“What Does the Confederate Battle Flag Mean to You?”

I decided to inhale my lunch today so I could blog this while it was fresh on my mind. On the first day back from Spring Break we, as a class, began our unit on the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War. While discussing the States’ Rights Democratic Party (Dixiecrats) convention in 1948, and the reactions to the decision on Brown v. Board of Education, the students talked about the use of old Civil War symbols. I posed the question, “What Does the Confederate Battle Flag Mean to You?” and I posed the hypothetical situation, “You are riding down the road, and you see a Confederate flag on a car, house, highway, or perhaps on a state flag, what do you think when you see that symbol?”  Here are some of their responses:

The Civil War

Slavery

Southern Heritage

Racism

They hate black people

People stuck in the past

Redneck Flag (Immigrant)

Sticking to a culture

Sticking to a a culture, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it can be bad if the values of the culture are bad, or if you your are sticking to is bad.

Georgia’s reputation and character (response specifically to Georgia changing the state flag)

I’m not going to be liked

Dukes of Hazzard

I teach in a fairly diverse school, so it was interesting seeing numerous people of various ethnic backgrounds respond to the question. It will be interesting to see how their ideas and opinions shape over the course of this unit.

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5 thoughts on ““What Does the Confederate Battle Flag Mean to You?”

    1. We shall see. I’m trying to be pretty hands off and see what opinions they come up with on their own. They asked me during our discussion, what I thought about the CBF. I told them I wasn’t going to tell them. I didn’t want to bastardize their responses.

  1. Ron

    Context is important. I am as offended when I see a Confederate battle flag flown by thugs as a sign of hate . I am. Also offended when the confederate flags are punched over into the mud at our family graveyardu when they are flown over dead confederate graves. I also find it funny that one can fly a confederate Bonnie blue flag or a confederate navel jack and not raise an eye. The ignorance of history in this country is appalling.

  2. Nightflyer

    I’ve always wondered what the right thing to do would be for a family to honor the gravesite of an ancestor who served in the Confederate Army and was killed in battle. The words, “Good soldier, bad war,” come to mind.

    My father had to deal with those issues in Vietnam…he was a Captain, picked up a Purple Heart and Silver Star, but he came home convinced it was a horrible war, having seen ghastly things. He also had to write letters to family members of 19-year-old draftees who’d been killed in dreadful ways.

    All of this at the behest of politicians, who did not suffer at all.

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