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Old 02-08-2012, 11:45 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Slavery & the Civil War

Slavery was at the heart of the American Civil War, and is the main reason for the South's secession from the North.

^ Do you guys agree or disagree with this statement? I've been re-learning the details of the Civil War recently and found that the statement does seem to ring true, and that Neo-Confederates are arguably saying what the South stood for was OK. I guess this thread could also be about whether flying the Confederate flag is offensive or not.

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Old 02-08-2012, 11:50 AM   #2 (permalink)
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With what little knowledge I have on the topic, I've always been under the impression that the confederate flag is an insult.
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Old 02-08-2012, 12:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I've always assumed that to be true. I've seen long winded explanations like this, that say other wise. It's a toughie.

On a somewhat unrelated note, we actually have a stand at my local fair that sells nothing but stuff with confederate flags on it. Kind of weird, considering we're in PA.
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Old 02-08-2012, 12:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by skaltezon View Post
That's my understanding of it. The South's economy depended on slave labor, and the threat of abolition forced slave states to secede. Then after the bloodiest war in US history plans to rebuild the South got sidetracked somehow, which left the vanquished with a lot of lingering bad feelings for the victors.

What's the other story?
I'm sure hip hop bunny hop could rattle off a bunch of alternate explanations.

States rights, differing economies, South felt it was being disrespected, etc.

All of which were definitely true, but slavery still would be the chief reason for the Civil War, despite what some Southerners still argue today (in order to justify their Confederate flag waving). That's just my opinion though.
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Old 02-08-2012, 12:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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There are a few racists kids around here that have formed sort of a clique, and here was this one big ol' redneck that always had a confederate flag handkerchief in his back pocket. Needless to say, black kids would mess with him. I remember walking home one day when these two dudes saw him, and asked me "Are you seeing what I'm seeing?" (kid with the hanky). My response was "Why even bother? You're just going to further exacerbate things and it won't help trying to debate with someone like that.". They didn't even bother listening to what I said.

Well anyway, that's what'll happen if you show "southern pride" around here.

I'm pretty sure hip hop bunny will come in with some interesting things to say.
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Pedestrian View Post
With what little knowledge I have on the topic, I've always been under the impression that the confederate flag is an insult.
It's an insult, not to mention a symbol of treason.
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Tuna View Post
Slavery was at the heart of the American Civil War, and is the main reason for the South's secession from the North.

^ Do you guys agree or disagree with this statement?
There is definitely a good argument that this statement is true but it is far too narrow to fully explain the reasons that the US Civil War was waged.

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With what little knowledge I have on the topic, I've always been under the impression that the confederate flag is an insult.
I think "insult" is not the right word for it. The Confederate flag can and is certainly used as anti-black racist propaganda but, like so many other symbols that have taken on new meanings over time, it was not created to be an insult. At least not any more than the US flag was, or than most national flags were.

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Originally Posted by CanwllCorfe View Post
I've always assumed that to be true. I've seen long winded explanations like this, that say other wise. It's a toughie.

On a somewhat unrelated note, we actually have a stand at my local fair that sells nothing but stuff with confederate flags on it. Kind of weird, considering we're in PA.
That stand may be run by racists but it also may not. you'd need to talk to the people who run it to figure out why they're promoting the flag.


Here's my general take on it and some personal background:
I grew up in northern Virginia and the public schools there were heavily weighted toward the Union over the Confederacy even though they were technically located in the South. I was taught that racist rednecks are the only ones who fly the Confederate flag.

For a time I went to college in Richmond, Virginia which is heavily Southern. Richmond is really the largest, northern-most, truly Southern city. It was the capital of the Confederacy and there are many people and institutions there who identify with the Confederacy. There is a nationally funded and highly important Museum of the Confederacy there. Certainly that museum has had to deal with the slavery and racism that was inherent in the culture that it preserves. Still, they preserve a culture that a large portion of US citizens were born into and identify with, racist or not. And there are indeed people who relate to the Confederate culture who are not racists. Richmond also has a many more black citizens than where I grew up and it's interesting to note how the city's culture has evolved.

Later in college (not in VA) I majored in US History and I took a class that was devoted to the Civil War. An important book we read is called Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. It won a Pulitzer Prize, it's over 900 pages long and trust me that it explores much more than slavery.

For a second, imagine yourself as a person who lived in Georgia during this era who did not own any slaves (many people all over the South did not) but who was born into a slave-owning culture and economy. Then the war happens and one day the Union army storms your town, kills your family, and burns your home to the ground. This happened to many people. Those people have descendants who are alive today. To them the Confederate flag may mean more than anti-black rhetoric. I hope you can see why.

Anyway, I'll probably bow out of this thread as it will potentially become heated and I'm not going to argue strongly one way or the other. For people who are genuinely interested in the deep complications that caused the South's secession and the resulting war, I urge you to read Battle Cry of Freedom (or at least some of the many other available resources) before your feelings about the war or the Confederate flag are set in stone.

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Old 02-08-2012, 01:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The confederate flag is completely offensive considering what the ideals of the people behind it entailed, however displaying it is a valid expression of free speech. I don't think everyone who displays it is a racist person, but it's certainly a troubling sign of character that one is so devoted to a specific region of the country. It pretty much signals to me that the person will be completely unreasonable about any form of thinking that doesn't come from the American South. It denotes a kind of willful close-mindedness and prejudice towards those who aren't from their region, under the guise of "pride".

There is, of course, nothing wrong with honoring your ancestors who may have died in that awful conflict. Many of those who fought on either side did not reflect the values held by their commanders. A lot of confederates were just good men who died young.
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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We in the UK, see the Confederate flag as a symbol of someone who enjoys country music, has a long beard, likes Lynyrd Skynyrd, is a God fearing redneck, has a fetish for dressing up in white and burning crosses, and likes shagging family members when the farm stock is indisposed.

Now I know some of the above might not be strictly true.....but just saying what we think here in Blighty.
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
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We in the UK, see the Confederate flag as a symbol of someone who enjoys country music, has a long beard, likes Lynyrd Skynyrd, is a God fearing redneck, has a fetish for dressing up in white and burning crosses, and likes shagging family members when the farm stock is indisposed.

Now I know some of the above might not be strictly true.....but just saying what we think here in Blighty.
I really hate those kinds of stereotypes that seem to be so okay with people.
Politically the American South may be backwards and the people you describe above may exist somewhere, but the South can be a very welcoming and hospitable place (for all races), with some of the most fascinating culture and delicious ethnic cuisine anywhere in the world. Nobody seems to defend the South except those people who make a bad name for it.
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