Kyle Johnson

Confederate Flag Georgia License Plates? Oh, Dear

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In Georgia, racism is apparently okay as long as it is both historical and profitable

Georgia on My Mind…Because of Ridiculous Confederate Flag Georgia License Plates

February was not the kindest month to the state of Georgia. First there was the disastrous response to an apocalyptic winter storm (folks further north might better recognize such an event as “Tuesday”), which left thousands without electricity for the better part of a week. And because the earth clearly hates peaches, it hit Georgia with a 4.1 magnitude earthquake on Saturday. One who believes in a grand design might ask just what Georgia has done to earn all of the bad juju that has been seemingly heaped on it. One who believes in a grand design and common sense might reply that it could have something to do with Confederate Flag Georgia license plates.

Confederate Flag Georgia License Plates

Nothing says “Southern Pride” quite like “YA-HOO, RACISM!”

Confederate Flag Georgia license plates, for whatever reason, are not a new thing. The new design simply ramps up the presence of the battle flag—now featuring it prominently in the background in addition to a badge beside the plate numbers—when compared to the outgoing design. So not only are Confederate Flag Georgia license plates a thing that have existed for some time now, they are apparently also a thing that someone determined was not overtly ridiculous enough. Now with Confederate Flag Georgia license plates, you get twice as much suggested racism for your buck! Sounds like a great deal, right? 

Let’s Shut Down the “History of the Flag” Argument Faster Than an Inch of Snow Shuts Down Atlanta

Yeah, we can have that discussion. Right now, if you’d like! I’ll go first: if you proudly display the Confederate Battle Flag, you are implicitly advocating our racist history.

Call it Southern pride, call it cultural awareness, call it respect for our forefathers. Whatever. If you’re not using the word racism in there somewhere, you’re doing it wrong.

It’s one thing to acknowledge that something happened—after all, learning from our past mistakes is the only way to prevent repeating them—but it’s another thing entirely to turn a symbol that is predominantly associated with oppressing an entire race of people into an accessory. And that’s what the Confederate Flag Georgia license plates are doing, whether you’d like to admit it or not. It’s taking something that once flew over battlefields where men fought and died for the right to own slaves and turning it into fashion.

Trust me, I see it plenty here in Ohio, which perturbs me to no end. You’ll see more than enough pickup trucks whizzing by with Rebel Flag decals stuck to the windows, and if you’re super unfortunate, you may even see someone flying the flag from their vehicle for all to see. Granted, a lot of these people may not be stupid or inherently racist as much as they are abundantly uninformed. They see the flag as another facet of “redneck” culture. Those people would be wrong, but you almost can’t blame them for simply wanting to digest whatever certain people feed them without doing a little of the think-work for themselves. Except, you probably should blame people for not thinking. If people thought more, we wouldn’t have ridiculous garbage like 9/11 Memorial Wine and Confederate Flag Georgia license plates.

“Seriously, It’s Okay. This is Paying For Our Fake Veterans Society.”

It’s particularly appalling that the state of Georgia will no doubt turn a profit off of the plates’ $80 price tag. Oh, but it’s okay because they’ll be giving ten dollars to Sons of Confederate Veterans, someone who is an idiot will no doubt chime in.

No, it’s not excusable because you’ll be funding what is essentially a historical reenactment troupe. It’s not even excusable if you’re using proceeds to fund actual veterans of the actual wars we are actually fighting right now.

From the Sons of Confederate Veterans website (emphasis mine):

“The citizen-soldiers who fought for the Confederacy personified the best qualities of America. The preservation of liberty and freedom was the motivating factor in the South’s decision to fight the Second American Revolution. The tenacity with which Confederate soldiers fought underscored their belief in the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. These attributes are the underpinning of our democratic society and represent the foundation on which this nation was built.”

Uh, you guys do remember that the Civil War was largely fought because Northern states were pushing for the abolition of slavery, yes? And that Southern states seceded because they didn’t want to lose the industry of slavery and give slaves their rights? Guys?

Sure, we can talk about states rights (e.g. the rights of southern states to maintain a slave-driven economy) and tension between the government and the people (brought about largely because of a difference of opinion regarding slavery) as being motivating factors, but the straw that broke the proverbial back of the south’s camel was the fact that the Northern states had moved away from an agricultural economy in favor of an industrial one and no longer needed slavery. The South needed slaves, and they were not going to give them up without a lot of bloodshed.

Now, we don’t need to get into a history lesson here because there are people far more qualified to discuss the atmosphere leading up to/during/following the Civil War than I, but I think you get the point.

If not, I’ll spell it out: the Confederate Army fought to keep African-Americans in chains, and thusly, their flag is a symbol of oppression.

Clear enough? Good, because that simple idea should be enough to affirm why profiteering from Confederate Flag Georgia license plates is a terrible idea.

Black Power Movement License Plates? Why Not? (Answer: probably racism)

“To display this is reprehensible,” Maynard Eaton of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We don’t have license plates saying ‘Black Power.’”

But why not? To commemorate Black History Month, why not have states produce limited edition plates that feature significant moments relative to the Civil Rights and Black Power movements? Sure, we can disregard the more violent aspects of the latter and focus on the inspirational and heartening moments of history. Then each state can donate proceeds to an organization that supports black youth. Everybody wins, right?

What, you mean you think that people would be against that for some reason? I wonder why. And I wonder how many of those people are the kinds of folks who would happily slap Confederate Flag Georgia license plates on their cars.

Don’t Tread on Me…Don’t Logic on Me Either, Please

According to Ray McBerry, spokesman for the Georgia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the plate is not meant to offend anyone in particular, but is simply a means through which Southerners can commemorate their heritage. Further, he added that the state would be discriminating against the Sons of Confederate Veterans by not allowing them to offer the license place.

Speaking of discrimination, also from the SCV site:

“Membership in the Sons of Confederate Veterans is open to all male descendants of any veteran who served honorably in the Confederate armed forces”.

Funny that you are so worried about being discriminated against that you don’t even notice your own proclivities for discrimination.

Here’s an idea: what if LGBT groups in Georgia pushed to have their own license plate that displays the Rainblow Flag and donated the proceeds to teenage outreach groups? Do you think the He-Man Woman Haters Confederate Club would be among the first to stand up and advocate for their rights?

Somehow, I think not.


Well, why don’t we have a look-see at this Gawker article about South Carolina Rep. Garry Smith cutting the budget of two universities for having the temerity to assign Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio to students.

Now I know it’s not Georgia, but provided that a South Carolina native made some vague attempt to scold me for being intolerant in their defense of the Confederate Flag, I figure this is pretty pertinent information. I suspect we might be able to form a speculative answer to the question I posed yesterday from information like this: not only will groups and individuals in power not advocate for the rights of other groups and individuals when they conflict with their personal beliefs, but they may even do whatever they can to punish anyone who even so much as suggests that a certain way of life is acceptable and equal.

Do I even need to mention the fact that the same Confederate Flag flies proudly over the same State House that approved this ridiculous bill? Didn’t think so.


I’m just going to leave this here.

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  • Kyle JohnsonEditor

    Kyle S. Johnson lives in Cincinnati, a city known by many as "the Cincinnati of Southwest Ohio." He enjoys professional wrestling, Halloween, and also other things. He has been writing for a while, and he plans to continue to write well into the future. See more articles by Kyle.

  • Representative for All Things Logical

    Spot on.

  • Intolerant anti-Southern bigot writes: “…if you proudly display the Confederate Battle Flag, you are implicitly advocating our racist history.
    Call it Southern pride, call it cultural awareness, call it respect for our forefathers. Whatever. If you’re not using the word racism in there somewhere, you’re doing it wrong.”

    My response: Oh wow, thank you very much for setting me straight. I mean all this time I had no idea what went on in my own thoughts as an individual until someone as “tolerant” and “far-thinking” as you came along to sort them out with bland generalizations. Oh thank you (kisses feet) thank you (kisses feet again)

    Snort. Sorry but one parody deserves another.

    • Kyle Johnson

      You say this word “bigot.” I do not think it means what you think it means. Anyway, I appreciate the foot-kissing, though I don’t think you needed to go quite that far.

      Of course, if you’d like to tell me just how the Confederate Flag is anything but a symbol representative of a people who gave their lives so that they could still have slaves, I’ll happily entertain your discourse.

      • Well Johnson, I will certainly do my best.

        To begin with the common Confederate soldier was not fighting for slavery, even if one can argue that the government he fought for was. He fought to defend his home, no different than the boys in blue fought to defend theres when invaded, and the South was the invaded party. Suffering terribly for four years of war, the only thing the Southern volunteer thought about was home and family and protecting them from an invader.

        Granted that does not divorce one from the cause they fought for, but I would make the argument that since the war itself was not caused by secession then the causes of secession are irrelevant. I thin argument to be sure, but a small cause for reasonable doubt in the case of the common soldier.

        Also bear in mind that since secession itself was not declared illegal constitutionally until Brown Vs Texas in 1869, then it was technically not illegal during the War itself, hence the charge of “treason” is flawed.

        Even if you cannot accept that secession was ever anything but treason the action of President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905 signing the executive order returning the captured battle flags to the South effectively “pardoned” those flags and by extension those who carried them of any alleged treason.

        Now then, add to the fact that the Southern Cross has a long history beyond the War to modern time, some good and some not-so-good, and the efforts on the part of many groups to stamp out the misuse of that flag by racists who have no moral claim to it. Not to mention the growing number of Southern-born minorities who are adopting this flag as a personal symbol (Let’s leave Kanye out of this one shall we?) again another slap in the face to hate groups everywhere. Ultimately that will do more to strike a blow against racism than banning the flag and labeling its defenders will ever do.

        That does not mean one should forget the misuse of that flag and the terror that some used it to inspire. Far from it. You remember it, and then you turn it and never allow it to happen again. The US flag has far more ugliness attached to its history, and yet we honor it as our national colors for all of tis good qualities. So it is the same for millions in America and some across the world who honor the Southern Cross as a symbol of identity, heritage and heraldry.

        Face it, the history of that flag is far from over, its still going on and how its preceived 50 years hence may well be far different from the battlefield it was born on. You do not have to embrace it yourself sir, but please do not label those who do not share your views under a single blanket of hatred….remember that can work other ways too. (See my other post)

        One way or another, those who honor that flag in positive ways are not going anywhere anytime soon. We fight so nobody should ever be labeled for being proud of their descendants, and so nobody should ever feel fear or anger at that flag again. We’re proud and we’re here. You don’t have to like it, but you better get used to it.

        • Oh and Mr. Johnson, I do appreciate the forum and your patience sir. Truly, thank you for giving me the opportunity to present my case. I leave it up to the readers now.

        • Kyle Johnson

          “To begin with the common Confederate soldier was not fighting for slavery, even if one can argue that the government he fought for was.”

          I hate to break Godwin’s Law m’self, but I feel like this is an apt enough reason to do so. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a few conversations with Holocaust survivors, and while I tend to try to avoid analogs that involve comparing one tragedy to another, this line reminds me of a saying I’ve heard on a few occasions: “After the war, I never met a German who was a Nazi.”

          Many who fought for that cause would claim that they fought for no more than the pride of their country or simply following orders, but the fact is, it was never just that. Soldiers are largely representatives of their government, and whether they wholly believe in the causes or not, they are nonetheless fighting for them. That’s collusion.

    • Alex

      I’m sorry, C.W., but it sounds like, by calling this author “intolerant,” you are implying that if one does not tolerate intolerance (i.e. the racism associated with the Confederate flag), then that person is intolerant as well. I don’t tolerate Nazis; I don’t tolerate homophobes; I don’t tolerate sexists. Does that make me an intolerant person? No. Nor does opposing racism make this author intolerant.

  • Well sir, allow me to specify what I believe, though I doubt you will care much for it.

    Here are two simple, clear facts that even you cannot deny:

    (a) Hate groups like the KKK and Neo-Nazis misuse the flag as a tool of hatred against other people based on color and religion.
    (b) Heritage groups like the SCV and UDC fight to display it honorably as a living symbol of Confederate descendants (of all colors and religions) who revere it.

    If you hate the Southern Cross, or believe it to be a symbol of hate, slavery and racism, then who do you share more in common with? The answer of course is A.
    People who honor that flag for all the right reasons – and this includes Confederate descendants, regular Southern people not all of whom are white – do not and would never use that flag as a prop to harm or create fear in another human being.

    Those who oppose the white supremacists who do fight to end this and promote the idea that a good and honorable symbol that so many died defending should offend nobody. Those who stand in the way of that – those who support the shared view of the KKK and their allies that the battle flag is a symbol of evil – are people who promote the Status Quo, and by extension, the intolerance that goes with it both again minorities and against Confederate descendants.

    Is THAT clear enough?

    Oh and FYI being bisexual myself I am far from homophobic or sexist, yet I support that flag and proudly call myself a Confederate descendant. Don’t presume to label people and put them into a box to fix your own prejudice sir, that too is something you’d share in common with the racist I mentioned before.

    • Kyle Johnson

      I appreciate the fact that you took the time to lay out what you believe here. I respect peoples’ right to hold an opinion and express it as they so choose, as that’s one of the more beautiful privileges that we enjoy here in this country.

      And no, I don’t agree in even the slightest with anything that you’ve said.

      For someone who is so given to the idea of someone else making “sweeping generalizations,” you were awfully quick to pull the trigger on the “If you are not b, then you are clearly closer to a” fallacy that somehow…I don’t know…proves your misinformed notion that I am somehow intolerant? Sure, I’m intolerant of certain things, much in the same way that Alex up there is. One of the things I’m particularly intolerant of is people and groups not taking responsibility for their histories. I don’t suffer ignorance gladly, and I abhor ignorance when it’s blatant and willful.

      I can’t be totally sure because, honestly, it was admittedly a bit difficult to wade through all of the muddled text in the third and fourth paragraphs, but I’m pretty sure what you’re trying to say here is the routine old “anybody who disagrees with me is a hate monger” argument. I don’t have enough chuckles for that notion, that’s for sure, because that’s straight out of the Trite Arguments for Dummies handbook. Try looking up Godwin’s Law some time, and you’ll see what I mean.

      The fact is, the Confederate Battle Flag is largely associated with the Confederate States of America, which was formed by seven slave states who seceded from the Union following the election of Abraham Lincoln (and later expanded to a total of thirteen states) because they didn’t agree with–among other things–his belief that slavery should not be a part of Western expansion. This flag is, no doubt, associated with the cause of the Confederates–one need only read the SCV’s website to see just that, so we can admit that nobody’s going out of their way to deny it.

      What I fail to understand is why no one seems ready to admit that the Confederate Flag, as such, stood for a cause that was largely based upon advocating for enslaving men and women of color. Because, if we use your a and b line of thinking, Confederate Flag is a symbol of Confederates, Confederacy stands for the suppression of a race of people, so therefore Confederate Flag stands for the suppression of a race of people. Seems pretty simple to me.

      I mean, let’s be real here, C.W. You’ve certainly done just about everything you can here to avoid the fact that maybe kind of sort of the Confederacy really wanted to keep African-Americans without rights and working themselves to death in cotton fields. You can talk about the people who fought and died for that flag, and let’s be clear that I am in no way undermining the value of a human life, but the fact is that those men fought and died to make sure that slavery remained in this country.

      Of course, let’s bear in mind the fact that American history is checkered with dark moments and poor decisions. By continually fighting against the rights of gay couples to marry, we are still not out of the woods yet in regards to being a fully progressive and accepting society.

      Let’s take for example our historical treatment of Native-Americans: Americans killed the original natives of this country wholesale in order to take what they felt was rightfully theirs, and it wasn’t until a “more enlightened” society some centuries later realized the horror of what we had done that we “atoned” for our actions.

      That’s neither you nor I. But that’s our lineage, and we can’t run from it. We can only learn from it, and do everything that we can to prove to ourselves and the world that we are better.

      And, as far as I am concerned, if you’re flying a Confederate flag proudly, you may as well be flying a blanket infested with Smallpox. Because you clearly haven’t learned anything and you aren’t willing to admit what’s right in front of your face, despite whatever secondary notions you try to apply to it.

      • You have your history all wrong there, but that is understandable since it has been rewritten for 150 years in order to glorify the North, and demonize the South. The only racist flag I see flying in the U.S. is the Stars and Stripes. It is the flag that flew on the slave trading ships from New England. It is the flag that marched into the South and was carried by rapists, plunderers, and murderers of innocent civilian old men, women, and children, black and white. Just because some hate groups hijack our Confederate symbols is no reason to call these symbols racist. Who has the right to define what they stand for? Certainly not some Yankee, or scalawag, or hate group, but the descendants of those who know our true history and what our ancestors were fighting for. To believe that the South fought to retain slavery, when it was dying a natural death and only involved about 6% of the population, is ludicrous. Lincoln cared not one whit for the slaves. He was a racist as anyone who has done any real research knows. He stated that the best use of the western territories was for free WHITE people. His illegal war was all about the collection of excessive tariffs against the South. He stated in his inaugural address that he would collect the tariffs, by force if necessary. He illegally invaded the South to force the legally seceded states back into a union they had no desire to belong to. What is right about that? Two thirds of the northern population was in favor of letting the South go, but Lincoln wanted those revenues. Lincoln illegally arrested numerous northern newspaper editors and others who disagreed with his illegal invasion. Numerous constitutional violations are attributed to your wonderful Mr. Lincoln.
        If you would bother to read some real history you would not make such asinine comments against the South and its symbols. Try these on for size; “The Real Lincoln”, by Charles L.C. Minor, (same title by Thomas DiLorenzo), “The South Was Right”, by James Ronald Kennedy and Walter Donald Kennedy, “Red Republicans and Lincoln’s Marxists” by Walter D. Kennedy and Al Benson, Jr., ”The Un-Civil War” by Leonard M. Scruggs, “Truths of History”, by Mildred Lewis Rutherford (1920), and “Facts and Falsehoods Concerning the War on the South 1861-1865”, by George Edmunds.
        Also, visit these web sites: Nope, Nuh-Uh.

        • Kyle Johnson

          “Just because some hate groups hijack our Confederate symbols is no reason to call these symbols racist. Who has the right to define what they stand for?”

          I don’t know, dude. You seem to be pretty adamant to define it as standing for anything other than a cause that, again, sought to keep slaves in order to keep the economy going (which was nearly entirely agricultural and reliant on slavery). I don’t think you actually being from the South gives you any better context for its meaning than anybody else, and in fact, the ability to remove oneself from preconceived notions of meaning often leads to a better sense of enlightenment.

          As someone who’s lived outside of America for a number of years, I know fully well what some people from different countries think about Americans. However, one has to be able to separate self from country, and that’s where one is able to step back from their associations and see fact for what it really is. This enables one to recognize the things that their country does that in not representative of their beliefs instead of denying it up and down. People who have no perspective on the world around them are rarely capable of seeing what their own country doesn’t do as well as others.

          Thanks for the suggested reading list, but you telling me to read titles that support your belief system is basically the equivalent of me approaching someone from Europe who doesn’t agree with something America does and recommending they take a read through “America is Better Than Butterflies and Cupcakes Combined” by John Q. Jingoism. Believe me, I’m fully capable of interpreting history, and I’m capable of interpreting symbols and their meanings (despite the fact that I’m just “some Yankee,” as you so eloquently put it).

          I’ll say it again, because it’s a fact that doesn’t change: the Confederate Battle Flag flew for a cause that supported the enslavement of African-American men and women. Had the Civil War gone a different way, slavery may very well still exist in this country because that’s what the Confederacy wanted. You can talk about the reasons for the North’s abolitionist stance and whether it was noble or not, but in the end, it may not matter much what Lincoln’s intentions were if the result is the freeing of slaves. We as a country need to accept the fact that our ancestors did some really disgusting things; the problem is, some of us are way more reticent than others.

          People can attribute the American flag to whatever horrible things we have done in the past, and that is entirely fair. The difference, perhaps, is some semblance of ownership. One and all, it seems that the party line for the pro-Bars and Stars camp is that “hate groups” hijack the flag and give it a bad image. Have you stopped to consider the fact that these groups might just associate themselves with the Confederate Flag because it flew for a cause similar to their own? What I am routinely seeing from pro-Confederate Flag crowd here is a whole lotta excuses and conjecture and not nearly enough ownership of the symbol they so vehemently defend.

          I’m not a defender of the North and I’m not attacking the South, and I think that’s where you’re mistaken. I am attacking illogical ideas, including the absurd notion that continuing to celebrate a symbol of oppression does anything other than perpetrate the acceptability of the oppression for which it stood.

  • rich

    i think it is perfectly ok to have a plate such as that. I think Georgia should bring the flag back also. as long as there can be bet ,black entertainment tv, black history month , black music awards, and many others it should not be an issue.

    • Kyle Johnson


      Thanks for your hot take, Rich. However, if I may impose, I’d like to respond to this with a question: how exactly does the presence of television networks, award shows, and a month dedicated entirely to honoring the achievements of black men and women in any way justify the hanging of a flag that in many ways stood for not giving them their basic freedoms?

      That’s just…I…you might have broken my brain. That or it’s too early. Let me get some coffee before I continue.

      Okay. I’ll say this: we do have television networks specifically for white people. They’re called NBC, ABC, CBS, etc. We have awards to celebrate white artists. They’re called the Grammys. We have White People History Month. They’re called January, March, April, May, June…well, you get the point. I hate to have to be the one to break this to you, but here’s the scoop: by and large, white people are not oppressed by anybody. The only time that white people are oppressed (e.g. for their gender, religion, sexuality, beliefs) is when they are being oppressed by other white people.

      African-American history being rightly observed and respected and black musicians and artists having their own separate venues through which they can express themselves does not in any way condone flying a flag that historically stands for oppressive ideals. Not even close.

  • I dont mind this being a yankee living in Florida.Honor the fallen.But what makes me sick is the large CONFEDERATE FLAG on I-75 @ White Springs Fl.In the North we fly the AMERICAN FLAG.We are no longer two sided.In V.N. we fought together.We are all Americans,All brothers and sisters, We die together.