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PB

South Jersey really is a completely different animal. It might as well be a part of Delaware.

I'd be curious to know if the boardwalks at Point Pleasant or Seaside sell this kind of crap.

claudia

I guess they wouldn't sell out of an 'Impeach the terrorist' Bush button, huh?

bethany

I'm from south Texas & even we don't have this much rebel shit. That's crazy to me that they would be trying to hack that stuff in Jersey. What's even crazier is that people are totally rockin' that shit.

Jon

Cmon...you have to have lived in NJ long enough to know that South Jersey is full of rednecks. Yay North Jersey!

Keisha

Hey Bethany, I'm in S. TX too, and (when I was in HS a few yrs ago) ppl had this stuff all over their trucks, shirts, hats, etc. I even had a kid tell me that slavery was the best thing to happen to the US, it was a necessary part of history, and implied that we should repeat it. This kid is SUPPOSED to be my friend...and I'm black too. Hot damn.

Oh well, maybe white Jesus can help me to feel that way too...I think I'm gonna get my hair braided and dyed to look like the rebel flag.

Keisha

Oh yeah - Rich, I love you even more.

Patrick

If you want to see something even more weird, go look for the Stars & Bars in...New Hampshire.

A friend of mine has worked some political campaigns in the Granite State; we're both native Texans and are therefore use to some of the rebel flag bullshit that rednecks put on their rustbuckets and that ignorant suburbanites scared of affirmative action slap on their vans and SUVs (at least in the Dallas area).

When I went to NH to visit her in '04, I almost broke my neck whipping my head around when I saw two cars in Concord with Stars & Bars bumperstickers and NH plates. I asked her WTF was up with that and she said apparently there are a small group of Confederate folks in New-freaking-Hampshire.

Seriously!

I found it all the more wacky considering every little town and small city in New Hampshire and Vermont has an obelisk or memorial dedicated to the boys who didn't come back from the War Between The States.

As several other commenters have pointed out or mentioned, this has to do with decades of cultural revisionism now being turned into nascent "white pride". There's been enough revisionism peddled about the South before and during the Civil War that folks can get away with this kind of nonsense.

janine

Perhaps I'm too perverse but my first impulse was that I wanted to wear these shirts. I'm a Black woman. I bet their heads would explode like the Death Star.

Linds

Man, I've read your site ever since I was linked to your fabulous Madonna post way back when, but I've never been so compelled to respond.

I'm from Indiana, also a Union state. I don't think many people here realize it though. I'm from Indianapolis, so it's not too bad, but I go to school in Southern Indiana. It's a nightmare. The local high school's mascot is the Rebels, which you would know even if it wasn't written everywhere. If we want to sing karaoke we have to sing in front of the huge Confederate flag that takes up a full wall of the local bar.

It just gets worse, but the more I talk about it the more it makes me want to set myself on fire. How are there enough people in this country supporting this shit? Why won't it die?

Lauren

I live in South Jersey, and this shocked me--NO ONE I know has ever worn a shirt like this, made pro- (or anti-) Confederate statements, or been publicly racist to this extent! It's ridiculous! I feel embarrassed seeing things like this degrading Jersey, because it doesn't apply to all of it. Everyone knows Wildwood is trashy, though. I've never been but at my school no one goes unless they crash there, drunk, after prom. The only time I've seen a shirt like that is when our class went to Gettysburg and my friend bought one as a joke. I'm ashamed that people are going to get such a bad idea of our state. The government sucks, but it really is a good place to live! Really!

kashmunny

i kinda felt the same confusion in niagara falls (canadian side) a few years ago when i saw shirts being sold that said "silly faggot! dix are for chix!"

xnowhereboyx

I saw some Confederate flags on monster trucks back in high school in Wisconsin. I never understood, since Wisconsin was about as far north as you could get. Last week on a trip around SoCal we saw Confederate bumper stickers on (what else?) a monster truck on the drive from Palm Springs to San Diego. It was driven by (what else?) this skinny, greasy white guy who probably hasn't had a date in a decade. Today people associate the Confederate flag with "white pride" and I think the resurgence in the Confederate flag goes hand-in-hand with anti-immigration sentiments. Ironically, I got five on it that the merchandise and t-shirts are not made in America. I also noticed the Bob Marley t-shirts right next to the Confederate flag t-shirts in the one photo. It cracks me up if people have to buy them from a foreigner....

Kimberly

Wildwood is INSANELY trashy. My husband and I were there on July 3 and we definitely noticed the upswing in all this crap. I'm from South Carolina and I grew up rolling my eyes at those who worship this flag in ignorance (the Civil War historians I knew tended to have more moderate and informed viewpoints). I was really surprised to see this when I moved up here!

I also noticed that every store we went into was run by someone with a Russian accent, and every store selling this type of material was selling it at a deep discount (buy one get one free, get the 2nd one $10 off, etc). So maybe all this crap was bought by recent immigrants who really didn't know what it signified, and now they're desperately trying to unload it all and make some of their investments back!

kelly

Oh, lord. I live in Canada, and when my brother was 10 he played on a boy's hockey team. The team's name was "Rebels" and their jerseys were -- you guessed it -- emblazoned with that flag.

In Canada for god's sake.

I was 13 at the time and I'm sure I was the only person who looked at those uniforms and thought, "What the fuck?" To everyone else it was just some vague symbol.

Cathy

Oh man, I went to Wildwood all the time in HS, and I never remember seeing anything of this shit. I'm lovin the hermit crab though. Poor little thing.

Stephanie

Rich, as a black woman and a devoted reader, I just wanna say that you fucking rock. You never cease to amaze me with your dead on insights. If only more people (black, white, gay, straight, old, young, male, female) were as open and thought as critically as you do. Keep posting. I'll keep reading.

ash.

that just goes to show you that its everywhere.im a african american woman in nj and my former employer (hence the word former)asked if i was negro.

this was in 2006.

thanks for the post.

Elan

It so odd that you would post this today, I was just talking to my boyfriend about how it is that we live in Western Michigan(specifically Kalamazoo, the halfway point b/tw Detroit and Chicago)and there are SOOOO many people with Confederate flag crap in front of their houses. He's a militant/revolutionary type so he was talking about blowing stuff up. It was kind of crazy

Stormy70

Here is the problem with the Battle Flag that I see. Much like the Nazis took the swastika, which has always stood for good luck, and used it to perpetrate atrocities against humanity, while the civilian population stood by, they ruined the symbol.

When the KKK approriated the rebel battle flag, and perpertrated atrocities against humanity in the 1950s, while a large segment stood silently by, the symbol was idelibly fused to their evil works.

However, this is America where tacky and inappropriate clothing reins supreme. I am equally offended by the latest in Soviet Chic or Che Chicas I am by the battle flag chic, but I consider the morons wearing all this symbol clothing are just self-identifying. I am on the right of the spectrum, politically, so I think Commie mass murderers should deserve as much derision as the KKK.

I live in Texas, and I see very few battle flags anywhere. We all have the great Lone Star State flag to wave. Oh, and breakfast tacos, food of the gods.

Zell

I witnessed this first hand last summer when my boyfriend and I went to the Warren County fair. I've lived in Jersey a little over five years and that was the first time I really ventured far enough in, and long enough, to see stuff like that. It's very odd. I tried getting some good shots of the t-shirt booths but being pretty much the only black person there I didn't feel like getting lynched.

The entry is in my link.

Leila

Aaaand, the list of places in the United States that freak me the fuck out grows again.

Lawbot

I've never been happier to live in the Pacific northwest.

Cath

Stormy, the "rebel battle flag" wasn't sullied by the Klan's activities "in the 1950s." For one thing, the Klan began its terrorism during Reconstruction. For another, it was always the flag of the pro-slavery side. You can't whitewash that (pun intended) no matter how much you try. It was never on the side of right. Ever.

Bobby

Dear "Nikos" (I'm going to follow your lead and use quotation marks to indicate anything I feel derisively toward),

That's quite a grip on the legal theory you've got there. If States lose their "right to make laws" when they enslave or mistreat a specific group of their citizens, I would assume the same rule applies to sovereign nations. Under this logic, The United States (for example) has no more right to "make laws" than the Confederacy did. See: Native Americans, Chinese, blacks, Southerners during the Reconstruction, the Japanese, Middle-Easterners, etc, etc.

None of my friends are or were actual slaves. I should have mentioned that my circle, while diverse, doesn't include any time travelers. I'm sure it's possible that some of their ancestors may have died in slavery. At least one had a grandfather killed during one of our imperialist wars in Asia during the last century, and yet he doesn't protest my American citizenship.

I already stated that I don't wear or display the Confederate flag. I do remember quite a few of my (black) classmates wearing t-shirts emblazoned with a Confederate flag rendered in what are commonly referred to as "African colors," which were quite popular at the time. I bet some of them even wore them to hip-hop clubs. It's too bad you weren't around to let them know how foolish they were.

I don't see what the current political climate in the South proves about a war fought over a hundred years ago, except perhaps that disenfranchising a large group of people tends to dehumanize them and make them easier and easier to subjugate. That's called "irony."

Ashley

I'm another TN reader, and wouldn't quite say it's fallen into kistch territory. To me, the rebel flag to me automatically means institutional racism, not states' rights. I mean, when is it going to be okay to airbrush swastikas on t-shirts? That's certianly a much older symbol than the stars and bars, and didn't always mean "Nazi!", but the associations are far too deep to ever ignore - and you don't see too many clever Germans wandering about with that on their boogie boards, pretending to be ironic. The rebel flag should be viewed in the same way. Slavery is NOT COOL.

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