When you see the Confederate flag, what comes to your mind? The first thing I think of is the television program The Dukes of Hazzard, where in the main characters drove a car that had the flag boldly painted on it. The second thing I think of is a rather unfortunate period of history in the United States during which the country was divided and people fought over whether it was acceptable to own a human being as chattel, among other issues. The southern part of the United States was dubbed the Confederate States of America, or the Confederacy, which used the Confederate flag. The states that were part of the Confederacy had seceded from the United States.

It is rather unfortunate that many of the traditions from the period of the Civil War seem to have translated into modern day unpleasantness. For example, if you look at a map of states that were in favor of slavery during the Civil War and compare it to the electoral map from the 2012 election, you will see that most of the states in favor of slavery also did not vote for President Obama.

If you were not aware of it, there is in fact no such thing as coincidence.. When Trace Adkins performed at NBC’s annual Rockefeller Center Christmas special, he was wearing a Confederate flag earpiece. and when questioned about it he stated that he was proud to wear it and that he was the descendent of Confederate soldiers and therefore there was no problem with his wearing the flag that his ancestors carried.

Let us take this in a different way. What if Adkins had been the great grandson of a member of the Ku Klux Klan — would it be therefore okay for him to carry the flag of his great grandfather’s Klan flag? Certainly not — it was a symbol of hatred then and it is a symbol of hatred now. Similarly, the Confederate flag is more of a symbol of the divide in our country as well as the slavery that divided it. Why would someone want to remind people of this division unless they perhaps still had some ties to it? I cannot state this factually, of course, but one has to wonder about the motives.

I cannot conceive of a positive reason a person could possibly have to wear a Confederate flag in their ear in 2012. It really baffles me. What are your thoughts on the Confederate flag in the 21st century?

4 Comments

  1. In April 2007, in UrbanSemiotic.com, I wrote a similar article about the graphical resurrection of the Confederate flag in popular culture:

    Last night’s Democrat debate in Orangeburg, South Carolina revealed another weak stab against the Racism that still bleeds in the Deep South — and in urban cores across America — when Senator Barack Obama confirmed, when asked, that the Confederate Flag belonged in a museum and not flying above state buildings.

    I ask you: Is the Confederate Flag a symbol of Racism in America, or is it merely a historical artifact that honors the struggle between being and bondage? This Confederate Battle Flag — owned by Confederate General JEB Stuart — recently sold at auction for $956,000.00 USD

    http://urbansemiotic.com/2007/04/27/is-the-confederate-flag-a-racist-semiotic/

    That article received an avalanche of hate comments that never made it to publication — but the gist of the Southern argument doesn’t seem to have changed much in five years. Just as Trace Adkins said, the South finds the flag a source of pride, and not shame, and they will celebrate it as part of their proud heritage.

      1. Yes, the President is intimately aware of the threat of that flag semiotic.

        The end argument for the non-published commenters was that I was actually the Racist for condemning their flag — because it was their pride and their culture.