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Being Offensive for the Sake of It?

Ellen Levitt

Posted on December 29, 2021 20:12

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What would you think about seeing someone driving a motorcycle with a prominently displayed Confederate flag?

This past Sunday, my family and I were driving on Hylan Boulevard in Staten Island. This is a major road in the least populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Staten Island is the least touristy of the city's boroughs but does have some wonderful and intriguing sites. In fact, we had been visiting Conference House, which is a historic site.

We enjoyed our visit there and nearby historic Biddle House. As we drove back to Brooklyn via Hylan Boulevard, a motorcycle cut into our lane. It held two riders, and on the back of the motorcycle was mounted a Confederate flag.

We gawked at this. I know that not every person in NYC is a die-hard liberal. But, since when does someone in NYC (and this motorcycle did have a NYS license plate) proudly fly the flag of the Confederacy?

When the motorcycle and our car stopped for a red light, I took a few photographs. My family cautioned me against this, but I ignored them and said, "These people are proud to fly this, and I doubt they'll care that I took a photo." I doubt they noticed that I took a photo.

Why would someone fly the Confederate flag in 2021? Are they white supremacists? Do they want to irk and anger people with this kind of statement? Do they think this is a cool move? Is there actually some naivety to this action? Or do they know full well that flying this flag, especially in NYC with its many Black people, is a hurtful and obnoxious act?

I know that flying the Confederate flag is protected speech. But why would someone choose to make such a statement?

The Confederacy seceded from the Union, and this was a treasonous act. The Confederacy and its followers broke many laws. The Confederacy fought to protect their right to enslave people whom they considered inferior.

The Confederacy lost the Civil War. They called it their "lost cause" and tried their best to romanticize this. They promulgated racist laws. People who sympathized with this created the horrendous Ku Klux Klan, which killed and rampaged. Blacks and even some whites were killed and threatened by the KKK.

Flying the Confederate flag is more than just an obnoxious thing to do. It's about aligning yourself with some of the worst aspects of American history and culture. It's Un-American. It's traitorous.

I wonder if the motorcycle couple was itching for a brawl. Are they ready and willing to fight for their right to wave the Confederate flag, or do they assume that everyone will just roll their eyes at their flag? Is this the "hill you want to die on"?

Quite frankly, I think this couple is beyond disgusting. Had they waved a flag with generic curse words, I would have chuckled. Had they flown a "Trump 2020" flag, I would have laughed. But flying the Confederate flag was an act of pure hatred. They're not patriotic. They're disgraceful.

Ellen Levitt

Posted on December 29, 2021 20:12

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