Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentPolitics · 1 decade ago

Why do Southerners think the Confederate flag is a symbol of Heritage?

I just don't understand the whole confederate flag being placed in some people homes and government buildings in the South. It is undoubtedly linked to slavery and racism. So why do southerners still continue to defend it and support it? I've heard the heritage argument, but regardless, it stands for secession, racism, old world thinking.

I know there are southerners who don't support the flag, but why do some still support it?

15 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    "It is undoubtedly linked to slavery and racism."

    In your mind it is.

    Although, by virtue of people the very fact that some people claim it is NOT about slavery, I'd argue that the link for them is dubious at best.

    Yes, the South had slaves.

    No, not every Southern relic is thereby linked to slavery.

    No more than every Northern artifact is linked to bilking Native Americans out of land for beads or small pox ridden blankets or every Californian cultural aspect is linked to the Chinese building the railroads.

    "So why do southerners still continue to defend it and support it? I've heard the heritage argument, but regardless, it stands for secession, racism, old world thinking."

    This is the classic logical fallacy of "begging the question," i.e. the proposition to be proved (that it is about slavery and racism) is assumed implicitly or explicitly in one of the premises (yours). You asked people what it was about for them, they told you, and then you ignored their answer and assumed implicitly that your own view was still correct. If you truly want to understand this, YOU CANNOT IGNORE WHAT THE "OPPOSITION" TELLS YOU ABOUT THEIR VIEWS.

    To many, it means NO such thing as slavery. I'm one. I grew up in Middle Tennessee, went to school in Alabama, and moved to Texas as an adult. I have spent my life in the south. I metal detected and dug up Civil War artifacts, US and CSA both. I've stood and played on farms in the footprints of the old slave cabins when I was too young to know what they even were. I had ancestors on both sides of the war, though my Southern ancestors were dirt poor farmers who never owned a single slave. They were fighting for states rights, not just slavery. They had nothing to gain from slavery. Yet they fought and died for the South. What happened in the South with slavery was a HORRIBLE thing and a travesty of human rights on every level, but the South (and the war) was about a lot more than just that one, over-simplified, boiled down explanation.

    I think that is the major difference. People who view the flag as racist primarily tend to think about the old South in racist, slavery-oriented terms. Those who thing about the flag as rebellion or heritage think about the South on very different, and much more varied levels. Slavery was an aspect, but one of many and not even the biggest or most important aspect. Most who view it as heritage only see slavery as the most visible aspect of a deeper difference in rural and urban cultures and the distaste for rich, far-away lawmakers telling them what they could and couldn't do (a la the American Revolution).

    Yet, I do not find the flag offensive UNLESS being used to offend, which admittedly many people do.

    Yes, the flag does represent secession in a way, though I'd phrase it as rebellion. And many still don't think either are a bad thing. (Look, I'm GLAD the North won, we wouldn't be anywhere near where we are if they hadn't. Yet, as a Libertarian, I find the idea of forcing seceding states to stay in the Union odd, at best, and offensively aggressive at worst. We fought a revolution to break away from a country, but when some sought to break away from us it was somehow wrong?)

    A lot of more educated Southerners use the Stars and Bars when showing heritage. It shows the same, but without as much controversy, and it hasn't been continually used for a century to further gain a depreciating reputation.

    Try viewing it this way...Take a symbol you love and think if anyone could possibly find it offensive (if you agree with their view or not). Then justify your defense of it.

    Let's say you are a patriot and find nothing offensive about the American flag, for example. Yet, I'd dare say many people around the world do. Should you, or all of us, stop flying it?

    Let's say you have a Malcom X shirt you love. You don't think some people would be offended by it? Should you not be allowed to wear it?

    A Che Guevara shirt?

    A pro- or anti- abortion sign?

    A hat with a "naughty" word on it?

    The Fahrenheit 9/11 or Bowling for Columbine DVDs in their movie collection?

    Baggy pants? Gang colors? Body Piercings? Religious iconography of ANY type? A police uniform? Etc. Etc.

    Why do or should people continue to support ANY of these things, knowing that others find them offensive?

  • Amy
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    On the morning of 4 March 1861 large models of the proposed flags were hung on the walls of the Congressional chamber. The First National Flag "The Stars and Bars" was adopted on the same day it was to be raised over the capitol at Montgomery. A flag made of soft merino wool was completed within two hours of it's adoption by the Congress. The very first flag of the Confederate States of America was raised by Miss Letitia Christian Tyler, grand- daughter of President John Tyler. Six weeks later it was flying over Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. The Original First National Flag of the Confederacy can still be seen today at Beauvoir, which is the Jefferson Davis Memorial and Shrine, located in Biloxi, Mississippi, on the Gulf Coast Highway. It had 7 stars in a circle on a blue field, to represent the 7 states of the CSA. Later versions would have 11 stars and then eventually 13 stars as other states were admitted to the Confederacy. The bars consisted of two red and one white. In their hurry to adopt a flag and have it ready the same afternoon, the Congress forgot to enact a flag law. Nowhere in the statute books of the Confederate States is a Flag Act of 1861. In official use for over two years, the Stars and Bars was never established as the Confederate Flag by the laws of the land. The Stars and Bars flag was replaced in 1863 by the "Stainless Banner" Each state and unit had a different flag that it fought under, so to me the Stars and Bars is just another flag...the flag I choose to see as heritage is the Commonwealth of Virginia since my ancestors fought and in some cases died in defense of their home.

  • Who knows? like Palin's Husband who thinks that Alaska should no longer be a part of America so did the southern states who tried desparately to leave the union. A symbol of that struggle was the confederate flag. The flag itself is not racist, but the people who wield it are by an association with it. The gay/ homosexual community has adopted the rainbow, but I myself like rainbows. I am not homosexual. Over time meanings change. Twenty years ago the word crib meant a baby's bed. Say it now and it can be interpreted as someone's home.

  • truth
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    I am not racist and I don't want to hurt anyones feelings but I kinda like the flag. It is a symbol of heritage. Not one to be proud of though. I admit whenever I see someone displaying it in their homes or truck I stay clear of that person. I don't trust them. But I kinda like seeing it in government places and museums. To me it just stands for southern pride,heritage and independence. It doesn't do anyone any good to deny history, pretend bad things never happened, not admit that mistakes were made. I guess for the same reasons Jews do not pretend the Holocaust never happened. It is important that we not forget. That we acknowledge it happened and keep it as a reminder to never let something like that happen again.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I personally think the flag is somewhat offensive, for the reasons you stated. But, it does stand for where some people came from. You don't always have to be proud of your heritage, or background, or family history in order to represent it. Sometimes its just a reminder to you and to others what once was and how much better things are now. So, while I don't personally like the symbol, I understand that for some (not all) it is just a way to show pride in their forefathers, even if their forefathers did some bad things. I mean, we love our family even if they mess up, right?

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The subject is a waste of time, I agree with you, but it is also stereotyping southerners that may have lost family members in the civil war.

    This is going to make me sound real old, but my great grand father fought in the civil war (union) my grand father fought in WW1 my dad fought in WW2 and I served at the end of the Vietnam conflict and in Desert storm, so when you talk about flags they represent life lost, strength and vigilance, crossed cannons on a flag is held in reverence with me.

    (3/19 FA)

  • 1 decade ago

    i understand where you are coming from it is a silly thing but history can not be forgoten so easily i think that the flag is bogus i think all flags are crap i think we should just live .

    the government that is today is against all types of gangs and religions today doesnt understand that the government is viewed as a gang in itself trying to snuff the pride of thoose that exist under a banner , and for this the fighting will never end . sure there nned be law , if any thing the law shouldnt prosecute the banner of a crime but the crime itself thats the problem southerners along with many still have that pride its what they believe and until the rest of the country starts acknowlefging them to be just regular *** americans they will feel different and desire to be different and that difference is the flag that stands .

  • 1 decade ago

    I'm originally from the South and you are right. It is everywhere. People even put in in the back window of their truck. I understand where you are coming from, but I don't think they view it that way. They just see it as a symbol of being from the South and they are proud of that fact. I don't think they mean any harm or think that deeply about it.

    Source(s): Grew up in the south and around flag bearing neighbors & friends
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    If you only look at the Confederate flag as a symbol of racism and slavery, then you do not know American history. But let's play along, do you look at Malcolm X as a symbol of racism and hatred. Malcolm X taught folks to get a gun and kill whitey, so it must be racism and hatred. Look in all seriousness, there is two sides to every issue, and until we all can learn to look at issues from the other side, and not just our own, there will always be someone to claim that any issue is about racism.

  • 1 decade ago

    The 'heritage' argument is thrown out if they have any knowledge of the civil war. The fact is, this was one of several flags that was used during the war....not the first one, and not the last wasn't used the longest and wasn't the one used the most often. This particular flag has been used MORE often in hate than it was EVER used in battle. Anyone with any basic knowledge of the 'heritage' of the south should know this. I have YET to meet a southerner who flies that version of the confederate flag who doesn't have major issues--openly or privately--with black people.....and I was born and live in the 'mecca' of the south.....first state to secede from the nation.

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