Buying a Confederate flag is rather difficult these days. Most major retailers won’t sell them anymore, and even South Carolina thinks the flag belongs more in a museum than in the public space. But worry not, Confederate flag enthusiasts, there may be hope yet.
AJ Hall, a 29 year-old from Los Angeles, launched a new website this week: “Buy Confederate Flags From A Black Guy.”
As he explains in an introduction video, “It’s about heritage, not hate,” continuing, “but while we’re being honest, White people buying other flags from other White people can seem kind of suspicious.”
That’s where the real message comes in. “If the Confederate flag was a symbol of racism, could you buy one from a Black guy?” the video continues. “Hell no.”
So, Hall is selling flags for $69.99, plus shipping costs. Each flag comes with a signed photo of Hall, so you know it came from “a real-life Black guy,” he guarantees.
While at first this comes off as a clever spoof, Hall is actually selling the flags to whoever wants to buy them. But there is a deeper meaning.
Next America recently spoke with Hall to find out his motivations. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What’s the idea behind the website and the video?
The idea came to me three months ago when we were in the thick of the Confederate flag controversy. One thing I’ve noticed, even on liberal sites, is some White people really love nothing more than minorities saying the things that White people aren’t allowed to say.
Even on a website like Reddit, which by all accounts is supposed to be a liberal website, you’ll see things like when Baltimore was burning, videos of a Black guy walking around in a parking lot dropping n-bombs calling fellow Black people “animals.” And while I don’t agree with the actions of rioters, it disgusts me to see how much nonminority people enjoy that kind of behavior. And then there’s the stereotypical Uncle Tom aspect to all of it. That idea is very much still alive and it disturbs me.
So you want to turn that on its head and say, This is a Black guy willing to sell you a Confederate flag and you should not feel guilty?
It’s literally what they want. It is turning it on its head. People can never do anything to change other people’s ideas. That change has to come from you. Instead of looking inside yourself, people find other sources that are supposedly legitimate that compare to what they feel inside. Say you’re a White person feeling conflicted with how the Civil War was clearly about racism and slavery. Then what better idea is it to just find a Black person who says it’s about heritage.
You’re speaking to another point about how the absence of the flag doesn’t really kill racism. There are still racists out there.
That’s my whole point, too. I’m going to plead the Fifth about my feeling on the Confederate flag while this is still going on. Growing up, I saw Confederate flags. It’s a huge thing—the idea of being rebel and counterculture and not-P.C. For me, why take away our ability to identify those types of people. If you want to fly and buy a Confederate flag, I’m not saying what type of person that makes you, but that’s definitely an identifying mark.
The video hasn’t been up that long. Have people actually tried to order the flag already?
Yes. I had a Google Voice number on the website that directs to my phone. I’ve been fielding calls since Monday. More than half of them are people shocked I answered the phone, and I tell them it’s not some viral marketing campaign from some ad agency. I’ve gotten a lot of minority people calling me, appreciating where I’m coming from. And then I got some disturbing calls. I got a call from a gentleman in Oklahoma yesterday who said he works for a school, and for some reason they need to buy a Confederate flag. He asked me if Black people made the flags. He wanted to make sure he was buying the flag “the right way.”
Black folks don’t make these flags, but they are hand-folded by a “genuine Black guy.”
Exactly. Touched by genuine Black lips.
Where are you actually getting these flags?
I have a deal with two manufactures, one here and one overseas.
But otherwise, this is all you?
This is me acting alone. Everything was my idea. I am not part of a comedy troupe. I am not associated with any talent-agency making YouTube stars. This is 100 percent, homegrown AJ Hall.