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Author Topic: The confederate flag
Scott R
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Parton's a little too glitzy. Also, she's not much of a singer any more.
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kmbboots
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Scott, I was addressing the idea of it being both a cultural symbol and a symbol of oppression for a big part of that culture. I did not mean - and I should have made it clearer - that you personally liked or used it as a symbol.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
Parton's a little too glitzy. Also, she's not much of a singer any more.

You guys just toss your singers by the wayside when they've outlived their usefulness?

There's always Dollywood.

I'll give you the glitzy thing. What about Reba? Singer, actress, writer, hottest woman I can think of in her age group, well spoke, adorable southern accent, the list goes on.

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The Genuine
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
You should hear what people 'round here say about Yankees.

I'd love to hear.
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Blayne Bradley
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Harry Turtledove wrote a very indepth series on the consequences of Southern successful secession, the divergence being that Orders 191 were actually recovered and not fallen into Union hands providing the South a needed victory to gain French and UK recognition, Emmancipation is delayed because signing it would seem like a sign of weakness and desperation.

The US ends up allying with Kaiser's Germany and the CSA with UK and France over the War of Mexican succession, the Panama canal is never built, Japan gets to run amok, Russia remains Tsarist and the CSA becomes fascist instead.

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Lalo
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
I don't think you could meaningfully distinguish between "southern pride" and "racism and love of firearms."
I have southern pride, and am not racist, and do not love firearms.

I'm proud of the South's cultural contributions to food, music, and literature. I'm proud that "Southern" goes hand in hand with "hospitality."

I hate that it also means (and has earned, IMO) a connotation toward racism and ignorance.

Huh. So the Confederate flag symbolizes hospitality to you?

Quite frankly, what the Nazis did was absolutely incredible. They pulled Germany out from under the brutal Treaty of Versailles, reclaimed German land, and asserted German might after the unnecessary surrender of WWI. Hitler was a remarkable guy in a lot of ways, and certainly symbolizes a form of German pride.

But the Nazi flag doesn't symbolize hard work and bratwurst. And we rightfully pity the sad examples of humanity who think tying their identities to a flag makes them more interesting.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
Harry Turtledove wrote a very indepth series on the consequences of Southern successful secession, the divergence being that Orders 191 were actually recovered and not fallen into Union hands providing the South a needed victory to gain French and UK recognition, Emmancipation is delayed because signing it would seem like a sign of weakness and desperation.

The US ends up allying with Kaiser's Germany and the CSA with UK and France over the War of Mexican succession, the Panama canal is never built, Japan gets to run amok, Russia remains Tsarist and the CSA becomes fascist instead.

I thought the mockumentary "CSA" was pretty interesting. In it, the British send troops to Gettysburg and the North loses. The south forces the north to buy slaves or else face massive economic penalties, so everyone has slaves now. The new CSA then conquers Canada and South America. Some of it is pretty cleverly insidious.
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Lalo
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For the record, I've enjoyed the time I spent in the South. The people were fantastically friendly, the woods were beautiful, and the food was delicious.

But that's true everywhere, to some degree. Does anyone really think citizens of Alabama are friendlier than citizens of Vermont? There's really nothing special about the South, besides the wild-eyed political tendencies people have about turrists and libruls.

And that's the real problem, I think. Most of America's like the South -- endless suburbia, without the intimacy and culture of cities. Southern pride seems like a tragic effort at asserting SOME form of identity in a cultural void.

I know what it's like, I'm from LA. And while I have patriotic love for my home city, there's no real REASON for it. LA's terrible. If my life were so empty, I could fly a bear flag from my window, insist that highways and Mexican food are a cultural identity, and get self-righteous when others criticize the poverty and illiteracy of Californians... but I have better things to do.

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Blayne Bradley
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Except Vermont is not "the real America" [Razz]
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Scott R
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quote:
So the Confederate flag symbolizes hospitality to you?
Lalo, I've said exactly the contrary.

quote:
I was addressing the idea of it being both a cultural symbol and a symbol of oppression for a big part of that culture.
Yeah; I said the same thing. Funny.

quote:
You guys just toss your singers by the wayside when they've outlived their usefulness?
Nah, but seriously-- singers are like sports heroes. Half the value of a singer's legacy is knowing when to get out of the game.

quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
You should hear what people 'round here say about Yankees.
---
I'd love to hear.

I was being facetious; no one actually talks about Yankees here except old folks.

It's like you don't even matter enough to complain about!

[Big Grin]

quote:
There's really nothing special about the South, besides the wild-eyed political tendencies people have about turrists and libruls.
I didn't think so either, until I'd traveled the world a little while, and been around the country for a while, and put some years on.

Like I said above, I've been a lot of places. I love Seattle; and I love Boston. Wisconsin was phenomenal, and Utah was splendid.

For me, Virginia is home. Texas is where I'm rooted. I love the good food, the good music, the history and craziness of being Southern. It's a niche I fit in; it's part of my identity. The dichotomy of being Southern is distinctly appealing to me: the small and large ironies of our histories and our stereotypes fascinates and compels me.

There's only one place that compares to the South in terms of my personal identity, and that is Italy-- for entirely different, and non-nationalistic/regionalistic reasons.

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Fitz
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What I find startling is the number of confederate flag license plates I see here in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada! Surely they're not all southern state ex-pats. I can only assume they're either racist or wholly ignorant and just think it's a cool-looking flag.
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Bokonon
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
There's only one place that compares to the South in terms of my personal identity, and that is Italy-- for entirely different, and non-nationalistic/regionalistic reasons.

That's where the baby-eating fetish started, eh? [Smile]

-Bok

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jebus202
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As a foreigner, I can definitely recognise that there is a Southern identity. I've spent time in New Jersey and California, and they're great and all, but I'd love to go to Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, etc. Those places seem crazy, unhinged, exciting, incredibly friendly and much more unique than the northern parts of America.

I remember as a kid going to a hotel in South Carolina. One night, after access to the hotel pool had been closed down from the inside, me and some friends had sneaked out the back to hop the fence and get into it from the outside. Well once we were over the fence, we heard a shout coming from a balcony from one of the rooms high above looking down at us. Next thing we know, a plastic chair slams into the ground not five feet away from us, having been thrown off the balcony. That thing literally could have killed one of us.

That's what I'm talking about, I guarantee you that would happen in very few places in the whole world. This person saw intruders, and didn't react by calling security or police, nor did they give any time after a warning shout to let those intruders flee the scene. They just took responsibility into their own hands, probably assuming there were terrorists afoot (admittedly, the friends with me were brown-skinned, but from that height and at the time of night I doubt anyone could tell), and threw a chair down 10-15 stories, taking no consideration for human life. That is just an awesome kind of insanity that I think people need to experience.

Plus, southern food is delish.

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Samprimary
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I live in the skinniest, most physically fit state in the nation. Every time I go to the south, I am utterly amazed at how fat people start getting, usually because my first interaction is either when I bust out at an airport terminal into a food court or I stop in a gas station. And BOOM there they are. Fat people. I cannot help but have that be the first thing that jumps out at me, but it's because I've gone from the skinniest region to the fattest.

It's just visceral noise, though. Not a good way to judge the south. So I put it behind me, as well as the social data which makes the south look so grim. And, of course, it's full of wonderful places and people, and I always have fun.

At this point though I don't think I could ever live there.

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SoaPiNuReYe
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCiStLKzivM&feature=related
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Tresopax
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I am a Redskins fan. There was no particular reason I could give to argue that the Redskins were the best this year, but I am still a fan and was proud to display my Redskins gear. Flying a Redskins flag does not imply I think Daniel Snyder is a great owner, or that the Redskins offensive scheme is the best, or that I like names derived from Native American stereotypes. No, all it means is that I associate myself with the Redskins and root for them.

My point in saying that is: You don't always need a defined reason in order to have "pride" in something you associate yourself with.

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Launchywiggin
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South Postpones Rising For Yet Another Year
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Mucus
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Tresopax: You might not need a reason to have pride in something you associate yourself with, but you often do need a reason to actually display and promote that pride. And going up the ladder, the odds of having a reason go up in the face of reasonable and fierce opposition.

Note that even katharina theorises that there is a reason:
quote:
Originally posted by katharina:
I wonder if perhaps some of the persistent attachment to the confederate flag is a reaction against Tom's kind of bigotry.

Displaying a confederate flag is not merely a statement of pride, but it is also a statement that you disagree with/discount the positions against that flag (or at the very least, are keeping one's self in willful ignorance about those positions). As Scott R points out, it is not like the confederate flag is the only way of displaying pride in the south.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
...endless suburbia, without the intimacy and culture of cities.
Isn't a very common complaint about cities that they foster distance and a lack of intimacy? The things you're describing are parts of the human condition, not a speciality of 'suburbia' which really sounds more like a political statement than anything else.

You're right about culture, though. Cities are more likely to have that by virtue of a concentration of money and people. Are the people in cities more likely to avail themselves of it, though?

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
I am a Redskins fan.

oh, I get what you're saying here, racist gun nut
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TomDavidson
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Oh, let's be fair. You can like the Redskins without being a racist gun nut. You just have to be stupid. [Wink]
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AchillesHeel
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To wave the flag of an insurrectionist movement that cost so many American lives and pretend that it does not, or cannot mean that you support the ideals of a people whose lives were based on slavery to the point that they would secede when they were not allowed to expand thier slavery is foolish and argumentitive. Being from the south does not make a person any one way, being German does not make me a nazi or even consider David Hasselhof to be a good singer. Displaying the banner of those who would terrorize, hate, war and enslave for nothing other than personal want does in fact reflect thier history on to how those around you react to you.

So if you really believe that the confederate flag is nothing more than a graphic with a meaning to chosen by who ever waves it, next time you see a man with a swastika tattooed on his neck attempt to rationalize why he would do that if he simply enjoyed the image and didnt really care about the concensus on what it means.

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Scott R
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I think that's a simplistic argument that's already been addressed in this thread, AH.
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Kwea
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
To proudly fly the Confederate flag today, whatever it might once have meant, is to say, "I am racist and collect guns, and will be aggressively unapologetic about either of those things."

Not for everyone. I know people who flew it in MI, as they lived next to us, and they were not racists. Not at all.

I was a kid, and didn't understand all of their reasons why they flew it for years, and maybe still don't now, but they were VERY proud of their family history and flew it for that reason. They were heavily into black powder guns, but didn't own modern firearms at all, and were some of the nicest people I ever met.

But it still was weird living next to them when they flew it, and I didn't like it. I knew they did it because they were related to Robert E. Lee, and a lot of their family had fought for the Confederates, but it was still difficult to understand why they flew it.

[ March 13, 2010, 12:14 PM: Message edited by: Kwea ]

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katharina
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Haters never understand why the peoople they despise don't loathe themselves as much as the haters loathe them.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
To proudly fly the Confederate flag today, whatever it might once have meant, is to say, "I am racist and collect guns, and will be aggressively unapologetic about either of those things."
This is only a reasonable assertion so long as the person in question hasn't had a chance to explain why they fly the flag (or wear any other objectionable material, for that matter). That initial assumption about them can be tolerated because it's so often true, but a specific individual might do so for any number of reasons, and Tom, you're hardly in a position to point to a given individual and say with such certainty why they wear or show something than that complete stranger is about something you do.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Tom, you're hardly in a position to point to a given individual...
Ah. But I'm not.
I am speaking in the general case OF the general case. Someone might, for example, fly the Confederate flag because they like the pretty colors and patterns and are too brain-damaged to know otherwise. Someone else might fly it for other reasons.

But, overwhelmingly, people fly it because they are racist gun nuts. If you choose to fly the Confederate flag, you are choosing to either announce your status as a racist gun nut or your willingness to argue about what the flag means to you personally every time someone wrongly assumes that you're flying the flag for the usual reason.

As has been pointed out, it's like wearing a swastika on your armband. Maybe you like traditional good luck symbols. Maybe you're really proud of your grandfather, who was in the SS and was a really stand-up guy in all other respects. Maybe you think some of Nazi Germany's ideas were really good ones, and are willing to overlook the ones that you consider odious. Heck, maybe you're just proud of your family's Nazi heritage for some reason. But to roll your eyes at people who assume -- for some ridiculous reason -- that you are a Nazi-sympathizing jerkwad? That's just disingenuous and passive-aggressive.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
But to roll your eyes at people who assume -- for some ridiculous reason -- that you are a Nazi-sympathizing jerkwad? That's just disingenuous and passive-aggressive.
Like you, I'm not:)
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TomDavidson
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Well, good.
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Belle
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quote:
But, overwhelmingly, people fly it because they are racist gun nuts. If you choose to fly the Confederate flag, you are choosing to either announce your status as a racist gun nut or your willingness to argue about what the flag means to you personally every time someone wrongly assumes that you're flying the flag for the usual reason.

Can we separate "gun nuts" from "racist" please? I mean, my family might qualify as "gun nuts" in that we own quite a few and shoot them often (my 9 year old is a crack target shooter with a .22!) but we are not racists.

In fact, I spend my days educating black students and my husband spends his days rendering medical care to inner city residents who are predominantly black...we just like shooting little paper targets with guns.

People can like guns and believe in the 2nd amendment and not be racist. Maybe that isn't an important distinction to make...or maybe it is. At any rate, I wanted to point it out.

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malanthrop
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I understand how that flag represents horrible things to one group of people and tradition to another. Being a Yankee, my heritage isn't vested in one side or the other. Yet I believe erasing history isn't the right answer. The ancient Egyptians made attempts to strike down all images of perceived tyrant predecessors of their time. Where they succeeded, they deprived all humanity the truth. The truth is, the confederate flag is a symbol of racism to many blacks and whites but to some it is a symbol of heritage. No group of people are all bad or all good. Even the pure evil shouldn't be erased,...people need to know what evil was in order to know what evil is. Revisionist history only sets us up to repeat history. Moussolinni and Hitler were quite popular in their day. We've erased their common man/proletariat/working class popularity from early 20th century American history. Before he killed millions of Jews, his words rang bells with millions of Americans. When history becomes PC, we're destined to repeat it.
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Lalo
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quote:
Originally posted by Belle:
quote:
But, overwhelmingly, people fly it because they are racist gun nuts. If you choose to fly the Confederate flag, you are choosing to either announce your status as a racist gun nut or your willingness to argue about what the flag means to you personally every time someone wrongly assumes that you're flying the flag for the usual reason.

Can we separate "gun nuts" from "racist" please? I mean, my family might qualify as "gun nuts" in that we own quite a few and shoot them often (my 9 year old is a crack target shooter with a .22!) but we are not racists.

In fact, I spend my days educating black students and my husband spends his days rendering medical care to inner city residents who are predominantly black...we just like shooting little paper targets with guns.

People can like guns and believe in the 2nd amendment and not be racist. Maybe that isn't an important distinction to make...or maybe it is. At any rate, I wanted to point it out.

Tom's point is that people who like flying the Confederate flag are usually showing off their affinity for guns and racism. He's not saying all racists love the Confederate flag, nor that all gun nuts are racists.

Speaking of, the Supreme Court recently signaled that they're willing to hear a case that might incorporate the Second Amendment at long last. While that's fantastically terrible news, I think it's long overdue. I hate the idea of incorporating rights over time under judicial interpretations of "ordered liberty."

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Synesthesia
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quote:
Originally posted by Belle:
quote:
But, overwhelmingly, people fly it because they are racist gun nuts. If you choose to fly the Confederate flag, you are choosing to either announce your status as a racist gun nut or your willingness to argue about what the flag means to you personally every time someone wrongly assumes that you're flying the flag for the usual reason.

Can we separate "gun nuts" from "racist" please? I mean, my family might qualify as "gun nuts" in that we own quite a few and shoot them often (my 9 year old is a crack target shooter with a .22!) but we are not racists.

In fact, I spend my days educating black students and my husband spends his days rendering medical care to inner city residents who are predominantly black...we just like shooting little paper targets with guns.

People can like guns and believe in the 2nd amendment and not be racist. Maybe that isn't an important distinction to make...or maybe it is. At any rate, I wanted to point it out.

That's good to know. Racism is so uncool. I'm more of a sword nut myself.
Samurai swords are beautiful.

I want a pair of authentic samurai swords.

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Lalo
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quote:
Originally posted by malanthrop:
I understand how that flag represents horrible things to one group of people and tradition to another. Being a Yankee, my heritage isn't vested in one side or the other. Yet I believe erasing history isn't the right answer. The ancient Egyptians made attempts to strike down all images of perceived tyrant predecessors of their time. Where they succeeded, they deprived all humanity the truth. The truth is, the confederate flag is a symbol of racism to many blacks and whites but to some it is a symbol of heritage. No group of people are all bad or all good. Even the pure evil shouldn't be erased,...people need to know what evil was in order to know what evil is. Revisionist history only sets us up to repeat history. Moussolinni and Hitler were quite popular in their day. We've erased their common man/proletariat/working class popularity from early 20th century American history. Before he killed millions of Jews, his words rang bells with millions of Americans. When history becomes PC, we're destined to repeat it.

The thing is, nobody's trying to erase history. Is anyone trying to ban the Confederate flag? It has tremendous historical worth, as does the swastika. And people who wear either today are generally trashy rednecks.

All that's fine, but I'd rather not have the Confederate flag OR the swastika flying from a state building. Historical value aside.

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Lalo
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
There's really nothing special about the South, besides the wild-eyed political tendencies people have about turrists and libruls.
I didn't think so either, until I'd traveled the world a little while, and been around the country for a while, and put some years on.

Like I said above, I've been a lot of places. I love Seattle; and I love Boston. Wisconsin was phenomenal, and Utah was splendid.

For me, Virginia is home. Texas is where I'm rooted. I love the good food, the good music, the history and craziness of being Southern. It's a niche I fit in; it's part of my identity. The dichotomy of being Southern is distinctly appealing to me: the small and large ironies of our histories and our stereotypes fascinates and compels me.

There's only one place that compares to the South in terms of my personal identity, and that is Italy-- for entirely different, and non-nationalistic/regionalistic reasons.

I hear you about Italy. I recently lived a full year in Florence, and it cemented the idea that Europe is my true home. It's not even that hard to get by, since if you speak one romance language you speak them all.

In my dream world, my apartment would be in Spain, my wife would be French, my cook would be Italian, my dog would be German, and we would pass the time by laughing at the British.

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malanthrop
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To me the confederate flag represents the collision of states rights and individual rights. Federally, individuals have certain rights, including freedom. Southern states believed blacks were not human and not deserving constitutionally mandated individual rights. To me, the confederate flag represents something horrible and something wonderful. I'm a strong believer in state's rights and individual freedom.

Many people love the "rebel" flag as a symbol of freedom and independence. Some fly it as a symbol of hate. Anyone who attacks the confederate flag as a symbol of hate can not be intellectually honest while defending "good" or "moderate" Muslims. There are peaceful Muslims and Jihadist Muslims. You don't get the same all or nothing reaction over the Koran from the very same people attacking the confederate flag. You forget that flag represented half this nation during a civil war...talk about revisionist history of the victor. That flag is an important part of our history.

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Synesthesia
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Huh?

It's kind of a negative depressing part of our history. Urg. Slavery.

It's a sore point with me being that I am black.

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malanthrop
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The confederate flag is a symbol of hate to many but some put on the side of their Harly's to represent freedom. That flag is the ultimate contradiction. It represents freedom to some and oppression to others.

Outlawing a symbol of an ugly history is no different than smashing the face off your predecessor's statue in ancient Egypt or the Taliban blowing up 3000 year old statues of Buddha in Afghanistan. Our history is ugly but history shouldn't be erased or outlawed.

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Fyfe
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Mal:

I don't want to outlaw the flag, and I doubt that most people do. Free speech protects people's right to fly it, but I think flying it is in incredibly bad taste. To me, it's not a question of hiding an ugly history but displaying pride in one of the ugliest aspects of our history.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
That flag is the ultimate contradiction. It represents freedom to some and oppression to others.
Specifically, the people to whom it represents freedom have to not care that, to the vast majority of black people in this country, it represents oppression.
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Blayne Bradley
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Mal how the heck did you manage to bring Muslems into this discussion. Thats some insane troll logic you have going there.
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Scott R
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Blayne, don't post-stalk.
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malanthrop
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quote:
Originally posted by Fyfe:
Mal:

I don't want to outlaw the flag, and I doubt that most people do. Free speech protects people's right to fly it, but I think flying it is in incredibly bad taste. To me, it's not a question of hiding an ugly history but displaying pride in one of the ugliest aspects of our history.

You can't interpret the intent of the person who waves that flag. Assuming that anyone who has a confederate flag license plate border is a racist, is in itself racist stereotyping. That flag doesn't represent racism to everyone who dispays it.

All people have negative aspects to their history. Being proud of who you are and where you come from, isn't being proud of the negative aspects of your heritage.

In the Middle East, an American flag is probably worse than a confederate flag is here. They burn the stars and stripes for the evil things America has done. I acknowledge America has done horrible things yet I still have the Stars and Stripes in my front yard. I don't care who it offends.

[ March 15, 2010, 04:21 AM: Message edited by: malanthrop ]

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Fyfe
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I didn't say anything about racism in relation to the Confederate flag. I said that it's in bad taste to fly it, and I think it truly is. Flying the flag, regardless of intent, displays a remarkable insensitivity to the years of oppression that people of color have experienced in this country. Whether people who fly the flag intend to be racist or not, flying that flag contributes (I think) to a fraught racial dynamic. I think it would be in better taste not to have it.
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Architraz Warden
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I just find it amusing how many people wouldn't (and haven't) recognize the first Confederate national flag if it were flying.

Our of curiosity, does the Battle Flag mean anything different to everyone than the original 'Stars and Bars' flag? Or do they the same thing?

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Foust
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quote:
If you choose to fly the Confederate flag, you are choosing to either announce your status as a racist gun nut or your willingness to argue about what the flag means to you personally every time someone wrongly assumes that you're flying the flag for the usual reason. . . . But to roll your eyes at people who assume -- for some ridiculous reason -- that you are a Nazi-sympathizing jerkwad? That's just disingenuous and passive-aggressive.
QFT. Of course it is entirely possible that someone could fly the Confed flag for banal reasons, but if they think they aren't sending a very specific message, they are either stupid or lying.
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