Confederate Flag Antics

This afternoon I will be spending a few hours with a French newspaper reporter to discuss the Civil War Sesquicentennial. He arrives in Charlottesville having already visited Atlanta and Gettysburg, where he spent some time with the folks at the Civil War Institute.  I plan on taking him to some of the Civil War related sites in town followed by a relaxing cup of coffee/cappuccino at my favorite cafe.  I like the fact that I will get to respond to much of what he has learned thus far on this trip.  Expect a full report in the following days.

Perhaps our discussion will eventually get around to the continued controversy surrounding the public display of the Confederate flag.  Today I learned that a “Larry the Cable Guy” impersonator out in Grants Pass, Oregon, of all places, was fired from his job as a bus driver because of his Redneck flag.  On the other hand, the Detroit Chapter of the NAACP is slated to honor Kid Rock, who has masterfully transformed himself into a Southern Rocker.

Right, and what I write here at CWM is an attack on Southern Heritage. :)

21 comments… add one

  • eric Mar 4, 2011

    some more headlines for you and your guest to mull over:
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20110304/us_time/08599205598100

    • Kevin Levin Mar 4, 2011

      I noticed it as well. Thanks for passing it along.

  • DG Foulke Mar 4, 2011

    Several years ago Selected Shorts had as one of its pieces the wonderful short story by Percival Everett — “The Appropriation of Cultures”. Everett’s black Daniel “appropriated” the “Stars and Bars” whilst in the Lion’s Den, the appropriation spread , and the flag soon enough was abandoned by its traditional supporters. It’s a terrifically humorous, educational and heart-warming tale which I highly recommend to all. As you wrote in an earlier post, “Allow it [the Confederate flag] to circulate in our communities and you lose any claim of ownership or even authority in defining its ‘real’ meaning.” True, that. You can d/l Everett’s piece from http://bit.ly/fGOJF5. (Just 6 1/2 mB) It’s well worth the listen.

  • Matt McKeon Mar 4, 2011

    Don’t take him for a cup of coffee/cappuccino! He’ll silently(or not so silently) compare it to a superior experience in France. Take him to a bbq joint. He’s thank you for it.

    • Kevin Levin Mar 4, 2011

      Good point.

  • Billy Bearden Mar 4, 2011

    Larry the Cable Guy is a sellout. He made his fame while wearing a hat with a little piece of a CBF on it, then when he became the voice of Mater he switched to a small US Flag to appease his PC handlers. Mr Webber is refusing to bend to PC forces, and I salute that. Standing for principals is rare in today’s society.
    You should defend him instead of a lame attempt at comparisons with sellouts and PC worshippers.

    • Kevin Levin Mar 4, 2011

      You’ve got to be kidding me. Are you seriously suggesting that the word “Redneck” is appropriate for that flag? LOL

      • Billy Bearden Mar 4, 2011

        Unlike me, there are folks who use the flag as a backdrop combined with other icons. Mr Webber is the most visable currently. A kind of parallel of the Jeff Foxworthy – “you might be a redneck if” I am a Flag purist, but I understand the mentality of the others. The flag with REDNECK is just as patriotic a symbol to the Webbers of the world as a US is to others. The small minded media and liberals would never understand, and can only holler “possible racism” as a coping method.
        I bet there isn’t a evil bone in Mr Webber’s entire body. For him to be attacked as he is suffering now is the equivalent of the poor guy who found the bomb at the Atlanta Olympics and was made a criminal by the media of the same mentality.
        In the end who wins in the Webber case but the real racists who act as journalists

        • Kevin Levin Mar 5, 2011

          I actually don’t think the guy should have been fired and I don’t think there is any evidence that he holds racist attitudes. I also don’t think that this has anything at all to do with Southern Heritage. Still, I find it strange that you are not just a bit disappointed in the way this symbol has been used.

  • Billy Bearden Mar 5, 2011

    No, the Webber case is nothing about ‘Southern Heritage” but about pride in a certain lifestyle. Hank Jr described it in”A Country Boy Can Survive” song where he states “We’re from North California and South Alabam and places all around this land” Mr Webber’s dad realized exactly his son’s beliefs, and found a flag design that spoke to that. Anti-DC, let me live as I see fit in peace without hate just taking care of myself and family. Not a flag I would advocate, but I understand those who rally around it.
    And for his pride in being a redneck and a peaceful contributer to society? Govt intrusion, media harrassment, personal attacks, loss of gainful employment – just so PC worshippers and media bigots can slap themselves on the back and get a cheap thrill up thier legs?
    I am sure that if the State of Jefferson had became reality, that Mr Webber would have never been a story

    • Kevin Levin Mar 5, 2011

      Would you care at all about this guy’s story if he had used a different symbol entirely to make a similar point? Why isn’t this a case of “flag desecration”? So, am I to assume that you don’t have a problem with imprinting other slogans and images on the Confederate flag?

      • Billy Bearden Mar 5, 2011

        You mean, just a few examples, a Confederate Flag with items like Dale Earnhardts #3, a multipoint Buck, a big fat largemouth Bass, a picture of Hank Jr, a MC Chopper, etc… Yes, I object to such use of any Confederate symbol in that manner, as I do oppose other groups like the homosexuals making the US flag into a rainbow design or the tea party making a Betsy Ross with “II” in the circle of stars.
        As I mentioned earlier, I am a flag purist.

        As to Mr Webber’s choice of banners, I am not sure what a redneck has in the ways of choices, but just for the sake of arguments, had it just said “REDNECK” I would still be as supportive, as the bottom line is that Mr Webber is being singled out as a non-PC conformist and is one of those persons I referred to in another post as being amongst the select populace who is OK to attack, demean, and belittle in the media and public eye. You said you discourage such behavior in your classroom. So, can I to assume that you might write a positive letter to the school bus company in favor of defending Mr Webber?

        • Kevin Levin Mar 5, 2011

          No, I won’t be writing a letter of support since I am not aware of all the facts. So, it’s ok for th Redneck to misuse/desecrate the flag. I just wanted to make sure I am understanding you.

          • Bob Pollock Mar 5, 2011

            I don’t think this guy is being “singled out.” He was asked to comply with the school district’s policy. It seems likely that the policy is aimed at the students, but you can’t ask the students to comply while the adults don’t. I agree that this guy probably has no racist intentions, but his own attitude is beside the point. What matters is the potency of the symbol itself; what it represents to others. If you read the article, it said the district is 37% minority students. Schools have a responsibility to protect the children under their care. Therefore the courts have held that they can enforce policies like this to avoid student conflicts. Here is an example:

            https://www.judicialview.com/Court-Cases/Education/School-Ban-on-Confederate-Flag-Clothing-Challenged/Racial-Incidents-Cited-as-Justification-for-New-Policy/20/5846

            The schools don’t have to wait for the violence to occur before adopting policies to prevent it. In a related sense, I am an Oakland Raiders fan. I have Raiders clothing and Raiders emblems on my truck. Unfortunately, Raiders symbols were adopted by gangs in California, causing schools to ban kids from wearing sports related clothing. If I was a teacher or a bus driver working at a school that had a policy against displaying Raiders symbols, I would comply.

            Having said this, I can see where this could be a slippery slope. Some people argue that the Stars and Stripes are racist. If I was told I couldn’t display the American flag, I’d have have to draw the line.

            • Andy Hall Mar 5, 2011

              Bob, I don’t disagree, but I don’t think this case is that complicated. Mr. Webber’s employer has the right to prohibit specific emblems or expressions on its property as it wishes, regardless of whether Webber considers it an expression of his heritage or not. That’s the employer’s First Amendment right..

              Billy’s tying himself in knots here, trying to rationalize his stated objection to some defacement of the CFB (“big fat largemouth Bass”) while finding the word “redneck” emblazoned across it acceptable (“I am not sure what a redneck has in the ways of choices”). I doubt that Billy would be too concerned if a school bus driver got fired for flying a Rainbow flag from his truck. The larger principle has little to do with it. The bottom line for Billy, clearly, is that Webber’s case is a convenient opportunity to complain again about “PC worshippers” — he mentions ominous but ill-defined forces of political correctness in three separate comments in this thread — and portray Mr. Webber as some sort of martyred hero. He’s not; he’s a stubborn man who’s put his wife and children at serious economic risk by defying a reasonable (and entirely legal) request from his employer. Mr. Webber has some serious thinking to do about his priorities.

              • Kevin Levin Mar 5, 2011

                You nailed the problem with Bearden’s outrage. It’s a hypocritical position to complain about heritage violations and look the other way in the case of this flag. This has nothing to do with PC or heritage. This guy made his decision and now he has to live with it.

        • Andy Hall Mar 5, 2011

          Just for the sake of arguments, had it just said “REDNECK” I would still be as supportive. . . .

          Just for the sake of arguments, had it just said “REDNECK” Mr. Webber likely would not have been asked to remove it. The Confederate Battle Flag is neither synonymous with reckneckism (redneckery? redneckitude?) nor the Southern heritage.

  • Barry Apr 2, 2011

    I can tell you a story about losing a job over political correctness and the Battle Flag. I know and agree with Billy. We live in trying times. People can make all kinds of statements. The Confederate Battle Flag to me represents the Confederate Soldier and nothing else. All the attacks on the flag is just pandering to hate groups. Since the Battle Flag is the property of the Confederate Soldier or descendants thereof what gives you people the right to decide how it is displayed.

    • Kevin Levin Apr 3, 2011

      Thanks for the comment, Barry. Unfortunately, no one individual has a monopoly on the definition and meaning of controversial symbols such as the Confederate flag. The flag lost its original meaning long ago and nothing you can say here will change that. There is always room for disagreement given how the flag was used as a symbol of “Massive Resistance” during the Civil Rights Movement.

    • Andy Hall Apr 3, 2011

      If the Confederate Battle Flag is the property of descendants of Confederate soldiers, I want my royalty check. ;-)

      • Woodrowfan Apr 3, 2011

        Me too! Heck, I had a great-great uncle killed in front of the Gin House at Franklin so I must get some extra bonus! Of course I also had a great-great Uncle fight for an Indiana unit so maybe there’s a deduction there…

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