Subtle and Not So Subtle

I was doing some back-to-school clothes shopping over at Dixie Outfitters when I came across these two gems for my pick-up truck.  From now on I would appreciate not hearing about the Confederate flag being disgraced and ridiculed by non-Southerners.  It seems that the good people at Dixie Outfitters do a fine job of that all on their own. 


Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth

“Levin’s study is the first of its kind to blueprint and then debunk the mythology of enslaved African Americans who allegedly served voluntarily in behalf of the Confederacy.”–Journal of Southern History

Purchase your copy today!

8 comments… add one
  • Sherree Aug 30, 2008 @ 18:38

    Thank you Penny for your comment. I can’t speak for the author, only for myself. There are more explicit images, including one that depicts black men and women picking cotton and another with a snarling pit bull on it. There are DO catalogues online if you want to verify this. Also, there are links on some franchise sites to overtly offensive videos that spell it all out quite clearly.

  • Penny in Texas Aug 30, 2008 @ 11:25

    I don’t understand the problem with those two pictures, either, Lisa. Sherree & the author do, but they don’t explain what they find offensive.

    While the top one might very well tick off the folks at PETA, I don’t see any connection to racism or stereotyping. Admittedly the word “coon” is an old-timey pejoritive, but it’s rarely used any more in my experience. Haven’t heard it in years (but I’m an old lady with a long memory). “Coon” is also the commonly used shortened version of the word “racoon” (if you don’t know what a racoon is, look it up). I highly doubt people are going to refrain from calling racoons coons just to please you, so don’t ask.

    The portrayal of coon hunting, which is what is portrayed in this case, has nothing to do with humans who happen to have black skin. Even humans with black skin go coon hunting, for heaven’s sake. It’s a deplorable sport, imo, and I don’t approve of it as I don’t think it’s particularly sporting for either the dogs or the racoon and I feel some compassion for both. But it’s not racist and not stereostyping.

    As for bass fisherman, well, come on … they live to fish and this, too, doesn’t have anything to do with the aforementioned r/s. I actually know some fine yankee CEOs who’ve taken up the sport and are obsessed with catching the next big one. So, what’s the problem???

    Since the author finds DO to be such a repulsive retailer with such morally compromised goods, it does seem he/she could have found more explicit items to cite than these. I have no doubt they exist, so why not use them? As it is, this appears to be some pretty radical knee jerking to me.

  • Sherree Aug 27, 2008 @ 8:53

    Thank you, Lisa. The more I read about DO, the less I like it. I am not certain how legal battles go on issues like this one. The NAACP and the Southern Poverty Law Center are, though. Maybe they will take a look at this. I did read that the ACLU has backed some of the DO franchisers and their right to freedom of expression. If there is no legal recourse, the best thing to do is encourage people not to buy the company’s products.

    It is to your credit and YOUR “Southern” heritage, that sounds a lot like mine, that you do not understand these images. I am not sure that I fully understand the second one, but I get the first. If you ever have the time and the inclination and you haven’t done so already, you might want to read William Faulkner’s Go Down, Moses or Toni Morrison’s Beloved, or any of the slave narratives, then you will understand just how offensive and cynical that image is. Glad to know you are out there.


  • Lisa Aug 26, 2008 @ 22:19

    There is nothing that riles me up more than Dixie Outfitters and their merchandise. I love the line that says they “produce clothing overflowing with Southern pride and morals.” Oh please…. There’s nothing I find more disgraceful as a Southerner than the 1st Louisiana Native Guards t-shirt. I have to wonder what the men in that photo would say if they knew 150 years later that their image would be used to sell t-shirts promoting them as the men they were fighting against for their freedom. It absolutely infuriates me. Its nothing but a lie. Sometimes I wonder if there is any legal recourse for this (maybe this would be a better case for the NAACP than what they are doing now, since it is based on fact and not so much opinion), people need to know that Dixie Outfitters is selling a shirt that completely misrepresents the men in the photo.

    Dixie Outfitters is very popular around here and it’s not uncommon to see people wearing/displaying their items. I think part of the problem is that much of what they have does fit their description of “Southern pride” and “charm” (at least to most people around, not necessarily myself) and that’s how they get away with it. Then again, you do have those who wear the ones I consider stereotypical proudly, simply because they are that stereotype (or is it really a stereotype???). If nobody bought them, they wouldn’t be selling them.

    In all seriousness, as much as I dislike DO, I honestly can’t figure out what’s wrong with the two car tags posted, except for the battle flag. Am I missing something? Granted, you wouldn’t find them on my car, but those are relatively mild compared to some of their other stuff. I wouldn’t be suprised to see them around here because coon hunting and bass fishing are pretty popular. I don’t consider it to be a stereotype, unlike much of what DO promotes.

    Btw, Sharee, as far as Dixie Outfitters, the SCV, and endorsements, you might be on to something….

  • Sherree Aug 26, 2008 @ 7:59

    I truly have no idea. A simple explanation may be that white Southerners who are not interested in the type of product that Dixie Outfittters produces are unaware that the company exists. I never heard of it until I saw the information on your blog. The more complex reasons are perhaps areas for future study. At any rate, I find the images totally offensive on every level. Thank you for the post.

  • Kevin Levin Aug 26, 2008 @ 7:36

    Thanks for the comment Sherree. I agree entirely that neither Dixie Outfitters nor the SCV has a monopoly on “Southern Heritage”. What I don’t get is why people tolerate the blatant stereotypes concerning white southerners.

  • Sherree Aug 26, 2008 @ 7:06

    Hi Kevin,

    This is Sherree Tannen. My name did not appear on the post for some reason. I just want for you to know that I am the person who made the comment about Dixie Outfitters. I truly cannot believe what I have read about this company. It is as though racism is a societal virus that comes back again and again in ever more virulent and insidious forms. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Please, readers, look into this matter and consider not buying products from companies under this umbrella organization.


  • Anonymous Aug 26, 2008 @ 6:08

    Well, well, well. This is certainly a surreal moment.

    I just finished watching Michelle Obama make an impassioned, eloquent, heart felt speech about her husband, about the United States, and about the future of our country, then checked into Civil War Memory, which has become a window onto the world, and stepped through the looking glass.

    Dixie Outfitters, who do you think you are? Let me state it again–you, and people like you, do not represent Southern heritage. You do not even represent yourselves, but a caricature of you are, were, and might be.

    I googled this company, Kevin. It appears that the founder of the franchise is not so much interested in his so called version of Southern history and heritage, but in making money. He is doing quite well now, too, demeaning Southerners, white and black.

    Sons of Confederate Veterans: Here is your chance to prove that you are not racist and/or sexist. Dixie Outfitters is looking for an endorsement from you. Are you going to endorse this company or not? If so, do not have the audacity to say that you are not racist. And oh, by the way, I am not a “revisionist” historian. I am a Southerner with three direct ancestors who served in the Confederate Army, two of whom were killed in battle and one of whom survived the Civil War, headed our large extended family, worked side by side with black men and women after the Civil War, insisted that one black man in particular who was his friend did not sit outside to eat, as was the custom then, but sat at the table with him, taught his grandchildren to do the same, who in turn taught their children, who in turn taught theirs. You may not claim the South as yours–either the black history of the South, or the white. Dixie Outfitters is a company using racist, sexist, and stereotypic, derogatory regional images to make money. Who are you?

    The best way to fight racism that teams up with capitalism is to hit the racists where it hurts–in the pocketbook. That won’t work with Dixie Outfitters, however, because the men and women who feel compelled to patronize the franchise are not going to boycott it. Companies that come under a larger umbrella that includes Dixie Outfitters can be boycotted, however. The following information was taken from the website of a group that calls itself “WSI Internet Consultants”:

    Q. What is the Dixie Outfitters franchise?

    In the southern United States, pride is a big matter. “The South shall rise again” is an increasingly popular motto amongst Southerners, and this is where the Dixie Outfitters franchise got its start. Dixie Outfitters franchises produce clothing overflowing with Southern pride and morals. Southerners are encouraged to establish and manage Dixie Outfitters franchises in every state, spreading Southern charm and the symbol of the Confederate flag. The South is incredibly proud of its roots, and wants to make everyone else a part of that. If the Confederate flag is a little bit much for you, check out safer bets like WSI Internet Consultants.

    – Elizabeth Miranda

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    WSI has gained the attention of Entrepreneur Magazine for 7 years running as the #1 ranked business in the Information and Technology Category. This is a company with a proven track record and proven system. Right now WSI is recruiting individuals with an entrepreneurial flare and a desire to run their own successful business. Sound like you? Why not apply for more information today?

    What better time than right now to become a successful business owner with a continuous revenue stream? Build your business under a methodology that’s got a proven track record. You don’t need to have any technical skills to get started, because WSI will completely train you, certify you, and provide you ongoing support. This is a company that has been building success for 12 years.

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