Your Source for Feminist Discourse

You’re A Grand Ole Flag?

As many of you may know Kanye West recently wore a jacket with a Confederate flag patch on the sleeve.  As is the usual of any celebrity doing, anything really, it blew up the social media atmosphere.  People were Tweeting and Facebooking like crazy some of them claiming he was in the right and others thought he was in the wrong.  Either way, if Kanye’s point was to get people talking (and perhaps buy his song New Slave or items from his clothing line with the image) he succeeded.  He himself is quoted as saying “The Confederate flag represented slavery in a way.  That’s my abstract take on what I know about it, right? So I wrote the song, ‘New Slaves.’ So I took the Confederate flag and made it my flag. It’s my flag now. Now what you gonna do?” Huzzah?  Kanye’s fashion statement has left me with a burning question, where should we stand on the confederate flag? 

Kanye West in a jacket with a confederate flag

Is it about reclaiming the flag or about controversy?


I have always been against the Confederate flag, mainly for the same reasons I do not like the n-word, each is steeped in a history of hatred against a group of people who did nothing but be born with darker skin.  Whenever I see the image I instantly think of slavery, lynching, and ignorance.  I also know that if I saw a small town with those plastered everywhere, as a person of color, I would feel unsure about my welcome in that area.  And perhaps that is not the intent of those who fly it, but that is not what I know runs through the mind of many people like me.

Many people try and argue that it is not about race, but rather about a pride in their southern heritage and the traditions/beliefs it entails.  Okay…while I guess I can see that argument I still have problems with it for three reasons…

Confederate flag with the saying,

But what is your “heritage” really about?

  1.  If it was only about southern heritage why do you use the confederate battle flag?  There are multiple versions of the flag that were used, more for the heritage of what it meant to be southern rather than the aspect of war.  Why not use those instead?
  2. Many would argue that the war was not about slavery, and I’ll concede that point…for now.  Lincoln’s, though history might tell us otherwise, original goal for the war was not for the slaves, but rather to keep the Union together.  The Emancipation Proclamation itself was a political scheme meant to help the North gain support and win.  However, the moment the Proclamation was read the war was no longer just about keeping the Union together or the Confederate desire for limited federal government.  The war became about slavery.
  3. Yes, you can claim that the war originally started because the South wanted freedom from a heavy-handed federal government and wanted to keep their own traditions and beliefs in place.  However, one of these traditions/beliefs was that slavery was a good thing, and that it was okay to treat another human being as property, as inferior, as a sub-human.

So with all these reasons added together I just don’t understand what there is to be proud of with the historical South and thereby it’s Confederate flag.  As one blogger recently put it, “I just don’t get it, shut-up, you lost, get over it.”  I could not say it better myself, but I’m willing to hear you all try!  So, let me know in the comments! Will you be sporting the Confederate flag this fashion season?

2 Responses to “You’re A Grand Ole Flag?”

  1. wombleca

    To imagineherstory,

    My name is Courtland Womble. I agree with you and disagree with you in a couple ways. My father actually supports this flag and I come from a little southern town in Virginia called Gloucester where people will hang this flag from their house and from their car. I agree with you that it can be an image of hatred; that is what it has always been known as. I also agree that slavery was one aspect what the war became about and how one belief of the south was that slavery was good. Where I disagree is it was not the only reason that the war was going on and that slavery is not the only thing the flag represents. These are both things that children today are raised to believe in the school system. The confederate flag is more than slavery. It really is about the heritage of the south and the traditions/beliefs that we should have the limited federal government. Look at the world today because of the North winning. Half of the United States hates the Government and how much they do to the modern day American. Like I said, I agree that it is seen as racist and for slavery, but that is because that is what public schools have taught us to believe. If you go to a school in the South, it is taught more on heritage and traditions that a lot of the South still try to carry on, slavery of course is not one of them. That is what I believe, but I do agree with a lot of what you said. Honestly, not being a fan of Kanye West because he is an idiot, I think it is wrong to say the flag is now his. If you believe in Southern heritage and traditions, it always has been yours. Sorry all he thought it was about was slavery. Slavery was a bad thing and I agree it is wrong, but I do not think it is something to make a big deal about at the present day. Saying all that, I enjoyed your article, even though I think it is something people should just ignore.


    Courtland Womble


  2. imagineherstory

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments and I appreciate you taking the time to read and respond!
    I can concede the point that the flag is not just about slavery and that there were other aspects about the war and flag. Though, as noted in my article, I wonder why the original Confederate flag is not used as a sign of southern heritage rather than a battle flag used by one portion of the Confederate army?
    I can also concede the fact that the majority of those in the south don’t necessarily promote outright slavery, but I do position that there still exists a vast amount of racism within the south (though it’s not exclusive there) and as long as these notions are in place it’s hard not to see the flag without negative connotations.
    Personally, I just think that while not all those who fly the Confederate flag are racists, the majority of racists fly the Confederate flag.
    Again though I really do appreciate your comments! I’m always glad to have engaging conversations, even when we don’t necessarily end up on the same page!



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