right.

    Oh and by the end of the war the Confederacy was preparing to free the slaves under its own control, citing moral reasons so the only high ground the Union has in this regard is discontinuing slavery 5 years earlier than the confederacy.

    The stars and bars were revised as more states joined the confederacy the one featuring St. Andrews cross, laden with stars representing the various states of the CSA is in fact the most well known flag because it was also used as a battle standard, know your history before you attack mine you pre-pubescent whelps.

    In closing, come and take it if you cannot respect my rights.

  21. In summation the Civil War had VERY little to do with race, to quote famous Union General Grant "If I thought this war were about slavery, I would off my sword to the opposing side." Abraham Lincoln was no more sympathetic toward the plight of Blacks, lets see ol' Abes own words on the matter.

    "I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races - that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position the negro should be denied everything."

    The Civil War was about the Federalist north dominating the pro states rights south, nothing more.

    Some of you dolts need to educate yourselves before trying to pretend to know something of this subject.

  22. In response to Jim Yeagers woefully stupid remark regarding cotton of all things, the Blacks continued to pick cotton well after the civil war ended in virtual slavery at the behest of northern robber barons instead of southern plantation owners.

    Being payed a couple of cents a day to pick cotton and then charged twice that for lodgings by the robber baron that employs you is hardly a recipe for freedom, you uneducated twit.

  23. Thanks for proving our points, dude. "State's rights" = "State's rights to have slavery". And oh, BTW, I know many plantation owners in the "Black Belt" of Louisiana (which was part of my territory back in my network installation and support days), they are uniformly locals, some Yankees tried to come in after the Civil War and buy out their plantations but the White Leagues/KKK tarred and feathered them and sent'em packing (with commemorative plaques in most county courthouse squares celebrating that fact). So it wasn't Yankees that put the blacks back into virtual slavery until the mechanization of the cotton fields in the late 1950's combined with the Civil Rights movement freed them. It was the White Leagues and KKK, flying the Confederate Battle Flag and making judicious use of lynchings and random beatings of "uppity" blacks.

    Given that my own ancestors went off and hid in the swamps of Louisiana rather than being stupid enough to fight for rich slave-owners (who, credit to them, at least were man enough to go fight for the cause they believed in, unlike the pussies of the 101st Fighting Chickenhawk neo-con brigade, the war took a horrendous toll on the male slave-owner class of Louisiana many of whom ended up in shallow graves at Antietam and Vicksburg and Chattanooga and other such battles and many of the remainder were missing limbs by the end of the war), the only heritage I celebrate is one of freedom. As for your ancestors, I can admire their bravery at the same time that I abhor their moral values of going off to fight for slavery.

    BTW, Robert E. Lee's proposal to free the Confederate slaves came as Sherman was ripping the guts out of the Confederacy as part of a failed bid by Lee and other like-minded people to bring the French and English into the war on the side of the Confederacy, and was swiftly swatted down by President Jefferson Davis who irritatedly insisted that the South could handle the military situation without French and English help (towards the end Davis got delusional -- he even forbid Joe Johnston from surrendering to Sherman, insisting that the military situation could still be salvaged despite the fact that Lee's army was gone and most of Johnston's army had deserted due to rumors of what was happening in Virginia). Not that the French and English were all that eager to help in the first place, given that by that time they'd found alternate sources of cotton (Egypt and India) and taking on the war machine that the Union had built by that time would have been a real bitch (the U.S. Navy by that time had more coastal interdiction ironclads -- "monitors" -- than all other nations on the planet combined, and the U.S. Army was larger than the armies of Britain and France combined).

    If the proposal to free the slaves had been made in 1862, when the Confederacy was still in a position to deal with the French and English on a near-equal basis, I could submit that the Civil War was not about slavery. But the fact that the Confederacy was not willing to do away with slavery until the very end as a last-ditch attempt to salvage something out of the disasterous military situation they found themselves in, and even then the notion was so abhorent to the Southern aristocracy that a sizable number of them outright rejected it even with national collapse looming... uhm, sorry. Not buying.

    - Badtux the Southern Penguin

  24. I only have this to say about the whole issue.

    For some of us that flag is a reminder. For good and ill. And each time I look at it, it reminds me how far we all have come,how far we have still to go, and my own vow to do what I can to see it never happens again. It is a symbol, and nothing more. And for each of us, it has it's own meaning.

  25. The Civil war was ugly on all sides, but we have to stop with the revisionist history.


    That's just a fact. Now, was it some kind of noble crusade against slavery? No. Everyone, north and south were perfectly happy with the institution until the moment it wasn't needed anymore (read: the industrial revolution). Then the war was fought over the economics of slavery, that is the industrial economy vs the slave economy. The two could not co-exist. This lead to war. The truly ugly aspects of racism (kind of like saying 'the down side of cancer') grew when southerns blamed blacks for the hardships they brought on themselves by fighting against the tide of history rather than wisely riding along with it.

    I'm sorry. Bygones are bygones, but the South was still wrong, and it's still wrong today to act like it wasn't.

  26. In summation the Civil War had VERY little to do with race, to quote famous Union General Grant "If I thought this war were about slavery, I would off my sword to the opposing side."

    Grant never said that. I wish Southerners would stop repeating this thing. It was cooked up by one A.R. Cauzaran for the 1868 "Democratic Speaker's Handbook". The text is on Google books and the quote is on page 33.

    It was nothing more than an election smear campaign which was seized on by two "Lost Causers" in the 1920s and perpetuated. My information comes directly from the reference department of the Library of Congress.


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