Jump to content
Washington Football Team Logo
Extremeskins

The Confederate flag still making waves


Henry

Recommended Posts

I'm interested to hear thoughts on this from our largely conservative board.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A52100-2002Dec29.html

A Ban on Hate, or Heritage?

Ga. School Divided Over Confederate-Themed Shirts

By Michael A. Fletcher

Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, December 30, 2002; Page A01

CANTON, Ga. -- At the beginning of the school year, Dixie Outfitters T-shirts were all the rage at Cherokee High School. Girls seemed partial to one featuring the Confederate battle flag in the shape of a rose. Boys often wore styles that discreetly but unmistakably displayed Dixie Outfitters' rebel emblem logo.

But now the most popular Dixie Outfitters shirt at the school doesn't feature a flag at all. It says: "Jesus and the Confederate Battle Flag: Banned From Our Schools But Forever in Our Hearts." It became an instant favorite after school officials prohibited shirts featuring the battle flag in response to complaints from two African American families who found them intimidating and offensive.

The ban is stirring old passions about Confederate symbols and their place in Southern history in this increasingly suburban high school, 40 miles northwest of Atlanta. Similar disputes over the flag are being played out more frequently in school systems -- and courtrooms -- across the South and elsewhere, as a new generation's fashion choices raise questions about where historical pride ends and racial insult begins.

Schools in states from Michigan to Alabama have banned the popular Dixie Outfitters shirts just as they might gang colors or miniskirts, saying they are disruptive to the school environment. The rebel flag's modern association with white supremacists makes it a flashpoint for racial confrontation, school officials say.

"This isn't an attempt to refute Southern heritage," said Mike McGowan, a Cherokee County schools spokesman. "This is an issue of a disruption of the learning environment in one of our schools."

Walter C. Butler Jr., president of the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP, said it is unreasonable to ask African Americans not to react to someone wearing the rebel flag. "To ask black people to respect a flag that was flown by people who wanted to totally subjugate and dehumanize you -- that is totally unthinkable," he said.

But the prohibitions against flag-themed clothing have prompted angry students, parents, Confederate-heritage groups and even the American Civil Liberties Union to respond with protests and lawsuits that argue that students' First Amendment rights are being trampled in the name of political correctness.

"This is our heritage. Nobody should be upset with these shirts," said Ree Simpson, a senior soccer player at Cherokee who says she owns eight Confederate-themed shirts. "During Hispanic Heritage Month, we had to go through having a kid on the intercom every day talking about their history. Do you think they allow that during Confederate History Month?"

Simpson said no one complains when African American students wear clothes made by FUBU, a black-owned company whose acronym means "For Us By Us." Worse, she says, school officials have nothing to say when black students make the biting crack that the acronym also means "farmers used to beat us." Similarly, she says, people assume that members of the school's growing Latino population mean no harm when they wear T-shirts bearing the Mexican flag.

Simpson believes the rebel flag should be viewed the same way. The days when the banner was a symbol of racial hatred and oppression are long gone, she contends. Far from being an expression of hate, she says, her affection for the flag simply reflects Southern pride. "I'm a country girl. I can't help it. I love the South," she said. "If people want to call me a redneck, let them."

It is a sentiment that is apparently widely shared at Cherokee, and beyond. The day after Cherokee Principal Bill Sebring announced the T-shirt ban on the school's intercom this fall, more than 100 students were either sent home or told to change clothes when they defiantly wore the shirts to school. In the weeks that followed, angry parents and Confederate heritage groups organized flag-waving protests outside the school and at several school board meetings.

"All hell broke loose," said Tom Roach, an attorney for the Cherokee County school system. When principals banned the shirts at other county high schools in the past, he said, "there was no public outcry. No complaints. No problems."

But the Confederate flag was a particularly hot topic in Georgia this year. Gov. Roy Barnes (D) was upset in his reelection bid last month in part because he successfully pushed for redesign of the Georgia state flag, which was formerly dominated by the Confederate battle emblem. On the new state banner, the emblem is reduced to a small icon. During the campaign, Barnes's opponent, Sonny Perdue, called for a referendum on the new flag, a position that analysts say helped make him the state's first elected Republican governor since Reconstruction.

Elsewhere in the South, civil rights groups have mobilized to remove the banner in recent years. Activists had it removed from atop the South Carolina statehouse and from other public places, saying it is an insult to African Americans and others who view it as a symbol of bigotry and state-sanctioned injustice. But that campaign has stirred a resentful backlash from groups that view it as an attack on their heritage.

"We're not in a battle just for that flag, we're in a battle to determine whether our Southern heritage and culture survives," said Dan Coleman, public relations director for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, one of the groups that joined the protests at Cherokee High School.

The battle over Confederate-themed clothing has made its way to the courts, which generally have sided with school dress codes that prevent items that officials deem disruptive. In a 1969 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District that school officials could not prohibit students from wearing black armbands to protest the Vietnam War, but only because the court found that the armbands were not disturbing the school atmosphere.

By contrast, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit earlier this year revived a lawsuit by two Kentucky students suspended for wearing shirts featuring the Confederate flag. The court said the reasons for the suspension were vague and remanded the case to a lower court, where it was dismissed after the school district settled with the students.

Also, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit earlier this fall sided with a Washington, N.J., student who challenged his school's ban on a T-shirt displaying the word "redneck." The student was suspended from Warren Hills Regional High School for wearing the shirt, which school officials said violated their ban on clothing that portrays racial stereotypes. The school's vice principal said he took "redneck" to mean a violent, bigoted person.

But the court overturned the ban, saying the shirt was not proven to be disruptive. School officials, noting the school has a history of racial tensions, have promised to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

"Since last year, we have gotten well over 200 complaints about the banning of Confederate symbols in schools," said Kirk Lyons, lead counsel for the Southern Legal Resource Center, a North Carolina-based public-interest law firm that works to protect Confederate heritage and is in discussions with some families at Cherokee High School. He said the center is litigating six lawsuits and that dozens of others challenging Confederate clothing bans have been filed across the country.

As the controversy grows, Confederate-themed clothing has become more popular than ever. The owner of Georgia-based Dixie Outfitters says the firm sold 1 million T-shirts last year through the company's Web site and department stores across the South. Most of the shirts depict Southern scenes and symbols, often with the Confederate emblem.

"This is not your typical, in-your-face redneck type of shirt," said Dewey Barber, the firm's owner. "They are espousing the Southern way of life. We're proud of our heritage down here."

Barber said he is "troubled" that his shirts are frequently banned by school officials who view them as offensive. "You can have an Iraqi flag in school. You can have the Russian flag. You can have every flag but the Confederate flag. It is puzzling and disturbing," he said.

In an angry letter to Cherokee Principal Sebring posted on its Web site, Dixie Outfitters called the two families who complained about the shirts -- but asked not to be identified publicly -- "race baiters."

"Are you going to ban the American flag, if one or two people out of 1,800 find it offensive, because it had more to do with the slave trade than any other flag, including the battle flag?" the letter asks.

It is an argument made by many who do not understand why some people find the Confederate battle flag deeply offensive. "The Confederate flag itself is not racist," said Rick Simpson, Ree's father. "It was the American flag that brought slaves to this country."

David Ray, a Cherokee County contractor, said his son, Eric, has been punished with in-school suspensions a couple of times this year for defying a Confederate T-shirt ban at Etowah High, another Cherokee County school. He said he couldn't understand why the shirts are causing such a fuss.

"Slavery ended almost 150 years ago," Ray said. "You might have some parents who still hold the slavery issue or black versus white deep in their hearts. But for the most part, I think, people are over that."

Link to post
Share on other sites
David Ray, a Cherokee County contractor, said his son, Eric, has been punished with in-school suspensions a couple of times this year for defying a Confederate T-shirt ban at Etowah High, another Cherokee County school. He said he couldn't understand why the shirts are causing such a fuss.

this guy must not watch the news or read at all.

Link to post
Share on other sites

When is it alright that everyone in this country can promote their heritage, unless you are white. If memery serves me correct, 80% of people that lived in the south, during slavery, did not own or didn't want slaves. I traced my family tree, and not one in my family owned slaves. When I wear my Dixie Outfitter shirt, or fly my Confederete flag, I do it for heritage, not hate.

Next, they want white people to pay black people money because there Great, Great, Great grand father was a slave. What the f**k? No one in my family owned slaves, so why should I pay for this crap. All this is doing is further dividing us. What we need is for people to all come together, building better communitys, and living together in harmony. All this is going to do is make people hate each other more.

If schools want to band this, then they have to band EVERYTHING that is related to your heritage, no matter what color you are.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest SkinsHokie Fan

My problem with the confederate flag is it represents a group of people that commited TREASON against the United States of America. Therefore if you love the South more then your country then fine wear it I have no problems. But if you are a true American you will not propagate a symbol of treason against America

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is an interesting take I read on the WP forum. Hadn't thought of it myself:

------

I don't know if the Confederate flag should be banned. It's a very thorny free-speech issue.

But I do know that Southerners (and Northerners) who argue that the flag is about heritage don't know enough about history. For me, what the flag represented in 1963 is much more important than what it represented in 1863.

And what did it represent in 1963? Opposition to civil rights and desegregation. Not in the hands of Klansmen burning crosses at night, but in the hands of Southern governors and legislators who were defending the evil of Jim Crow. The Confederate flag was dead for decades when Strom Thurmond's Dixiecrats adopted it as their symbol in 1948. After the Brown vs BOE decision, Southern states began incorporating the flag into their state flags. The whole point was to defy the federal government's push to do away with segregation, under the guise of "protecting Southern culture" and "state's rights." What baloney.

So whatever historical significance the Confederate flag had has been forever destroyed. When I see the flag, I don't think of Robert E. Lee or the Battle of Antietam. I think of George Wallace, Bull Connor, Medgar Evers, "Segregation now and forever," and demonstrators being attacked with firehoses and German shepherds.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Couple of thoughts I used to have on this subject...

--- Why does no one mention that the same hate groups who fly the confederate flag as their symbol also fly the American flag too?

--- What about the millions of innocent natives (as in Natove Americans) who were slaughtered under the guise of the American Flag?

That all said...the misnamed "Confederate Flag", aka the Beauregard Battle Flag (or the Flag of the Army of the Potomac - later named the Army of Northern Virginia), and I believe it was the 3rd flag of the confederacy. The 1st two flags looking too similar to the US Flag and leading to countless confusion of the battlefield.

But I digress...the thing is...to me, the "Confederate Flag" will always be a symbol of hate. I used to be against the removal of this - I bought into all the "southern heritage" hogwash. But really, what heritage is there from that era that's really worth saving? Who cares if only 20% owned slaves? Wasnt that 20% too many?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I dont care about the confederate flag at all.

But the reality is stated in that article. More slaves were bought, sold, beaten etc under the American Flag than under the confederate flag.

Also, the points about other t-shirts and flags makes sense too. If the Confederate flag is out, so then should all flags and all clothing or insignias that offend even 1 person.

It's a slippery slope.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I know this isn't going to fly well here, but is anyone surprised that it was a Republican who ran for gov saying that he wanted a referendum to put the confederate flag back in it's prominant space on their flag?

Trent Lott got in trouble because what he said brought out the truth that the Republican party has taken a racist side as strategy in the South. They'll call it States rights or Southern pride or whatever. Meanwhile they'll ignore or pretend to ignore the historical context of the confederate flag is how it was used in the 1960's.

The gov opting to make the flag an issue is just another example of the Republican party sending a message to the white still a little racist south.

It's a policy that has worked for the Republicans in the past becuase it's thinly veiled. Most will look and say "it's just a flag what's the big deal. It's heritage." In the South, I'll agree it's heritage, but it's something more too. It has been and is a symbol for hatred.

Link to post
Share on other sites

WHOOOOAAAAAA!!!

Total bull****.

Perdue ran stating that he would allow a statewide vote on the issue. That's a strange concept for Dems to grasp. Allowing the people to decide for themselves.

It was Democratic Govs for 100 years that kept it as the flag and when they finally changed it in GA, a Democrat still kept it as part of the new flag.

It is Democrats in Miss and SC that have kept it visible.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, and the Dixiecrats were Dems too. It doesn't make it anyless shameful. We Dems have them in our party too. They didn't all go over to the Republicans.

Putting the issue to a vote is a nice symbol to hide behind.

I'd point out that the vague "states rights" and "southern heritage" have played pretty well in the south with the voters. That doesn't mean that putting it up to a vote isn't just a play for those same voters they have been courting since Reagan. IF you doubt they have been courting them, I'd direct you the NYtimes editorial peace written by one of Reagan's campaign managers last week lamenting that the party had chosen that route in the Reagan campaign. He thought (and I agree) the Republicans could have carried the campaign easily without that tactic.

Link to post
Share on other sites

So who get's to decide if not the people themselves?

And why is the Confederate Flag "evil" but the American flag not?

Why cant white kids wear shirts with roses colored in confederate colors but a black kid can where a Malcom X shirt?

As I said earlier, I dont care about the falg at all, I just want the same rules to apply to everyone. I also want people to stop telling lies about republicans with regards to race.

The GOP hasnt controlled ANYTHING in Georgie (Gov,State house, state senate) in 100 years. IF the Dems are the party that's supposed to be antiracist, why havent they done anything in that time?

Link to post
Share on other sites

And yet when a Dem does do something, what is the platform of the Republican? "Let's see wha twe can do to undo that." There's your message. The vote is just a political way of covering his ...

Of course the Dems were wrong to take so long. I haven't debated that.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What the Dem did, was not remove the flag. He simply made it smaller. OVer 80 percent of Georgians according to the AJC at the time dissaproved of the NEW flag. Shouldn't the people of GA have a right to determine what represents them?

And why do you get to determine his opinion? He hasn't (to my knowledge) stated he supports the confederate flag.

And what about the equality issue? Do you think that they should ban the Con flag but allow the other examples?

Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as the Confederate Flag thing in the south. There's no hiding what those wanting to fly it or wear it are trying to say.

As for letting them wear it on a teeshirt in school I'm kind of open. I think it depends on the policies in regard to dress code at the given school.

You can't force people not to be racists. It would be unamerican to stop these people from showing there true colors.

Surely it's a slippery slope. Do these people not have enough other problems to deal with to waste time trying to push that flag on other people?

Link to post
Share on other sites

The beauty of free speech is that it shows people for who they are. It's also the wonderful thing about the clothes people wear- quite often it's a statement about the wearer's vision of himself. Let them wear their stupid clothing instead of banning everything. The flag is a symbol, after all, and nothing more or less.

Link to post
Share on other sites

geez...arguing over symbols...

when the dems stop promising and start delivering then I will pay attention to the invectives. who was the last Democratic elected or appointed African American President? Vice President? Secretary of Defense? Secretary of State? Foreign Security Advisor? Majority Leader? House Whip? Presidential candidate? Federal Reserve chairman? JCS Charman?

hmmmmm...........perhaps it is better to focus on symbols...don't want to draw too much attention elsewhere. racism is often in the eyes of the beholder......

Link to post
Share on other sites

Um, Al? You are getting on the Democrats case because the country hasn't elected a Black president yet? That's really the American public's choice, not the Democrats. The Democrats are still the only major party to put up a female or a Jewish VP candidate, or Catholic Presidential candidate. They may have their faults, but refusal to diversify isn't one of them.

As far as this flag issue goes, it's a school board banning the flag on shirts in schools in response to African American protest. Are you suggesting that the Democratic party is secretly behind this in order to draw attention away from the fact that Jessie Jackson hasn't won the Democratic presidential primary yet?

Link to post
Share on other sites

School uniforms would take care of all of this, but since that isn't going to happen, you either have to allow everybody to wear their heritage/ethnic origin stuff or ban it all. The libs have made this a no win situation for schools, becasue while they have basically made it cool to promote that you are african american or mexican american or martain american or whatever, it's not cool to be southern american because that might offend someone, and we can't be having that. Too bad they don't spend more time teaching people to be just plain AMERICAN.

But I do know that Southerners (and Northerners) who argue that the flag is about heritage don't know enough about history. For me, what the flag represented in 1963 is much more important than what it represented in 1863

It wouldn't hurt this guy to read a history book, either. Clearly a product of a public school system

Link to post
Share on other sites

EG,

You caught me traveling bud, just checking in from time to time. That being said, it's a shame I can't give you a dissertation about the Civil War without refreshing my memory and brushing up in a couple of my books , since one of my degrees are in history.

As to the flags, there were 5 flags that represented the Confederacy, I believe. The one that gets everyone riled up nowdays is commonly referred to as the battle flag, so named because it was flown in battle and then embroidered with writing as to which campaign that unit had participated in.

As to what is heritage..all of Confederate history is direct heritage to me, as I can trace my family back through the Civil War and beyond. I actually had family members fight on both sides. One branch of my Mom's side can be traced in an obscure way to R.E. Lee and Light Horse Harry Lee. The other branch of my family ( We don't talk about them much ;) ) was from Pennsylvania and fought in the Irish Brigade. Which was "the good side" pretty much depends on where you grew up. Me, having grown up in the Shenendoah Valley in Va, where a lot of the actio took place, the South was the good side. Do I still think that today? No, becasue if the south had won, this would obviously be a very different country and even world. I like the way things turned out. That having been said, more people need to read some history ( and I mean real history, in un-PC books) to find out the real issues of the Civil War before they jump into the fray repeating things of which they know very little. And yes, I am talking about the one's who thnk the whole thing was over slavery alone. I'll let others chime in for reasons they think the war started, then I'll write back to let you know who was right and who was wrong.

As for what I relate to; I think everyone knows that I am in the military. There has been a member of my family in the military for almost 200 years. Not all of them survived their service, but it is a matter of pride that we have served this country almost since it was founded. That sort of military pride was exemplified by southern officers, among others. Some of the most tactically brilliant and inspiring officers ever produced in this country came from the south. Washington, Lee, Jackson, Patton to name a few. That is what I relate to, as well as studying some of their campaigns and manuevers, as I consider myself a rusty student of history. They were some of the most brilliant is history and are still taught today at our military academies. If other people want to associate all that with other stuff, that's their problem.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I just finished reading an interesting book: "Confederates in the Attic." It's a look at how different people in different states today are still affected by theCivil War.

Flag/T-shirt bans were touched on. There's no easy answer here. Any ban infringes on freedom. In some areas, however, displaying the flag can incite violence, no matter what it's supposed to stand for.

There was an in-depth look at a case in Kentucky where a young man stopped to get gas while flying the flag on his truck. He was spotted, followed and shot and killed (with his wife in the truck) on the road by a group of 4 youths. None of the 4 youths really had an understanding of the historical or adoptive symbol of the flag. They just saw it and acted. These are the types of actions that lead to these bans.

As to the flags themselves, this link http://americancivilwar.com/south/conflag/southflg.html discusses the THREE official flags of the confederacy, of which two are similar but none identical to the flag commonly reffered to today as the "Confederate Flag."

Finally, AirSarge, as to the causes of the War:

The South viewed the election of Lincoln as proof that the Union was moving in a direction that they didn't want to go. The ability to self-govern at state level was of great importance (as is commonly called "States Rights" in these debates). Slavery was an issue connected to this. The South considered slaves their property and any movement to emancipate was, to them, essentially the government taking their property from them.

They believed states should be self-governing to the point that, if they didn't believe in the direction the Union was moving, they felt they had the right to secede and do things their way. Of course, as in many government squabbles, money was a big factor as well. The South clung to their "states rights" and "property" arguments largely because their economy was largely dependent on it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Kilmer17

The Playmaker

Posts: 1237

(2.44 Posts Per Day)

posted on December-30th-2002 01:35 PM

------------------------------------------------------------------------

I dont care about the confederate flag at all.

But the reality is stated in that article. More slaves were bought, sold, beaten etc under the American Flag than under the confederate flag.

Also, the points about other t-shirts and flags makes sense too. If the Confederate flag is out, so then should all flags and all clothing or insignias that offend even 1 person.

It's a slippery slope.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Member# 410 | Location: | Registered: Aug 2001

What if that extends to wearing your Redskins jersey?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ahhhh, someone doing some research. I love it! And I stand corrected, there were only three flags that represented the confederate government, and then they had the battle flag, which also served as the naval flag, and then numerous state flags. There was also the Bonnie Blue flag, of which most people are so ignorant you could flag it up the flagpole at any state capitol and no one would know what it represented.

There was an in-depth look at a case in Kentucky where a young man stopped to get gas while flying the flag on his truck. He was spotted, followed and shot and killed (with his wife in the truck) on the road by a group of 4 youths. None of the 4 youths really had an understanding of the historical or adoptive symbol of the flag. They just saw it and acted. These are the types of actions that lead to these bans.

So I ask, what does this say for these four upstanding individuals? Who here could be considered a bigot and more importantly, what does it say for how they were brought up? Just a question.

ANd, you have part of the reason correct. Keep on going!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...