Anecdotal evidence is usually pretty lousy evidence, and I don’t offer the following for anything more than what it is worth, which you can decide. I went into Phoenixville the other day to get some ice cream with my son. After we got our cones, we were walking through a nearby alley when we came across two rough-looking men in their late 20’s who were loading something or other into their flatbed truck. The first thing I noticed was one of the men’s shirts. It read: “Do I look like a fucking people person?”
He actually looked like someone who engages in group rape and weekend motorcycle trips. Still, the shirt made me chuckle a little.
When we had proceeded a little further down the alley, a noise made me turn around, and it was then that I noticed the Confederate Flag vanity plate on the front of their truck.
I had noticed previously that the back of the truck had a Pennsylvania plate, so I doubt these guys were from South Carolina. The flag symbol on the truck had the same basic message as the shirt on the man’s back, which was basically to tell anyone who might encounter them that they revel in being assholes.
I don’t know if they want everyone to think they are racists. I do know that they want everyone to think they are pricks. Not caring that they might come off as racists is just a part of being sure that they come off as pricks.
I get that some people want to be bad boys. They want to be anti-social. They enjoy intimidating people and acting real tough.
These guys were bigger, stronger, and younger than me, and probably more willing to fight, too, but I wasn’t remotely scared of them. They weren’t about to mess with a white middle age dad out walking with his five-year old son eating ice cream cones. They probably weren’t going to mess with anybody.
But they were driving a truck around in the North with Confederate plates, which is something I consider disloyal. I had a brief impulse to deface their truck. I wanted to tell them to get in the vehicle and drive the fuck south if they wanted to disrespect the Union.
Of course, I didn’t. I’m past my prime, and I was with my son, and I was stone cold sober.
But, yeah, their stupid vanity plates offended me. They offended me.
I can get all abstract about it and be offended for other people who might see those plates, too. I know that symbol can strike fear into black people, and for very good reason. But I don’t even need to be abstract about it to take offense. I don’t want people flying that flag in the North. Any northerner who flies that flag is a jackass at a minimum. Maybe it means you’re proud of your heritage to some people down South. People say that anyway. But, up here, it doesn’t mean that at all, ever.
Up here, it reads to me as “I don’t like black people.”
And, as I’ve already said, if that’s not precisely what you mean, it’s still obvious that you don’t give a rat’s ass if people think that’s what you mean. Either way, you’re an anti-social asshole.
And that’s your right. You have the right to behave that way and to project that image. Maybe you get off on it.
But people fly that flag for a lot of reasons beside being proud of being Southern. And none of them are good.