The rebel flag.
This has been the biggest disagreement from my childhood and it took me decades to finally understand it and it also relates to yesterday’s topic of what I’m most passionate about.
I grew up in the 80s, in Central Kentucky where Hank Williams Jr and Lynyrd Skynyrd was heard on every radio and The Dukes of Hazzard was watched on almost every television- I was raised on “Heritage Not Hate” and I saw the rebel flag everywhere- my schools mascot was The Rebel and I was raised that being proud of that flag was almost required.
I was taught that the rebel flag didn’t stand for slavery or hate but for a “way of life” that the south lost and it would “rise again.”
Bo and Luke Duke were 100% wholesome- always doing what was right and fighting for those that needed it AND they had that black buddy so it had nothing to do with race. The “General Lee” was (and honestly still is) the most amazing car to every grace television with its bright orange color, ability to jump over tall buildings and huge rebel flag.
I great up in the “city” but the rest of my family lived in the “country” and back then- seeing a rebel flag was just as natural as seeing an American flag and I never thought anything of it- it was a symbol of my heritage and I was proud of that- I was never really taught actual history so I had no reason to think anything different.
This led to me getting my a tattoo- a rebel flag, surrounded by two American flags and marijuana leaves with the words “American by Birth, Rebel by Choice”…the ONLY tattoo I’ve ever regretted. Not only does it look terrible but it’s a constant reminder of the ignorance I was raised around.
While I do still believe, 100% in the legalization of marijuana- that isn’t the problem- the problem is the rebel flag part. The more I taught myself about history, slavery and the Civil War- the more I learned that it wasn’t something I wanted to be associated with- I cringe when I hear “If The South Woulda Won” by Hank Jr and I used to love that song- talking about Hank Sr and all that “southern hospitality” bullshit but leaving out the realities of our society if “the south woulda won”.
I do understand that Central Kentucky, in the 80s, was a very different place but- like the south- that place is gone and we’ve moved on and should be better than that now.
I have checked about getting the tattoo covered up but it actually needs to be lasered off a bit before that can happen but it will happen.
With that said, while I don’t want to be associated with that part of my heritage (regardless if anyone believes it represents hate or not) I will probably always watch The Dukes of Hazzard because it represents my childhood, memories and the General Lee is a bad ass car…but I can understand that’s it from a different era.
I could go into great detail and debate both sides of the issue but my personal opinion is this- if it represents hate and slavery to such a large group of people then it needs to be removed- at least from my life.
If you fly a rebel flag- I won’t judge you because we see that symbol as different things and, to you, it may honestly stand more for our southern heritage than racism and that is your decision and you are allowed to make it. I made mine decades ago and I’ve lived with it…but I’ve learned, researched and grown and that decision no longer matches with my beliefs and opinions today- sadly, once you do the research and learn about reality in history- my past decision no longer matches with reality- it only matches with how I was raised.
In closing- if you can give me a good deal on getting this tattoo lasered off- hit up!
Love, Peace and Sharkness