Never Mind “Rising Again”, It Never Went Anywhere

In what should surprise precisely no one, an overwhelming majority of white Southerners still see the Confederate flag as a symbol of Southern pride in a new CNN poll.

American public opinion on the Confederate flag remains about where it was 15 years ago, with most describing the flag as a symbol of Southern pride more than one of racism, according to a new CNN/ORC poll. And questions about how far to go to remove references to the Confederacy from public life prompt broad racial divides.

The poll shows that 57% of Americans see the flag more as a symbol of Southern pride than as a symbol of racism, about the same as in 2000 when 59% said they viewed it as a symbol of pride. Opinions of the flag are sharply divided by race, and among whites, views are split by education.

Among African-Americans, 72% see the Confederate flag as a symbol of racism, just 25% of whites agree. In the South, the racial divide is even broader. While 75% of Southern whites describe the flag as a symbol of pride and 18% call it a symbol of racism, those figures are almost exactly reversed among Southern African-Americans, with just 11% seeing it as a sign of pride and 75% viewing it as a symbol of racism.

Among whites, there’s a sharp divide by education, and those with more formal education are less apt to see the flag as a symbol of pride. Among whites with a college degree, 51% say it’s a symbol of pride, 41% one of racism. Among those whites who do not have a college degree, 73% say it’s a sign of Southern pride, 18% racism.

Digging around in the crosstabs, a majority of Southern whites with college degrees are okay with the Confederate flag (51%). And among Democrats 34% find the flag a symbol of pride (77% among Republicans) and 34% of liberals do too (71% among conservatives, 60% among moderates.)

The real killer: 58% of snake people Millennials see the flag as a symbol of pride, which is actually slightly higher than Gen X-ers (56%) or Boomers under 65 (53%).  Seniors, well, They’re at 64%.  I hope we’re well past the whole “Young people aren’t as racist as their parents” nonsense, because Millennials are just as awful. Indoctrination is awesome.

I grew up in North Carolina, and this doesn’t surprise me one damn bit.  People ought to know better.






135 replies
  1. 1
    MattF says:

    Simple explanation– they’re proud to be racists!

  2. 2
    debbie says:

    Millennials see the flag as a symbol of pride,

    That’s the result of mis-education. I wish someone could come up with a very public way to publish the Articles of Secession — all of them — as a way to demonstrate what the Confederacy was really all about.

  3. 3
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    @debbie: you mean like this?

    ETA: the problem isn’t the availability of the information, it’s the poor quality of the education system that systematically fails to contextualise it and allows false and racist narratives to be taught add if they were unbiased and wholly factual.

  4. 4
    Cervantes says:

    Among whites, there’s a sharp divide by education, and those with more formal education are less apt to see the flag as a symbol of pride. Among whites with a college degree, 51% say it’s a symbol of pride, 41% one of racism. Among those whites who do not have a college degree, 73% say it’s a sign of Southern pride, 18% racism.

    Whatever that 51% did in college, whatever degree they received, it’s absurd to say they were educated. The word means “to have been guided out of ignorance,” and these people were anything but.

  5. 5
    Baud says:

    So you’re saying Trump has a chance.

  6. 6
    Kropadope says:

    The real killer: 58% of snake people Millennials see the flag as a symbol of pride, which is actually slightly higher than Gen X-ers (56%) or Boomers under 65 (53%). Seniors, well, They’re at 64%. I hope we’re well past the whole “Young people aren’t as racist as their parents” nonsense, because Millennials are just as awful. Indoctrination is awesome.

    I think a huge part of it is simply that millenials grew up at a time when the whitewashing of Confederate history was complete and more broadly accepted. Also, tolerance cuts both ways. If actual people who like Confederate iconography are individually not racist, it can allow a non-racist to at least partially disassociate the flag from racism.

  7. 7
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Pride in what? The whole point of the confederate flag in the 20th and 21st centuries is to say “Fuck off, Yankee do-gooder, or we’ll fight you again.” Is “pride” the best name for that sentiment?

  8. 8
    beltane says:

    Pride, as in “White Pride.” That’s all there is to this story. As to Millenials, they are just at the top of the food chain of ignorance, the end product of generation after generation of propaganda. Almost our entire media culture pays such deference to Southern culture that it’s a wonder any white people at all have managed to avoid indoctrination.

  9. 9
    Kropadope says:

    @Cervantes:

    Whatever that 51% did in college, whatever degree they received, it’s absurd to say they were educated. The word means “to have been guided out of ignorance,” and these people were anything but.

    Sometimes, I wonder about how college education is organized. I used to work with a girl who was trying to get her Master’s degree and she needed me to help her on math I was doing in high school. College seems to be more about completing a certain amount of work than about attaining a certain level of knowledge.

  10. 10
    Walker says:

    Growing up in the South, even as the great-great grandson of a (Union supporting) plantation family, I always associated the flag with ignorant rednecks.

  11. 11
    MattF says:

    @Cervantes: It takes both knowledge and empathy to get over an attachment to Southern ‘heritage’. Although you can ignore what Professor Leftist Hippie says without any social penalty, it should be harder to ignore the unambiguous message from your AA neighbors.

  12. 12
    beltane says:

    @Kropadope: Lately, college has become focused on the group dynamic thing, learning to complete projects with a team, etc. Also, unless one is an autodidact, the fine points of historical knowledge can only be acquired though a liberal arts curriculum, something that is deemed to be of no importance in this world.

  13. 13
    Randy P says:

    So why did Walmart, NASCAR, etc disavow it so quickly? They must have seen something in the tea leaves somewhere. Corporations are not famous for boldness.

  14. 14
    TrexPushups says:

    @Kropadope: I managed to go to college for 5 years without a single history course.

    I suspect that is common.

  15. 15
    debbie says:

    @TheMightyTrowel:

    More like this, but in a friendlier format and at a more accessible site:

    http://www.civilwar.org/educat.....oogle.com/

  16. 16
    Kropadope says:

    @TrexPushups: Oh, mine requires both a world and U.S. history course. Diversity requirements are a big thing at every school I’ve been to. Never mind that I had figured out that the “states’ rights” thing was a smokescreen before I even got out of high school.

    @beltane: Fortunately, I generally manage to avoid classes that assign these group projects. They’re always a mess and usually one or two people (of which I’m always one) wind up doing the project themselves.

  17. 17
    gelfling545 says:

    Pride in what was that now? Your ancestors owned slaves, committed treason & lost a war. Seems like something one wouldn’t want to dwell on to me.

  18. 18
    Zandar says:

    @Kropadope: Or, simpler explanation, they learned to be racist shitheads from their racist shithead parents.

  19. 19
    chopper says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    i’d say ‘spite’ makes much more sense, given how it drives so much of the right-wing mindset that rationalizes waving that piece of shit flag.

  20. 20
    Josie says:

    Undergraduate history courses usually are divided into two semesters and the Civil War is at the end of the first semester. The professor is running out of time at that point and the run up to the Civil War gets short shrift. Besides, the way many survey courses are taught, the important things are dates, generals and battles – not ideas. I could write an essay on the stupid way that history is presented, both in public schools and in undergraduate survey courses

  21. 21
    japa21 says:

    I think this is more of a psychological reaction than anything else. People don’t want to perceive themselves as racist. The Confederate flag is to many people “cool” and representing a section of the country that has been romanticized as a place which oozes with charm and Southern hospitality, hardly things that people associate with racism.

    For people to now associate something that they have perceived as representing something that is at a minimum “okay” with something as vile as racism, is a psychological leap they have difficulty making.

    I would be willing to bet that if this survey had been done in the 60’s, the result would be different.

  22. 22
    Cervantes says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    If that culture were a field, I would, like Abimelech, salt it into desolation.

    If it were an edifice, then, as Virgil said, I would see it clean razed from the ground upon which it sits.

    If it were a toxin — and it is — I should seek an antidote.

  23. 23
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    God I hate to sound like a pearl-clutcher, but the decision by TV-land to drop The Dukes Of Hazard may have the campaign to drop the Dixie Swastika into jumping the shark territory. Then again the KKK rally to save the rag, at the state capital in SC. will F**k it up for the Southern Pride boosters

  24. 24
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @gelfling545: Pride in how much they hate meddling liberals who want them to eat vegetables, install curlicue lightbulbs, and stop hitting their kids.

  25. 25
    japa21 says:

    @Josie: Interestingly enough, when I went to high school in the 60’s (and maybe it was because of the times) I think everyone in our white northern suburb left the class when the Civil War was discussed believing the war was all about slavery. Yes, state’s rights was discussed but it was about the right to own slaves.

  26. 26
    Cervantes says:

    @TrexPushups:

    “Managed to”?

    Did you do that to yourself willingly? If so, why?

  27. 27
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @chopper: “Spite” is an excellent word for it, yes.

  28. 28
    japa21 says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee: I do think that was perhaps an overreaction. Some folks on FB who have been generally supportive of the whole anti-flag sentiment were also thinking the same thing.

  29. 29
    MomSense says:

    “The real killer: 58% of snake people Millennials see the flag as a symbol of pride…”

    You have to be carefully taught.

    ETA block quote not working for me.

  30. 30
    Cervantes says:

    @Josie:

    Undergraduate history courses usually are divided into two semesters and the Civil War is at the end of the first semester.

    I’m sure you meant to say “undergraduate US history courses.”

  31. 31
    Sherparick says:

    @TheMightyTrowel: It is less a question of quality of education then a hundred forty years of propaganda and dissembling about the War of the Rebellion. This is a feature, not a bug of the system. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lies_My_Teacher_Told_Me Better yet, buy the book.

  32. 32
    Josie says:

    @Cervantes: Yes, I should have clarified that.

  33. 33
    Woodrowfan says:

    @Kropadope: maybe she is just bad at math. That doesn’t tell you how she does on other topics.

  34. 34
    Cervantes says:

    @Sherparick:

    Could not agree more. Loewen’s work is excellent.

  35. 35
    MattF says:

    @MomSense: It worked a moment ago. Weird.

  36. 36
    Woodrowfan says:

    @TrexPushups: as a history professor I agree, sadly—-and many of those who do take history just do a survey class where time constraints force the prof to cover as much as possible quickly. I do have my students read some of the southern states’ declarations of secession, but that’s fairly rare in these classes.

  37. 37
    boatboy_srq says:

    a majority of Southern whites with college degrees are okay with the Confederate flag (51%)

    Given what Southern schools are like (at least for undergrads) this isn’t especially surprising. Lots of SBC-backed schools, for example, which aren’t really in the business of dispelling the misconceptions. I went to one of those, and was up for a scholarship when I applied. One of the requirements was an interview with the scholarship trustees: I was thoroughly mystified by most of the questions they asked – but looking back, it was all Conservatist dogwhistle. Had I known then (as the saying goes) I’d have given them a piece of my mind for asking all the cr#p racist sexist questions they did. And no, I didn’t get the scholarship, but I’m not especially upset that I didn’t get money from bigots.

  38. 38
    Cervantes says:

    @Kropadope:

    Sometimes, I wonder about how college education is organized. I used to work with a girl who was trying to get her Master’s degree and she needed me to help her on math I was doing in high school. College seems to be more about completing a certain amount of work than about attaining a certain level of knowledge.

    Many legitimate questions can be raised about how colleges work (or not).

    Your friend may simply have forgotten the math she learned in high school. Or she may not have enjoyed math and may never have taken it seriously until she was forced to by her graduate program. It’s good that she knew enough to seek (your) help.

    More than that we can’t really say without more information.

  39. 39
    MomSense says:

    @MattF:

    It was weird. Hopefully it was just a fluke.

  40. 40
    Aimai says:

    I doubt millenials are more racisit, or as racist , as old white people. What they are is more decontextuslized and ahistorical as well as more solipsistic and selfish. The morons at walpole high who, in the sixties, allowed a popular southern coach to introduce the name Rebel and the flag to walpole were certainly racist–but the kids were just pawns. And then no historical corrective was added until now. We have to refight the post war eith teach ins and marketing and public shaming. We certainly have the power to do it.

  41. 41
    Kropadope says:

    @Cervantes: Still, it seems odd that basic algebra would be a component of a graduate program.

  42. 42
    Belafon says:

    Considering that what I consider hearing is the best single volume book on the Civil War, Battle Cry of Freedom, is over 900 pages, the Civil War would have to be a course taught by itself, and then you’d be completely ignoring reconstruction and segregation. For it to be properly taught, you’d have to require an entire class on race relations in the US. Isn’t going to happen any sooner than a proper course in probability and statistics which would properly teach people that lotteries are a big waste of money.

  43. 43
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Aimai: To me the part that clinches the attachment of the flag to racism is the desegregation history. “People started flying the flag again to say the struggle to keep black kids out of white schools was equivalent to the war between the Confederacy and the Union” goes a long way to explaining why it’s a sign of racism not just because of 150 years ago but also because of 50 years ago.

  44. 44
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Aimai: We’re four decades into a concerted effort to sanitize primary and secondary education: textbook publishers have either been forced (by state education departments and large school boards) to exclude the ugly side of history or have simply omitted the ugly stuff so parents wouldn’t complain. We’ve also had nearly two decades of very loud complaints from one half the political spectrum about how “libruls hate Ahmurrca” – by which they mean seeing the US’ history as a whole (warts and all) is somehow unpatriotic. And last we’ve long had a focus on “basics” (which I’ve learned is dogwhistle for basic reading comprehension and arithmetic to the near-exclusion of all other material) which ignores most of the subtleties of social sciences necessary for an at-least-reasonable understanding of historical and cultural stuff. Don’t even get me started on the overarching war on education the Reichwing has been waging. Millenials and they’re uninformed egocentrism are a predictable result of these trends.

  45. 45
    Botsplainer says:

    @Cervantes:

    Private Christian high schools followed by solid involvement with Greek social organization at Alabama, NC, LSU, Texas and the like.

    Or they went to Duke to do genteel racism.

  46. 46
    raven says:

    @Belafon: I’m reading it now.

  47. 47
    Belafon says:

    @raven: I just started it.

  48. 48
    Sister Machine Gun of Warm Tranquility says:

    Having grown up with a mother who still calls it the War of Northern Aggression, I saw the Confederate flag as a symbol of Southern pride well into my 20s. Then I started digging into the history a bit more. My view completely changed.

  49. 49
    Botsplainer says:

    @beltane:

    Pride, as in “White Pride.” That’s all there is to this story. As to Millenials, they are just at the top of the food chain of ignorance, the end product of generation after generation of propaganda. Almost our entire media culture pays such deference to Southern culture that it’s a wonder any white people at all have managed to avoid indoctrination.

    And hence you get American exceptionalism to blunt all criticism.

  50. 50
    Cervantes says:

    @Kropadope:

    Probably not a component as such. Probably a pre-requisite.

  51. 51
    Betty Cracker says:

    Presumably most commenters here are familiar with the concept of white privilege. And yet some seem incredulous that it can function to blind folks to implications that are obvious to the overwhelming majority of black people as well as to white people who have bothered to look at these symbols through the eyes of their neighbors. Yes, privilege really can make people that clueless.

    What we’re witnessing here with the flag controversy is something very rare in civic life — an opportunity to understand each other, reconcile conflicting views of the past and move forward together. President Obama gets that, which is why he invoked the “I was blind but now I see” line from Amazing Grace on this very issue.

    I’m not optimistic about much of anything. I’d rather have the nine people who were murdered in the terrorist attack in Charleston back with their families than to have this discussion about the stupid rebel flag. But I see this national conversation as an opportunity to learn how others see things and hopefully make progress, CNN’s poll of the day be damned.

  52. 52
    Aimai says:

    @FlipYrWhig: of course the flag is racist and stands for racism. But white millenials are oblivious to that history–the cra and brown vs the board of education are as far away to them as ww2 was to me.

  53. 53
    Cervantes says:

    @Belafon:

    Yes, McPherson is a must-read.

  54. 54
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Betty Cracker: Amen, BC.

  55. 55
    El Caganer says:

    @Aimai: Based only on my own observations, I’d have to disagree. I think the youngs are every bit as racist as us olds. What racist opinions I’ve heard expressed in taprooms over the course of my adult life have come from people of every age group, and not predominantly one group or another. Other than the occasional story of frat boys in blackface, I have no idea what’s going on on college campuses.

  56. 56
    tesslibrarian says:

    @gelfling545: Actually, most of those who fought didn’t own slaves–it’s one of the early examples of fighting against their own interests because slave labor depressed white labor wages.

    Here in now-liberal Athens, Georgia, the city of Athens had their meeting Dec. 8, 1860, re: secession, and voted for it–the people with money (your Cobb family, etc.) wanted the war to protect their interests. They don’t see their slaves as human, just property, so it’s an economic issue (not saying this is okay, but how they seemed to have felt). The next week, on Dec. 15, 1860, in the town of Watkinsville–now in a different county and practically fascist in its voting–more poor farmers and businessmen from the rural parts of the county voted against secession. They saw the war as disruptive, potentially devastating, but they were drafted anyway, and were the ones who couldn’t pay someone to fight for them.

    Not to say the descendants of these people aren’t the problem today. They certainly are. I know Cobb descendants who are flaming liberals, while many of those who have worked their way up in Watkinsville in the last few generations are pretty comfortably racist, despite their college degrees (usually business, which I think requires almost no liberal arts, sort of the way libertarian assholes with CS degrees didn’t take any history, either). Much like the Irish riots in NYC in 1863, it’s about having someone, anyone, below you on the rungs of society. And all the Lost Cause mythology just helped with that, especially in the south, when you could have a farmer who was barely getting by honored with the same veteran parade as the mayor.

    Ugh. Did not mean to make this sound like an intractable problem that couldn’t be solved…but it’s hard to see enlightenment ever coming to certain people.

  57. 57
    tesslibrarian says:

    @Betty Cracker: That perspective makes me feel better.

  58. 58
    Fred says:

    Not surprised at all. I’ve been saying for years that this whole “New South” business is all a wishful dream. The South is the same old redneck universe it has been for the last… well forever. Please somebody prove me wrong. How I want to be wrong.

    I was born and raised in one of those dangerous yankee cities (Baltimore, you know where “tha Culerds” live) and freely walked anywhere I felt liked at all hours. Left my truck unlocked with windows open on hot days in neighborhoods that were supposed to be bad. Never had a problem with any one.
    I had to got out in the country in Galax Virginia to get a gun pointed at me. I inadvertently wandered through some farmer’s yard so naturally he had to point his shotgun at me. Of course I was a hippy so what choice did he have?
    I won’t get into my experiences in Greenville SC. To long winded for this venue.

    There are certainly good people in the American South but the assholes are in firm control for the time being.

  59. 59
    raven says:

    @tesslibrarian: “a different county” indeed.

  60. 60
    WereBear says:

    @Kropadope: I took 8th grade algebra. In Florida, in a classroom without A/C, from a teacher with a drony voice and no apparent skill. I flunked.

    However, I did take it in summer school, with A/C, and a good teacher, and got all A’s.

  61. 61
    tesslibrarian says:

    @raven: Our cats were found there. I tell people they are “Old Clarke Cats” when they are being sweet, “Oconee Cats” when they’re being assholes.

  62. 62
    Botsplainer says:

    @Randy P:

    Because CNN polling is shit.

  63. 63
    MattF says:

    @Betty Cracker: One learns empathy by example, it doesn’t come naturally. Of course, if you’re part of an oppressed group, it comes rather more naturally. But then you’ve got other, more pressing problems and fewer resources to deal with them.

    Personally, I see no alternative to just keep on banging on it. What else can you do?

  64. 64
    Samuel Knight says:

    Not really a surprise when major TV shows showed off the Rebel battle flag for years. Why would most people think it wasn’t a perfectly fine symbol.

    Almost no-one in the US knows much about the Civil War and its aftermath. Almost no-one knows that Confederate troops bayoneted all black prisoners. Nor that the KKK was a terrorist organization, or that lynching were all over the South and other parts of the country, too. Or that many major black areas were torched in the 1920s.

    It will take a much longer progressive push to make people realize that the flag is in fact a racist rallying point. It took many years for the Southern ruling class to re-write history, it will take many years to undo all that propaganda.

  65. 65
    WereBear says:

    And there’s this:

    One third of young people who left organized religion did so because of anti-gay teachings or treatment within their churches, according to a new study.

    Millennials leaving religion over anti-gay teachings

    Because you grow up in a home which is racist and aren’t allowed to make friends with people of other races… that’s one thing.(I never made a real friend with a person who is black until I moved up North. Because such would be dangerous for the POC.) So there’s all kinds of barriers there.

    However, seeing Timmy or Tammy, who’ve you’ve known and played with since preschool, come out as gay, and you aren’t going to believe bigoted crap. You’ve been immunized, so to speak.

    For decades bigoted communities have been Otherizing people by the color of their skin, which is noted at birth. But gay people are stealth operators :) And so finding out that someone you already like is supposed to be sub-human? Won’t fly.

  66. 66
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Fred: Interesting how different places run contrary to the conventional wisdom. I felt safer in West L. A. or East Oakland than I have in Hillsboro or Luckettsville (VA) – talk about places you don’t think you’d have to virtually ignore the traffic signs and drive with windows up and doors locked….

  67. 67
    dedc79 says:

    Professors teaching courses on the Civil War will probably have to give trigger warnings to students who get upset upon hearing that the confederacy was a system for the furtherance (and expansion) of racial oppression.

  68. 68
    Elizabelle says:

    @TheMightyTrowel: Prezactly.

    WaPost yesterday: Historian James W. Loewen

    Why do people believe myths about the Confederacy? Because our textbooks and monuments are wrong.
    False history marginalizes African Americans and makes us all dumber.

    As soon as Confederates laid down their arms, some picked up their pens and began to distort what they had done, and why. Their resulting mythology went national a generation later and persists — which is why a presidential candidate can suggest that slavery was somehow pro-family, and the public believes that the war was mainly fought over states’ rights.

    The Confederates won with the pen (and the noose) what they could not win on the battlefield: the cause of white supremacy and the dominant understanding of what the war was all about. We are still digging ourselves out from under the misinformation that they spread, which has manifested in both our history books and our public monuments.

    I put up a longer excerpt on yesterday’s church burnings thread, Zandar’s “Flames of Rage”, comment 15.

  69. 69
    raven says:

    @tesslibrarian: :). I lived there for 6 years and worked at Pee Wee Herman Park. It was always fun when the African American church would kick the dog shit out of the honky churches, especially in hoops.

  70. 70
    rikyrah says:

    you’re on point, Zandar

  71. 71
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Aimai: Agreed — I just meant that the story of the Confederate flag _revivers_ is IMHO more likely to gain traction with that crowd than the story of the original Confederates. Almost no one adopting Confederate emblems means by them “I still like slavery!” They mean “back off, I’m a redneck badass,” which seems a bit like dressing like a punk, goth, or gangster, just… more pathetic. But link it up to the origin story of that subculture and I think it seems much worse: it’s not just a style, it’s a statement _about not wanting to share space with black people_. And I don’t think many white millennials, even the more ignorant ones, really want to embrace that.

  72. 72
    raven says:

    @Samuel Knight: Most people don’t know what the fuck happened last week.

  73. 73
    Cervantes says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I agree.

    If there is anything worth noting — I won’t say surprising — it’s the sheer number of seemingly enlightened (!) people who have for so long apparently not “bothered to look at these symbols through the eyes of their neighbors” — or objectively, for that matter.

    To a large degree you and I are saying the same thing.

  74. 74
    debbie says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I don’t at all disagree with you, but that anything positive will come from this is probably a pipe dream.

  75. 75
    boatboy_srq says:

    @WereBear: Can’t entirely agree with you there. Coming out, I lost a bunch of Xtian friends who couldn’t associate with me anymore because I was [gasp] unclean – and held on to a bunch of others who continued on in blissful ignorance. Part of what I learned undergrad is that Conservatists and Xtians will project onto what they see in a person’s makeup what they think generates that image: if you’re happy, content and self-assured they’ll impose what they think makes you that way from their own teachings, and if you’re confused and uncertain and not-so-happy they’ll impose whatever they perceive as “bad.” Confused, closeted and dating girls I was still “qu33r” because being unhappy with myself I had to be something Other; out and comfortable in my own skin I was suddenly “straight” because to them straight equals happy (and right with Jeebus).

  76. 76
    tesslibrarian says:

    @raven: Heh!

  77. 77
    WereBear says:

    @boatboy_srq: Oh, with fundie religion, all bets are off. Coming out as atheist seems to trigger a similar shunning — even though no one has changed, the way the bigoted now view you, has.

    I just wanted to shed new light on the Bigoted Millennials view. I see college and high school kids in groups of friends, dating, being romantic, and there’s no apparent bigotry present. And I’m in rural NY; hardly a bastion of Enlightenment. I know some mutter nasty things over beers; I have friends who despair over such.

    But I went to high school at a time and place where a kid could get killed for being gay. Being in a mixed friend group could get some of them beaten up. And the redneckest group of all would knife the tires of anyone who parked in “their” parking lot without a whisper of police interference.

    So I see change. I really do.

  78. 78
    newtons.third says:

    @debbie: I wonder what those same people would say if some person were to have an ISIS or Al Qaeda flag flying? I mean, is it not just a symbol of heritage? Not the flag of a group that is actively fighting a war against the U.S.

  79. 79
    boatboy_srq says:

    @WereBear: Early GenX here, and not especially connected with the younger folks. And what I ran into was in the mid-80s. I don’t buy the Bigoted Millenials so much as the Clueless Millenials: not deliberately racist/sexist so much as not getting the history and not getting why they’re behaving like jerks. All of which of course goes straight to how the Reichwing has neutered education so that anything not bright and shiny in US history gets conveniently omitted.

  80. 80
    boatboy_srq says:

    @newtons.third: That, of course, would be a flag of one of those Other Peoples, so would be handled far differently (and savagely).

  81. 81
    Paul in KY says:

    @beltane: Their ‘pride’ also is pride in their forbearers. They would say that they have to consider their ancestors to be low-life, racist scum (if they didn’t think they way they currently do about the Civil War).

    I would say ‘ignorant & deluded’ would cover the non-slave owning that fought on the side of the South.

  82. 82
    Paul in KY says:

    @gelfling545: That’s why they came up with this ‘alternate history’ BS. Whah, I can’t think of dear old great, great grandpa Beauregard Bumberjerk as anything but a true, patriotic, son of the South!!

  83. 83
    WereBear says:

    @boatboy_srq: how the Reichwing has neutered education

    Gosh, yes. I went to Florida schools, and back in the ’70’s they were a very mixed bag. When I went to school near Cape Canaveral, my magnet English classes were taught on a 10th grade level in 6th grade, there was high level math for the kids who qualified, etc. Then we moved to a far less sophisticated area, and the quality plunged… yet my crummy small town high school could send people to MIT and Cornell. We had band and art classes and AP courses.

    Kids these days are outright cheated.

  84. 84
    newtons.third says:

    @boatboy_srq: Although I recall a Top Gear episode where the hosts seem to fear for their lives for what was painted on their cars while driving through Alabama https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKcJ-0bAHB4 Not that those guys are particularly liberal.

  85. 85
    Xantar says:

    Speaking as a Millennial, I find myself reading this thread and wondering how egocentric and self-absorbed Boomers or Gen-Xers were at age 18-25. I don’t think it’s unique to our generation. Maybe tone down the “kids these days” talk a little bit before you end up sounding like a crusty old fart?

  86. 86
    Cervantes says:

    @Aimai:

    I doubt millenials are more racisit, or as racist , as old white people. What they are is more decontextuslized and ahistorical as well as more solipsistic and selfish.

    These generalizations may well be true but I do not know how to justify them — which is not your problem, of course.

  87. 87
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @TheMightyTrowel: shit, it’s not a lack of context. It’s Texas textbooks that contain flat out lies.

  88. 88
    Joel says:

    @Kropadope: Exactly. Younger folks grew up in a time when “Sweet Home Alabama” and waving the confederate flag around was entirely uncontroversial. The context of the Neil Young verse is completely lost.

  89. 89
    Cervantes says:

    @WereBear:

    I went to Florida schools, and back in the ’70’s they were a very mixed bag. When I went to school near Cape Canaveral, my magnet English classes were taught on a 10th grade level in 6th grade, there was high level math for the kids who qualified, etc.

    About those “magnet” classes/schools in Florida in the ’70s: looking back, how would you rate them for diversity?

  90. 90
    WereBear says:

    @Cervantes: About those “magnet” classes/schools in Florida in the ’70s: looking back, how would you rate them for diversity?

    Diversity! Ha! There was nothing but white people in the AP classes, for instance.

    I became aware of racial inequality because I read a lot, had parents who didn’t teach hate and never used ethnic slurs, and I had a paper route.

  91. 91
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    I managed to go to college for 5 years without a single history course.

    I suspect that is common.

    @TrexPushups: It is very common. I went to one of the best universities in the world, and had to take one class that “fulfilled the history requirement”. Which did not have to be a history class. My choice was a one-quarter long third world cinema class.

    I knew all about Southern history, of course, because my family is from the Deep South (I was the first born outside!) and my grandmother was a history teacher. But that’s not common, to put it mildly.

    Hate to say it, but a mandatory American history class that takes a full academic year would not be amiss as a degree requirement.

  92. 92
    WereBear says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!: Hate to say it, but a mandatory American history class that takes a full academic year would not be amiss as a degree requirement.

    The British kick our asses in this regard. Plus, they have a lot more history, and their kings share about five names.

  93. 93
    J R in WV says:

    I love history, but have trouble with precise dates. I do well to know that Something I came before Something II, for example.

    So I avoided history classes, and read books by historians on my own. Autodidact big time, which can result in not knowing how to pronounce a name or technical term in discussion, but otherwise is great fun.

    But how anyone could swallow the bilge that secession was over anything other than brute bondage slavery, that passeth all understanding!!

    What ignorance, willful ignorance, afraid of what they might learn, I suppose.

  94. 94
    Mike Furlan says:

    “Yet it is a land with
    a unity despite its diversity, with a people having common joys and
    common sorrows, and, above all, as to the white folk a people with a
    common resolve indomitably maintained-that it shall be and remain
    a white man’s country. The consciousness of a function in these
    premises, whether expressed with the frenzy of a demagogue or main-
    tained with a patrician’s quietude, is the cardinal test of a Southerner
    and the central theme of Southern history.”
    U.B Phillips

  95. 95
    Betty Cracker says:

    @WereBear: My kiddo is in a magnet program, which means she has to leave our majority-white school district to attend a majority-minority school — but the magnet program participants are mostly white. Still, her group of friends is diverse, and interracial friendships / dating among high schoolers in general seems fairly common now, which was not the case when I was in high school in the 80s. There hasn’t been enough progress, but there has been some.

  96. 96
    Aleta says:

    @WereBear: OT: is your other blog still up? Can’t seem to find it, but I got questions …. Thanks

  97. 97
    Joe Falco says:

    It’s been too long since my days in AP US History, but I do remember the weak tea “the Civil War was about states’ rights” that was served to me and my fellow millennial classmates. I was able to score high enough on the AP exams to avoid history classes in college, but even in “college-level” high school courses, there was still this BS going on. There may have been some class discussion about what it was all really about, but it’s lost to the fog of memory. And see, I don’t remember any of my classmates wearing Confederate flag shirts or any other such nonsense. Everyone was supposedly the good kids, the ones that score high and do well in all subjects.

  98. 98
    WereBear says:

    @Betty Cracker: Good for her! It meant a lot to me to hang with a crowd where I had a shot at finding shared interests.

    When I was in high school, we were locked in our homerooms to eat our lunch from a styrofoam shell. Because there had been riots. We are far far away from that.

  99. 99
    WereBear says:

    @Aleta: I’ve had a dip in my health the last month, so been neglecting my health blog, but you are welcome to contact me.

  100. 100
    spencer neal says:

    I do get tired of polls which have only the black and the white views. I am mixed race, Asian and white, and I have opinions, too.

  101. 101
    Aleta says:

    @WereBear: thanks. Hope the dip levels out soon.

  102. 102
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee: Apple’s decision to drop Civil War-themed games that had the Confederate battle flag in them was also kind of dumb. It’s not the same thing as flying it at the state house, or flying it at all.

    However, anyone driving around in real life with their car painted like the General Lee gets my automatic disapproval, and I know that was what most of the kids I knew growing up aspired to. (The kid next door got a horn in his car that played Dixie.)

  103. 103
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @spencer neal: Not only that, people who are neither black nor white are an increasing fraction of the electorate, so that’s kind of important.

  104. 104
    Paul in KY says:

    @WereBear: Not just our kings! Have been reading up on period of Wars of the Roses and trying to differentiate between the various Richards, Henrys, and Edwards is a bitch. Also, various authors don’t differentiate between various Dukes of York and the like. Always referring to them just as: ‘On Michelmas, the Duke of York took his adherents & marched to St. Albans, etc.’ You have to be aware of which Duke of York, or Earl of Warwick or Count of Poncypants they are talking about. I’m only now getting them all straight, after about 6 books.

  105. 105
    Aleta says:

    Here’s a question for the survey: When a pickup truck flying a Confed. flag pulls up next to your picnic table (or campsite, outdoor music/fireworks seat, or kid’s birthday party), do you feel more relaxed, less relaxed, or no difference ?

  106. 106
    Cervantes says:

    @WereBear:

    The British kick our asses in this regard. Plus, they have a lot more history, and their kings share about five names.

    @J R in WV:

    I love history, but have trouble with precise dates. I do well to know that Something I came before Something II, for example.

    I’ve used an approach recommended by a hero of mine, one Mr. Clemens. What you need is a long stretch: a sidewalk will do, a park is great, and if you have (access to) a compound with fields, wooded areas, orchards, flowering hedges, ponds, brooks, and other memorable features, so much the better.

    Using string, or a trail of stones, or some such durable thing to mark the linear progression of time, you put up signs, or placards, or murals, or imaginative icons at time-scaled points along the way to represent significant events — the ones whose importance and relation to each other you mean to convey.

    Once you’ve done that, all you need is a succession of long and pleasant summer days — the kids do the rest by themselves.

    Years later your imaginative effort is rewarded when a child — perhaps by then an adult — tells you what and how they remember.

  107. 107
    catclub says:

    @Belafon:

    Isn’t going to happen any sooner than a proper course in probability and statistics which would properly teach people that lotteries are a big waste of money.

    A waste of money for people who buy lottery tickets. A superb investment for people who sell lottery tickets.

  108. 108
    Aleta says:

    describing the flag as a symbol of Southern pride more than one of racism

    I imagine Southern pride means different things to different people.

  109. 109
    catclub says:

    @Paul in KY:

    Count of Poncypants they are talking about. I’m only now getting them all straight, after about 6 books.

    I am not sure how straight that Count of Poncypants is, anyway.

  110. 110
    catclub says:

    @Aleta: But you can bet those people (many of them Southern Baptist) do not remember that pride is the first sin.

  111. 111
    Aleta says:

    @Cervantes: Do you recall where Sam described this? (Thanks, good idea.)

  112. 112
    Cervantes says:

    @Aleta:

    Yes, he described it in “How to Make History Dates Stick,” Harper’s, December 1914.

    An excerpt:

    Sixteen years ago when my children were little creatures the governess was trying to hammer some primer histories into their heads. Part of this fun — if you like to call it that — consisted in the memorizing of the accession dates of the thirty-seven personages who had ruled England from the Conqueror down. These little people found it a bitter, hard contract. It was all dates, they all looked alike, and they wouldn’t stick. Day after day of the summer vacation dribbled by, and still the kings held the fort; the children couldn’t conquer any six of them.

    With my lecture experience in mind I was aware that I could invent some way out of the trouble with pictures, but I hoped a way could be found which would let them romp in the open air while they learned the kings. I found it, and they mastered all the monarchs in a day or two.

    The idea was to make them see the reigns with their eyes; that would be a large help. We were at the farm then. From the house-porch the grounds sloped gradually down to the lower fence and rose on the right to the high ground where my small work-den stood. A carriage road wound through the grounds and up the hill. I staked it out with the English monarchs, beginning with the Conqueror, and you could stand on the porch and clearly see every reign and its length, from the Conquest down to Victoria, then in the forty-sixth year of her reign—eight hundred and seventeen years of English history under your eye at once!

    The full text is available on line. This version includes facsimiles of the original pages from Harper’s with sketches by the author.

  113. 113
    Cervantes says:

    @Aleta:

    My response is in moderation for reasons unfathomable. It will appear at some point, I am sure.

  114. 114
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    Here’s a question for the survey: When a pickup truck flying a Confed. flag pulls up next to your picnic table (or campsite, outdoor music/fireworks seat, or kid’s birthday party), do you feel more relaxed, less relaxed, or no difference ?

    @Aleta: I usually groan and realize that if I stick around for a few hours, I’ll have to call 911 for some stupid reason or another.

  115. 115
    Archon says:

    Mitt Romney a man who had as much contemporary cultural knowledge as a 7-year old and whose policy solution for millennials basically came down to, “borrow money from your parents”, won the white millennial vote 50-47.

    Plain old benign ignorance might explain why people don’t know the true meaning of the confederacy but it doesn’t explain some 22 year old white kid taking time out of his day to vote for Mitt Romney.

  116. 116
    Paul in KY says:

    @catclub: Needed a snare drum roll on that one!!! LOLing!!!

  117. 117
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Aimai: There’s a fair bit of evidence that white millennials are, if anything, only slightly less racist than their parents. The big difference is really between boomers and people who are older than boomers, and the latter are still part of the Fox News Geezer cohort.

    However, millennials are less white, and that does affect how they will think and act across the whole group.

  118. 118
    Keith G says:

    @Aimai: I tend to agree with you with caveats which I will get to later.

    I manage a pâtisserie/cafe in central Houston. Most of our staff are drawn from three universities and one high school which are all nearby to us. I supervise a front-end staff of diverse backgrounds ranging in age from 17 to 26. I am quite impressed with the level of tolerance and empathy that I see with fewer hang ups than many professional staff with whom I have worked in years past.

    As for the caveats, first I’m not sure that generational descriptors are all that valuable. I would like to see the evidence showing that intergenerational descriptions and differences are any more valid and significant than intragenerational differences.

    Second and related, it seems to me that community experiences and expectations are as formative as any attachment to an age cohort.

    Which brings me to the third caveat. Any one person’s observations are of course anecdotal. Mine are based on groups of striving kids who are working in a fairly affluent community and I’m sure, or at least I think, that kids working in Bug Swamp, Alabama could as a group have a bit of a different point of view…. but that’s not certain.

  119. 119

    People ought to know better.

    “A wizard ought to know better!” said Treebeard, just before he and his Ent friends destroyed Isengard.

    Yeah, they should.

  120. 120
    Keith G says:

    @Xantar: What you described here I think is very significant and probably more powerful than some of the other considerations mentioned by others above.

  121. 121
    boatboy_srq says:

    @newtons.third: I got the impression that, whatever their politics, their understanding that The American South is Teh Cray-Cray definitely improved from that experience. At least they didn’t try that in Uganda. Slightly O/T: rumor has it there was an attempt at rainbow-flag-burning which set alight a mobile home and killed all but two participants.

  122. 122
    Another Holocene Human says:

    Millennials didn’t live through the Civil Rights Movement and they sure as hell weren’t told the truth in school.

  123. 123
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Matt McIrvin: ding ding ding

  124. 124
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Aleta:

    Here’s a question for the survey: When a pickup truck flying a Confed. flag pulls up next to your picnic table (or campsite, outdoor music/fireworks seat, or kid’s birthday party), do you feel more relaxed, less relaxed, or no difference ?

    I feel intimidated. But I’m one of the gheyz, so there’s that.

  125. 125
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Joel: More like Kid Rock. Ugh.

    ps: plus all the white boys who think they learned everything they need to know about the African American community from gangsta rap that was written and marketed expressly to them

  126. 126
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Paul in KY: @catclub: That was actually the Marquess of Poncypants. IIRC he caught the English Disease at a young age.

    @Xantar: Part of the grumping is that for generations we older-folks have been assured that the education system was improving, so that future generations would be better educated than we were and wouldn’t be quite so “egocentric and self-absorbed” as a consequence. Now we’re seeing the results, and not only are Millenials roughly similarly varied as we were, all the things we went through (and paid taxes and tuitions for) have apparently failed utterly in that regard. We lived through New Math, generically-goopy Social Studies, horribly excerpted Great Works and other toxins in the hope that the process would improve for the next generation; it hasn’t and we feel cheated – and a lot of the “kids these days” grump you hear is not so much disdain directed at you as misdirected fury at the policymakers who sold us a truckload and called it Education Policy.

  127. 127
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Aleta: Depends on whether I’m attending a Pink Pistols outing or not.

  128. 128
    Paul in KY says:

    @boatboy_srq: That’s the ‘Spanish’ disease, I’ll have you know!

  129. 129
    LauraNo says:

    Losing a war, and losing your pet project, slavery, are not things to be proud of. Since when does America celebrate losers?

  130. 130
    blueskies says:

    @debbie: It is remarkable how similar those declarations are (especially Georgia’s) to the pap the spews from the Tea Party and almost all of the Republican Party. It’s all about whinging on about losing a national election, absolutely refusing to abide by the outcome of a legitimate election.

    The Republicans did it with Carter, with Clinton, and with Obama. With Obama, we got the bonus of the Tea Party.

  131. 131
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Aleta:

    Here’s a question for the survey: When a pickup truck flying a Confed. flag pulls up next to your picnic table (or campsite, outdoor music/fireworks seat, or kid’s birthday party), do you feel more relaxed, less relaxed, or no difference ?

    “Oh, geez, here we go again.”

  132. 132
    Lordwhorfin says:

    @Cervantes: Where is our Sam of Today, alas? One of the greats.

  133. 133
    john fremont says:

    @Joel: I recall seeing an interview with Ronnie Van Zandt in the 1970’s about the Confederate flag being flown at Lynyrd Skynyrd concerts and how he reassured African Americans that there was no malice intended when the flag was flown, it was about being proud of who you are.

  134. 134
    Denali says:

    The lie that I was told as I was growing up in Tennessee was that my slave-owner ancestors trreated their slaves well so they were happy. What I was not told was that they had children by their slaves. The willful blindness ofSoutherners is unfathomable.

  135. 135

    […] surprised at all by this, considering Republicans love them some Confederacy. It’s who they are, and it’s what their party stands for, and most importantly […]

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