Letter: For many, Confederate flag means ‘I’m a Southerner’

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Gentle Ones:

One of your readers wrote in the Opinion section (Feb. 21) that “any son of (a Confederate veteran) . . . would have died over 100 years ago” [“Confederate Flag Project Reflects More Than Bad Taste”]. I beg to argue his math.

Now, it is correct that a Civil War veteran himself would have died over 100 years ago, but not necessarily a son of a veteran. To wit: The three children of my great-grandfather, a Union Civil War veteran, died in 1921, 1928 and 1962 — all of which were less than 100 years ago.

The Confederate flag for many people simply says, “I’m a Southerner.” I remember my mother’s horror when she found a Confederate flag decal on my high school notebook, which I had placed there to demonstrate my membership in a clique that was from West Virginia. That’s all it meant to me, with no thought of fighting to maintain slavery (the “state’s right” that the Southerners were trying to hold onto). I suspect that many flag holders have no deeper thought than mine was. For those who wave the flag while giving a Nazi salute or mouthing denigrations of various groups of people, however, it is a different matter.

Symbols can have deep meaning. I grew up in World War II. I still cannot stand to see a swastika, which to me is ugly and hateful. Why pointedly display a symbol that you know will upset some people unless that is your aim in the first place? As another writer has remarked, what we need in our society (not just Asheville) is more kindness. However, the Bully-in-Chief in the White House is modeling behavior that is just the opposite of kindness. What will we become?

— AA Lloyd
Asheville

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19 thoughts on “Letter: For many, Confederate flag means ‘I’m a Southerner’

  1. Lulz

    LOL lemme guess, let’s ban it. You know, it ain’t like the 1st means anything. Or the 2nd or even the 4th. But then again, communist and the Bill of Rights don’t go hand in hand.

    • Shultz!

      Don’t think that’s where the writer was coming from. More like, why be not be considerate of your neighbor…you know…more christian. Example – I like to listen to death metal, but my neighbors definitely don’t & find it offensive. Do I blast it out my window anyhow just ‘cuz i am allowed to by law? No, because I don’t want to be a jerk & being empathic & considerate is the right way to live.

      • Captain Blastoff

        Nothing at all wrong with being considerate of your neighbor. Especially if your neighbor is, like wise, considerate of you. However, when your neighbor is offended by something you display, that you know should not be offensive to an informed person on the subject of the display, what are your options? Your neighbor, being offended because someone told him he should be, by your display is being highly inconsiderate of you in asking that you not display the item in question. The Confederate Flag is but one of many items that illicit a bad reaction due to ignorance of actual history. I have researched that time period for 17+ years. No informed person would be offended at the sight of a Confederate Flag. On the other hand, the US Flag, and the British Flag, among many others, flew over the slave ships travelling to Africa to trade rum and other goods to the Africans for the slaves the Africans were holding. Do we ban the display of all the different flags that flew over slave ships? Do we ban the Flags of Africa for their part in the slave trade? How about what was done to the Native Americans in this country under the US Flag? Think that might be offensive to folks such as myself as a descendant of the Cherokee’s? Does the Trail of Tears come to your mind? How about the US Flag and the Plains Indians? To me, no, I do not find the US Flag offensive no more than I find the Confederate or African Flags offensive. My Ancestors have fought and died and bled in every war this Nation has been involved in, starting in 1776. I have Ancestors on both sides of the War for Southern Independence. Or, as some call it, the War of Northern Invasion. There are those who, in abject ignorance, have done vile things under the Confederate Flags and the US Flags. I respect both for the many good things done under both. But, then again, I have actually done research on the issue and know what I am talking about. I do not simply parrot the opinions of the uninformed or the misinformed. I guess that makes all the difference in the world, I know the history.

        • Shultz!

          Thank you for the reply – i appreciate you taking the time. The history of a symbol, while interesting, is not as important as how it’s currently being used – symbols are very fluid things. What is the symbol most widely used for today? That usage – not its historical usage – is what defines its current meaning & how it’s perceived. For that particular symbol, the majority of usage in the 21st century, as perceived by the greater populace, has been by white supremacy and/or segregationist groups. Stop its use in this context & its meaning may perhaps change again.

          Regarding your initial question as to your options, well, you can either respect your neighbor’s feelings or not – you cannot control how they feel. You can try to sway their opinion, but that is all. So if you don’t want to respect your neighbor, that’s your right by law – just don’t expect any respect in return.

  2. Jason

    Exactly! It’s an identity… regardless of how disgusting the flag is and what it stands for

    • Captain Blastoff

      Just out of curiosity, what is your opinion of the many flags that flew over the slave ships that sailed to Africa to trade rum and other goods to the Africans for the slaves they were holding? How about not just National Flags, but maybe include a few State Flags, such as from any of the New England States that ran nearly the entire slave trade for many, many years, sailing to Africa, buying slaves and selling them wherever they could find a market, including Central and South America? Do you have any issues with those Flags?

  3. Lulz

    LOL here’s all we need to know:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/n-y-no-1-losing-residents-move-states-article-1.3712413

    “New York over the past year continued to lose more residents to other states than it gained — even as the overall population grew slightly thanks to a continued influx of immigrants, Census data shows.”

    It’s bad enough that these people move here because their own states suck. It’s even worse that they come here and judge people who are different from them. Along with increasing the cost of living and worsening the quality of living.

  4. Johnny to the A

    What will we become?

    Walking corpses due to death by a thousand cuts. All inflicted by social media.

    That and the vengeful population of Asheville wants to see anyone burn who isn’t aligned with their perverse beliefs.

  5. hauntedheadnc

    For me, putting the “NC” in my address whenever I write it means I’m a Southerner. Likewise the fact that my family has been here since the 1770’s (the white part at any rate; the Cherokee part has been here much longer), and we have streets named after us.

    I really don’t need the losers’ flag to tell me I’m Southern.

    • Captain Blastoff

      If you were actually a Southerner, you would know your history well enough to take pride in the South, your Confederate Ancestors and yourself.

      • hauntedheadnc

        Well, I can tell you that I’ve never been prouder of those Confederate ancestors as I was when I got to see the bill of sale for a nine-year-old slave girl that one of them had bought. Someone came across it while they were tracking down our family tree, and they brought it to the family reunion and passed it around. Why, I was so proud I could have just burst.

  6. Godslayer

    The Confederate flag for many people simply says, “I’m a stupid redneck.”

  7. Tourist

    Having driven through 38 states, I have seen the Confederate flag a lot. The two states that I have personally seen it flown the most were New York and Pennsylvania (many were brand new flags). Those two states aren’t in the south, nor were they part of the Confederacy. How can someone from there claim that the Confederate flag is only about Southern pride?

    • Captain Blastoff

      How do you know they are from there? Maybe they moved there FROM the South to take a job or for a job transfer. Think.

  8. Captain Blastoff

    I am, after many years, still amazed at the ignorance of actual true history that abounds within the commentary following articles such as the one that got this ball rolling. First, to claim that the States Rights the Confederates were fighting for was the right to own slaves is the pinnacle of ignorance. After 17+ years of research on the subject, I have found the lowest estimates of slave owners in the South to be around 5% and the high end runs about 15%. Additionally, some of those Southern slave owners were black. There were 4 slave holding States in the union throughout the war. Were they attacking the South to end slavery there while retaining the institution of slavery in the northern States? Idiocy, plain and simple. Further research has shown, without question, that nearly the entire slave trade was carried on in America by the New England States and New York. It was from northern ports the slave ships sailed, first under the British Flag, then under the American Flag, to travel to Africa where they traded rum and other goods to the Africans for slaves held by the Africans. There were NO national laws or bills being debated in Congress to end slavery on a national scale until 1865 when the second 13th amendment was proposed, AFTER the war ended. The FIRST 13th amendment was known as the “slavery forever amendment” and it passed the House late February 1861 and in early March 1861 it passed the Senate. It was also known as the Corwin amendment, after Thomas Corwin, a House Rep from Ohio, who sponsored it in the House. William Seward, from New York, sponsored it in the Senate. Lincoln endorsed it on 3/6/1861 in his first inaugural address saying he had “no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.” He also clearly stated , in that same speech, that he had “no intention of interfering with slavery in the States where it now exists. I believe I have no legal right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.” Ergo, there was no national threat to slavery when the Southern States legally and Constitutionally seceded. There was an offer, on a silver platter, from the northern controlled US Congress, of slavery forever.
    The fools who have done no research on their own, have not verified one damn thing they have been told, and go out spouting off and simply parroting some other ignorant fool, while claiming to actually know what they are talking about, are the problem. We could have an educated, civil, respectful conversation on this issue, if the ignorant fools would stay out of the conversation. So, if you have done no research on your own, you can NOT back up your stupid claims with actual, true history. Do not make a claim you can not back up based on your own research. Just repeating what someone told you does not make you wise, smart, nor a competent debater. It gives credence to the old adage, “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” I will debate any informed person, I will not argue with fools.

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