Heritage

300px-New_York_Draft_Riots_-_fighting.jpg

It seems that April is Confederate Heritage month. Why one would want to celebrate a heritage of violent rebellion against a democratically elected government in order to perpetuate a system of chattel slavery is a bit hard for me to say.

When I was growing up in New York City, for example, I don't remember any mass campaigns to celebrate the 1863 draft riots as the city's finest hour. The states of the Old Confederacy are hardly unique in that elements of their historical heritage involve discreditable treatment of African-Americans. But they do seem unusual in their insistence on celebrating these historical episodes and in insisting that portraying them in a positive light is integral to a proper understanding of their local identity. Even odder, as best I can tell these days (it was different in the past) most of the folks who like to wave the Confederate flag are perfectly genuine when they get offended that others see them as waving a banner of violent white supremacist ideology. But if that's not the ideology you mean to associate with, then why not drop the flag and adopt some less provocative emblem of Southern folkways?

Presented by

Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Politics

Just In