Pocochina’s Weblog

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on properly defining “real American”

Posted by pocochina on May 15, 2007

Or, the fucking, fucking Confederate flag.

But tell us how you really feel.

First of all, anyone who thinks they can define a “real American,” other than someone who is, you know, American, is a privileged piece of shit.  Specifically, the tendency to define “real American,” “all-American,” or “normal American” as a white, heterosexual, middle-class-passing-as-working class, preferably Southern, man makes me sick.  It literally makes me want to vomit.  Shut the fuck up.  Just the immense, incredible privilege, and the whiny titty-baby victim mentality that accompanies it, makes me absolutely crazy.  Yes, the majority of Americans share one or two of those traits, and there is nothing wrong with discussing masculinity or whiteness with histories or identities, as long as it’s done carefully, with sensitivity to the fact that these are studies in a field of many identities.  This doesn’t happen, though.

To me, this particular behavior comes to a head whenever the Confederate flag comes up.  The Confederate flag is not a symbol of states’ rights, and it is not an emblem of American history that deserves to be flown next to the American flag.  It is a despicable symbol of hatred, slavery, and genocide, and anyone who looks at it with anything other than disgust, perhaps coupled with morbid curiosity, needs to learn to fucking read, then go back to third grade and open a fucking textbook.  It is not okay to fly a Confederate flag.  It makes you look like an asshole.

It is a symbol of a movement which finds expression in hate groups, growning in numbers and membership.  Flying a Confederate flag may be protected by free speech (until, of course, it ends up on someone else’s lawn, in which case it’s a threat), but other people are going to use our free speech to call bullshit, and we should.  Free speech isn’t freedom from criticism, and only a self-entitled whiner (see:  townhall.com) would argue that it is.

This mindset, BTW, obviously doesn’t cover the whole South, and definitely isn’t limited to the South (people LOVE to fly the Confederate Flag everywhere, except maybe in cities, where normal people live and would be angry about that crap).  The fact that that particular flag, embarrassingly, flies across the country proves that it’s not really about Southern history any more – it’s nostalgia for a day when dammit, there were white people and black people and whitey had it all.  And while for some people the conflation of the flag with southerners is based on that same one-dimensional understanding of history, I think for a lot of people it’s also based in classism.  Poverty is a problem across the south, and everyone knows poor people are dumb, otherwise they wouldn’t be poor, right?  It’s also amazing to me that people forget that black people are southerners too.

And it really puts lie to the idea that “people’s tax money shouldn’t pay for something they don’t like” argument, doesn’t it, using African-American tax dollars to buy a Confederate flag to fly over a state house?

And the absolute gall it takes for a political or pundit who supports the flying of a Confederate flag – a symbol, remember, of an entity that decided to break away from the USA – over a government-owned building, and then call me anything less than a “real American” because I’m a liberal/feminist/whatever?  Is unfathomable in its vileness.

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