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Is the rebel flag racist?

Is the rebel flag racist?  

20 members have voted

  1. 1. Is the rebel flag racist?

    • Yes, it is racist, and should be banned.
      2
    • The flag is not racist, and flag should not be banned, but should be removed from all official government buildings.
      3
    • The flag is racist, and should be removed from official government buildings, but should not be banned
      8
    • The flag is not racist, should not be banned, and should not be removed from government buildings.
      7


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Since the 1st National was the Stars and Bars, I'm confused as to what you're referring.

 

Privately I really prefer the Bloodstained Banner (3rd National) over all the others, with the 2nd National and the Battle Standard tied for my least favourite.

Oh, thanks for correcting me of that, people often incorrectly use the term "Stars and Bars" for the battle Standard, I got confused.

 

I was referring to the Battle Standard and I have corrected that. 

Edited by PlasmaHam

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There is a difference between the flag being racist (overt racism - i.e. this flag is only used to denote the racist elements of the old South etc.), and the flag being associated with racism (inferred racism - i.e. the flag might have other representations, but it gets associated with racism, or is seen as a representation of racism, because of the way it has been used). I think the Confederate flag ultimately falls into the second category - it's not racist in and of itself, but you can't take it out of context; there is a certain capability for menace in that flag that people will exploit. Then again, I am torn when I consider things like Stephens' Cornerstone Speech

  You have a point. In my opinion, and historical fact, the flag does not show racism. However, some people form an opinion so strong that ultimately something will become so twisted from the original. You cannot really calculate that inferred racism, is it is just opinions, yet it still exists.

 

  I am, however, annoyed at how often the Confederacy is depicted as the dastardly villains and the North as the noble warriors of freedom. History is not clean cut, and it isn't always pretty. I wish people wouldn't be adjusting our history books, monuments, and even our television shows.

 

I mean seriously! TV Land stopped showing the Dukes of Hazzard, just because the car had a Confederate Flag on the roof and played Dixie when they honked the horn. There was absolutely no racism on that show, in part due to no blacks but you get the point. The only stereotype the show had was the Dumb Southerner, which is offensive to white folks and not blacks. Of course, being a white guy, I have to learn to laugh at stereotypes against my kin. There isn't any NAACP for me to go whining to.

 

The point of this post is to simply ask people to accept history, not deny it. We need not to hide our mistakes, but to realize them and make sure we do not repeat them.

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The point of this post is to simply ask people to accept history, not deny it. We need not to hide our mistakes, but to realize them and make sure we do not repeat them

No one denies that the North was a racist place, though. The argument is entirely about whether it's reasonable to treat Confederate iconography as race-burdened. Which it is because slavery. That argument requires no revision of uncontroversial history.

You can try to minimize slavery by arguing that lots of people have had slaves, but this is like trying to minimize the Holocaust because lots of people have engaged in genocide. Though accurate, it just isn't a winning argument.

Edited by Chris-M

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No one denies that the North was a racist place, though. The argument is entirely about whether it's reasonable to treat Confederate iconography as race-burdened. Which it is because slavery. That argument requires no revision of uncontroversial history.

You can try to minimize slavery by arguing that lots of people have had slaves, but this is like trying to minimize the Holocaust because lots of people have engaged in genocide. Though accurate, it just isn't a winning argument.

 

I understand your post, but that was not the point I was making.

 

I was referring to the common practice in modern society to cut and paste history to how they like it. This can apply to the Civil War, and I do disagree with your comparisons, but American history is littered with this.

 

A few examples on the top of my head include Colonist/Indian relations, slave conditions, failings of the New Deal, Anti-Trust laws, Reconstruction, and Affirmative Action. All are examples of history being revised or simply ignored when the facts don't fit with the agenda those in power have. There can't be any cases of minorities actually being treated equally or big government plans failing, so they twist history to fit what they like. I am not going to debate any of those right now, but they do support my case with enough research.

 

 I was simply referring to the fact that we need to get politics out of history. I know that actually doing that is impossible, but there are some events that are so obviously depicted falsely by our society. Anyone who denies any political agenda is clearly naive. Let people learn history and make their own opinions of it, instead of forcing your opinion and lies down their throats.

 

Apologizes on getting off topic. I just wanted to clarify that sentence that Chris-M referred to. As you can see, I kinda went overboard.

Edited by PlasmaHam

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 I was simply referring to the fact that we need to get politics out of history.

 

This is a different topic, but I don't think that's possible. History isn't an event that happened but rather a narrative that we construct by highlighting a small selection from a large data-set, and that construction is unavoidably political. In the very act of judging what historical facts and narratives and perspectives are important, the historian engages in political action.

 

Yes, historians should avoid engaging in explicit fiction, but more often than not I think calls for "objectivity" merely serve to cloak whatever agenda benefits from the "objective" narrative. History does not have one authoritative voice but rather a plethora of perspectives.
Edited by Chris-M

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Case in point: A great deal of the Confederate monuments and historical markers were erected in the 1890s to 1930s, decades after the actual war. They were set up by neo-Confederates as political tools to glorify the old South and legitimize the South's framing of the war as a "Northern aggression".

This worked very well, and history books changed in the 1940s to 1960s to be much more sympathetic to the slave owners before the war and to terrorists like the KKK during Reconstruction.

PlasmaHam, what you are calling an unacceptable intrusion of politics into history is simply a correction to previous, neo-Confederate political intrusion.

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This worked very well, and history books changed in the 1940s to 1960s to be much more sympathetic to the slave owners before the war and to terrorists like the KKK during Reconstruction.

 

 

Eh. Really, a lot of the "war of northern aggression" revisionism was conducted by Marxist and left-wing Howard Zinn types. Generally speaking, the motive was less to sanctify the South and more to point out that the North was not a righteous union and Lincoln was not a saint...which is, you know, mostly true.

Edited by Chris-M

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Thanks, it looks like I was 40 some years early in my reference to northern aggression. I should have used the term Lost Cause.

I'm a bit confused by your attribution of the Northern Aggression concept primarily to leftists. I can see that it was used by Zinn, but it seems to belong much more strongly to actual neo-Confederates. I don't think Zinn could have used it to the desired effect if he were not co-opting an already established concept.

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I'm a bit confused by your attribution of the Northern Aggression concept primarily to leftists. I can see that it was used by Zinn, but it seems to belong much more strongly to actual neo-Confederates. I don't think Zinn could have used it to the desired effect if he were not co-opting an already established concept. 

 

 

It's true that Confederate sympathizers invented the notion of the War of Northern Aggression in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War. You see this, for example, in Edward Pollard's 1866 volume, The Lost Cause: A New Southern History of the War of the Confederates.
 
However, while such narratives obviously had currency in the South, the North at the time equally obviously had no time for such arguments. And, indeed, from the point of of the historiography I've read, such neo-Confederate narratives never did become especially popular in academic history. What were much more influential were schools like the following: 
 
  • The Nationalist School, propounded by James Ford Rhodes, Woodrow Wilson, and Edward Channing in the 1890s and 1900s. These historians argued that nationalism and divergent economic interests were much more important to the Civil War than slavery. This was largely in reaction to the destructive role nationalism was then playing in Europe and in American colonies.
 
  • The Progressive School, or Beardism, as expounded by Charles Beard in the 1920s and 1930s. This school argued that an uneven distribution of wealth caused by industrialization and capitalism caused the Civil War, and that slavery had almost nothing to do with it. Again, this tended to reflect Progressive concerns at the time, which emphasized inequality and poverty created by industrialization, but which tended to ignore the specific problems of blacks and other minorities.
 
  • The Marxist School argued by James S. Allen in 1930. According to him, the North only wanted to eliminate slavery in order to benefit the labor-hungry class of capitalists and industrialists. Slavery had little to do with the war. Again, this took an obvious Marxist lens, and it was also largely a response to the Great Depression.
 
  • The Revisionist School in the 1940s, led by Avery Craven and James Randall, argued that the Civil War was a terrible mistake caused by the short-sighted selfishness of politicians trying to protect their own careers, and that slavery was a secondary concern from their points of view. This school drew a great deal of influence from the destructiveness of WWI and WWII.
It was only after this groundwork had been laid that neo-Confederates in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s were able to find any academic legitimacy.
 
Most of these historians, you'll notice, were not southerners, and very few had any Confederate sympathies. Many are even notable for their sympathy with black causes. However, they all tended to minimize the role of slavery in the Civil War because they wanted to see the Civil War through left-leaning ideology and in the context of what were than contemporary issues (industrialization, WWI, the Great Depression, etc). In my opinion, these historians are much more responsible for legitimizing Lost Cause narratives in academia than Confederate sympathizers ever were.
Edited by Chris-M

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Thanks, that's very interesting. I hadn't considered the effect of academia. I was thinking more of the elementary school level.

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Thanks, that's very interesting. I hadn't considered the effect of academia. I was thinking more of the elementary school level.

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