Monday, April 16, 2007

Symbol of racist opression or just a 72 Dodge Charger?

To most people of the generation behind me the confederate battle flag is symbolic of nothing other than the General Lee (and I'm not talking the civil war general I'm talking the Dukes of Hazard car). To people of my generation and older it is symbolic of either (a) regional pride (b) the lost cause (c) racist opression (d) the General Lee or (e) Lynard Skynard.

Friday night my SigO and I were watching Rockfest (I had it taped on DVR) when a fairly recent live performance of "Sweet Home Alabama" came on. They played in front of a huge confederate battle flag. He held another one like a big scarf in his mic hand. Others wee waving about the concert hall. And no, there was not a black face in sight. Skynard has used the Stars and Bars as part of their logo for years, so it's no surprise. But what does it mean? Considering that "Sweet Home Alabama" has something to do with civil rights--it was a response to Niel Young's "Southern Man"--it is a pretty defiant gesture. (for the full cycle you have to listen to Warren Zevon's "Play it All Night Long.")

Will we ever reconcile southern pride in the Stars and Bars with northern and especially black feelings that it represents an attack upon them just to fly it? I doubt it. I don't think it's reconcilable. It has to do with identity, and that's something you just can't erase.

Talladega is coming up in a couple of weeks.


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