What’s Wrong With This Icon?

If you visit here, you’ll find this:

Now, what’s wrong with this icon?  A lot.

First, while people may quibble about whether Missouri, Kentucky, or Maryland were Confederate states, Delaware was not.  Nor did it take all that long for western Virginia to become West Virginia, so there might be those who dispute that boundary as well, unless they oppose self-determination.  We can also raise questions about what would become Oklahoma … what was called Indian territory … but that would be another squabble producing more heat than light.

Then again, it does cover the areas where as of 1860 slavery remained a viable legal institution (the case of New Jersey, where the impact of gradual emancipation legislation meant that some eighteen slaves resided in the Garden State in 1860, is noted).

What’s obviously wrong is that the creator of the icon confuses (and confuses badly) the South with the Confederacy.

Let’s make this painfully clear: southern history is not simply the history of the Confederacy.  Southern heritage is not simply Confederate heritage.  The Confederacy is but a small part of southern history, and southern heritage encompasses far more than Confederate heritage.

A “pro-southern blogger” would in fact object to this particular representation of the South, because it eradicates many, many southerners and much southern history from the American past.  Famous southerners who were not in Confederate service include George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Banneker, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, Denmark Vesey, Frederick Douglass, Zachary Taylor, Dred Scott, Abraham Lincoln, Mary Lincoln, George H. Thomas, David G. Farragut, Julia Dent Grant, Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver, Woodrow Wilson, Babe Ruth, A. Philip Randolph, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Harry S Truman, Jackie Robinson, Lyndon B. Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Henry Aaron, Jimmy Carter, William J. Clinton, and on and on and on (I’m sure people will tell me I’ve overlooked this person or that person, but we know this list is far, far from complete). Of these people, Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver were enslaved blacks at the time the Confederacy was established, and Wilson was a Confederate child (who later remembered meeting General Lee after the war), so they had some experience living under Confederate rule, but none of them would consider themselves Confederates, although they were proud to be southerners.

Why would a “pro-southern blogger” deny these people’s southern heritage by confusing the South with the Confederacy?  Indeed, the very flag featured was used by defenders of segregation, including Alabama’s governor George Wallace.  Is that the South the designer wants to honor as well?  Perhaps that is the case.

The real question is why people who declare that they are for preserving southern heritage conflate it with Confederate heritage.  Southern heritage is far more than Confederate heritage.  Are these folks ashamed of that?  Are they deliberately reducing all of southern history and heritage to four years?  Do they wish to whitewash the historical record of the richness and diversity of the southern past?

You know, I don’t know why folks such as these aren’t simply honest about themselves.  Why not simply say that they subscribe to a “Confederate Heritage Preservation Group,” since they have little if any interest in anything else?  Why not simply declare oneself a “pro-Confederate blogger”?  Why do these people lack the courage (unless you want to tell me they lack the intelligence) to say who they are and what they advocate?  Are they ashamed of using the word “Confederate”?  Are they as ashamed of that as they seem to be by the rest of southern history … the heritage they overlook or fail to defend?

This seems to be the case.