Symbols of Heritage

In these parts, it’s not uncommon to see a prominently displayed southern flag just about everywhere – from people’s clothing, to the decals on their trucks. I was thinking about how the Southern Baptists recently took up the question about whether or not to affirm the symbol of Southern pride and heritage or the symbol of slavery and one of the darkest chapters in Southern history.

Now me, I don’t have that strong of an affiliation with it. I grew up in one of those states that was removed from the conflict. I then lived in a northern state and moved to a southern one – if only barely. My family history tells me that on one side of my family – the question divided two brothers, one fought for the north, the other the south. On the other side, they were neutral until some members of the family were imprisoned and upon being traded back he rallied everyone to sign up for the north and fight against the south; or so the story goes – the evidence is a little difficult to come by. We didn’t really have a big plantation or a stake in the economic prosperity that slavery provided it’s masters at the expense of the slaves.

The way I see it, it’s the cross to bear of pro-heritage folk to always have the anti-slavery being the dark side of the same symbol. The south without slavery wouldn’t have gone to war, wouldn’t have tried to separate itself into a whole other country, and wouldn’t have been symbolized by it’s own flag. You can’t have one without the other. So you’ll have little choice but to say: “I’m not racist but I affirm my Southern heritage” every single time you hold up the banner, you bear that cross. If you want to affirm your southern heritage without having a racist dark-side, you’d have to choose another symbol. But what else is there that unites southern heritage?

Notice that Northerners, Midwesterners, and Westerners don’t have such a flag of their heritage to rally behind. There’s nothing symbolic about where they’re from that ties in so many different states over such vast regions. I’ll let proponents of the southern flag explain to me why it’s necessary when none of the other regions seem to need one.

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3 thoughts on “Symbols of Heritage

  1. Flags can be very emotive symbols. Currently in Europe national flags have been adopted by two quite different groups;
    1. The intolerant parade them at their rallies, as if they had sole rights to them.
    2. Folk just going to have a good time at a sports venue (eg The Olympics, wave them about in delight, or face-paint them)

    And in addition we have the official use often seen at times of great solemnity.
    The first causes great annoyance with me at their hi-jacking; the second I share the enjoyment; the third I honour.

    Banners and symbols still have that power to stir us.

    Like

    • I keep on remembering what my German friend said – that it was through patriotism that his country was hoodwinked by Adolf Hitler and that America was as patriotic as Germany used to be. Afterwards, patriotism in Germany became tempered so that they would never again be fooled. Now the Nazis have their own flag, and there’s no way the nazi flag or symbol can be used to mean anything else even though the swaztika itself is an ancient symbol that predates Nazism. The German flag escaped a racist association, so it’s one I don’t mind that people celebrate. If the south decided to up and design a new flag and used that as a heritage symbol to have pride in – I’d be thrilled for them though I think it would be great of each region had one, too.

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...Anyway, that's just how I feel about it ... What do you think?

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