I’m always amused by ranting about southern pride that claims that part of southern pride is Confederate pride and heritage. That’s even more amusing than the claim that somehow expressions of southern pride cause consternation in people like me. You know, the guy who is married to a southerner, went to school in the South, worked in the South, and taught in the South.
Then again, as Taylor Swift is wont to say, haters gonna hate … because one suspects that the real haters are people who claim that other people hate southern heritage … because they apparently need to believe such tripe. They can’t simply accept that they hate all on their own.
It would think that it’s quite evident that one can be a proud southerner without being proud of the Confederate or protective of Confederate heritage in ways that comport with the views of Confederate heritage apologists and Confederate Romantics. To insist that one can believe in southern pride only if one embraces Confederate heritage is simply bizarre and divisive, betraying the desperation of Confederate heritage apologists.
Moreover, I’d argue that in the eyes of many folks who live in the South, Confederate heritage antics are a positive embarrassment, especially when they are accompanied by bigotry and a regressive sensibility. For many people, southern pride requires the rejection of pride in the Confederacy.
Simply put, Confederate heritage apologists do not get to say who is and who is not southern, although that segregationist approach to the region’s residents may recall good times for some people. One can have pride in the South while rejecting the Confederacy … after all, a majority of southerners rejected the Confederacy between 1861 and 1865.
And what’s the best evidence for this? Perhaps the fact that Confederate heritage groups are so small. The Sons of Confederate Veterans is only slightly larger than the Army of Northern Virginia when it surrendered 150 years ago this spring. The Virginia Flaggers? Don’t make me laugh. Most of the time the Flaggers can’t even approach double figures in their protests … although they sure were more numerous than the West Florida Flaggers (sic).
Simply put, one can exhibit southern pride without celebrating Confederate heritage. Those people who say otherwise are a wrongheaded, desperate minority.
What do you think?
Meanwhile, as for those people who think I hate southern pride … you know, those real haters …