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 response to discussion on confederate flag 
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Today (November 9) i attended a discussion on the confederate flag. this discussion was held in the student union and led by Cameron Lippard, who is a sociology professor at Appalachian. There were many students there, which was helpful because we were able to hear many different views on the confederate flag, which added to the discussion. to begin, we all wrote on a notecard what the flag represented to us. we then switched around several times, so we could anonymously read what others thought about the flag. Dr. Lippard used a slide show to discuss the many different views of the flag and what it means today. he stated that we can use a sociological perspective to look at the flag, which means humans create meaning by social interaction. i definitely think this is true. the example he used was how hand symbols, such as thumbs up, or the peace sign, can be interpreted differently by different cultures or ethnicities. i learned that there are sevearl arguments for what the flag means, including history or heritage, while to others it is a symbol of hate and oppression. one thing i learned that i had no idea of was that there are many different versions of different flags for the confederacy and for individual states. i found it very interesting to see images of all these different flags that are still around today for the most part. finally, one important issue we discussed was whether the flag represents the history of those four years of war, or of the many years after the war. this is an interesting thing to think about, and there were certainly different opinions in the room. i am still not sure where i stand on this idea, but i find it very interesting and important to think about.

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Catherine Langley


Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:34 pm
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I also attended the lunch and learn diversity series on the Confederate Flag. I didn't have too much of a preconceived notion regarding the flag before entering this meeting except that I know most people don't fully understand its origins and that there are some racial undertones to it that make me (and a lot of people) uncomfortable. This particular meeting provided a lot of insight into the historical context of the flag, like for instance how the Confederate Flag that people fly today was actually the battle flag and not the standard flag accepted for the confederate states. In more modern times, the flag has been used by the KKK (though their official flag remains the standard United States flag), to support desegregation, and as a part of the neo-confederate movement. Thus there are serious racial-issues associated with the flag. Throughout our group discussion we had, several students (and one poli-sci professor) brought up the issue of if we can pick and choose our history. Can an individual choose to fly the flag with the intent of displaying something resembling historic southern pride and ignore the racism that is inherently a part of that flag's history? For many people, this flag cannot be rid of the horrors and oppression that it stood as a symbol for. Of course, our own United States flag has years of bloodshed and other atrocities coloring its history. This meeting was very interesting as it both educated me about the confederate flag and raised what I think are very important questions about what it means to display the flag.

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Leigh Stratton


Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:41 pm
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