Tuesday, February 12, 2013

SFC: Taking A Stand Against Hate

As evidenced by the state of the US, there are still ongoing racial tensions and age-old hatreds that the dinosaurs simply can't let go. The fact that we still need programs like Affirmative Action here indicate that there's still a problem, and there's still the dinosaurs who still think a black man is two-thirds a man (or less) or somehow less qualified or intelligent based solely on their ethnicity.

A lingering symbol of white supremacy is the Confederate Battle Flag, the flag held aloft as Southern states seceded from the United States over slavery. Many died in the ensuing civil war, and I cannot envision a greater reason to shed American blood than for the purpose of spreading freedom and equality. In my estimation, aside from self-defense, there really is no justifiable cause to die for. Freedom is in man's heart, irrespective of their nationality, ethnicity, or background. People yearn for it. And yet, even today some states still fly this flag over their statehouses and public buildings. It's just a little bit sickening to me.

Several states' courts, such as Louisiana, have ruled that the flag is, in fact, offensive and have ordered these flags removed from public buildings. I am all in favor of freedom of expression, as you can surely imagine, but in the case of imagery, one must weigh the use of the image against the impact that it can have on people, as well as the reasons for displaying it. In the case of the Rebel Flag, it is almost universally abused by racist organizations for the sole purpose of inciting racial hatreds.  There are few legitimate purposes for the display of this emblem, in my opinion, and the bar with which to display it is set very high due to its inherent nature.

A few months ago, in a heated discussion (read: dust-up) over the new game, Tomorrow, which is all about trying to save the planet from overpopulation, I noticed that a user had proudly displayed his Rebel Flag microbadge. I was surprised that such an emblem would be so causally displayed, especially with a "Thought Criminal" icon as his avatar. In any event, I was given a couple months off in the form of "user moderation" for being a little bit disruptive and pointing out some things that made people uncomfortable. I know, shocker.

Shortly thereafter, I contacted the admins about removing the micro-badge, because it doesn't represent "Southern Rock" as much as "Redneck Racist Values", despite Lynyrd Skynard using it as a backdrop for years. In fact, in 2012, Skynyrd dropped the use of the Confederate Battle Flag specifically because it recognized that it had been appropriated by racist factions and wanted no part of it. When the guys who popularized its use take a step back and realize that it was harming people, there's just no real argument to be made that it's valid anymore.

So, after two months of back and forth, I was sent the following by the admin responsible for microbadges:

Badge is now unpurchaseable, and the creator has been contacted to update the image.

superflypete wrote:
Hey there,

I was looking for the discussion of the Southern Rock microbadge, but all I could find was this: http://boardgamegeek.com/article/11000473#11000473
...where you recognized that the Confederate Battle Flag might be offensive.

I still stand by the fact that it's an egregious double standard to have a moratorium on Swastikas (which, incidentally, some US troops used to wear before the Nazis began its use) but none on the Southern Rock Microbadge.

The Louisiana Supreme Court just found the flag to be insensitive and offensive a few years ago. This isn't some "sidebar", this is a real issue. I'm dead serious about the idea that you're literally defending 5 people's "right" to own a racist flag on their profile. And you just approved a Red "X" for 'No More Slavery' not too long ago. I mean, seriously, does that seem right to you?

That microbadge needs to go, and Confederate flags need to be removed. I know that more white people play games than black, I know this is a pocket issue for a lot of white people who don't know what the big deal is (or look at it as a way to push their racism).

I implore you to reconsider.



cscottk wrote:
Thanks. I will be considering this soon. I am just back from holidays, and I expect I may bring this to the microbadge community for discussion in the Microbadge boxing ring.


superflypete wrote:
Hey there,
Scott "Skelebone" sent over something about that Confed battle flag issue, where I formally requested that it be removed.

In the microbadge thread, you noted that "even a portion of a Nazi swastika is dicey".(*) I'd like you to consider that a swastika is as offensive to Jews as the rebel battle flag is to blacks.


There are plenty of other insignias that someone can use for southern rock; musical notes, a pic of Skynyrd or something. It doesn't have to be that.

I thank the admins at BoardGameGeek for taking this issue seriously, and most especially "skelebone" and "cscottk" for understanding that this wasn't just me being a dick, as usual, but a much more important issue.

In short, there's now one more place where people can't hide behind a racist symbol.


styx said...

Um, the confederate flag is seen by many as a racist symbol but it isn't. It is a flag flown by many in honor of those that died fighting for state rights. Slavery was just one of many reasons. My family fought on both sides, was land owners in the south, never had slaves (didn't think they was worth a pot to piss in to be honest). My mother is a retired history teacher and I grew up understanding what the flag stood for. The Union wasn't that much kinder as they freed the slavers later in the war, put them in segregated units, gave them all the worst assignments including hard labor and engagements with high losses. Neither side was saints and both sides had raciests, the American flag is just as much can be seen as the confederate.

The sad part is the idiots that has used that symbol and taints it with negative feelings is what really pisses me off. I am all about history, honoring the dead and fighting for ideals. To me that is what that flag stands for and I plan to teach my children that in the future. I plan to show them there are people that misuse the symbol that are just that evil and full of hate.

=+=SuperflyTNT=+= said...

Um, the Swastika was an ancient Sanskrit symbol defining "luck". It's still used today. But I'd bet when you see a swastika, you probably don't think that.

And let's talk about the whole idea of "state's rights".

Ask your mom about the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and 1850.

Both Compromises were congressional bills passed to mandate how new states would be admitted as either free states or slave states. It's clear that Southerners were very concerned about one specific right, the right to own slaves. The Constitution of the Confederate States of America refers to slaves or slavery at least ten times.

So, please, consider that perhaps your southern cultural heritage might be better captured in a positive image, not one that has been, or always was, a symbol of racist policies and sentiments. To say that the secession of the Confederacy from the Union was really all about states rights NOT including slavery is revising history in a very large way. It may have been about state's rights, but it was about a state's right to own a human as property, first and foremost.


Sorry, Styx, but it is what it is.

(Thanks to Shellhead @ FAT)

Pete said...

Let's also consider that the first state to Secede was S. Carolina, and they issued a proclamation:


If you read through it, the first few sections are all about how the US became a nation, and how it's OK to secede.

But the first ACTUAL LINE ITEM that discusses the reason, the real crux of the issue, is as follows:

"In the present case, that fact is established with certainty. We assert that fourteen of the States have deliberately refused, for years past, to fulfill their constitutional obligations, and we refer to their own Statutes for the proof.

The Constitution of the United States, in its fourth Article, provides as follows: "No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due."

This stipulation was so material to the compact, that without it that compact would not have been made. The greater number of the contracting parties held slaves, and they had previously evinced their estimate of the value of such a stipulation by making it a condition in the Ordinance for the government of the territory ceded by Virginia, which now composes the States north of the Ohio River.

The same article of the Constitution stipulates also for rendition by the several States of fugitives from justice from the other States."

They were pissed that Northerners were harboring their slaves, which they saw as in opposition to the Constitution.

That's what it was about. Talk all you want about state's rights, but that was the ONE that was listed first and foremost.

Unknown said...

"never had slaves (didn't think they was worth a pot to piss in to be honest)"

Oh my giddy aunt. WTF

Anonymous said...

I know. I read that and was like, "Do you not realize how counter to your own argument saying that is?"

Anonymous said...

Ya gotta someone who claims to be for free speech and then works to ban speech he doesn't agree with. What a fucking hypocrite.

=+=SuperflyTNT=+= said...

Wow. You even emboldened hypocrite. You must be very special.

Here's how free speech works, fuktard: The first amendment to the US constitution ensures that the GOVERNMENT may not interfere with free speech. And even that's being weakened on a daily basis. Not a big fan of that.

But what the first amendment DOESN'T DO is guarantee that a person can say what they want and not have consequences.

I was just banned from BGG, once and for all, for popping off at ignorant dirtbags like you. Was "free speech" violated? No.

If some racist group decides to go out in public and scream "we hate fags", do I think the government can or should step in? No. Do I think that a web hosting company should not do business with them and de-host their site? HELL YES. Should a bunch of juicehead, gorilla looking gay dudes go curb their teeth out of their head for talking shit? Well, that's up to them, isn't it.

If you want to be a hate monger who spreads venom, hey, have at it. The government can't do anything about that. But if I see a racist bitch like (I'm guessing, you..) being a racist dickhead publicly, you know what, I'm going to tell you that you are, in fact, a racist dickhead, and while the cops can't do anything about it, I'll see about rounding up some Gs from the hood to come teach you some manners.

And, I'd like to point out the irony of you being SO BRAVE in calling me a hypocrite and doing it anonymously.

Sod off, wanker.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the CSA tried to secede from the Union to protect it's "way of life", and the ideals of that way of life developed out of a "life on the land" made possible by the ownership of African slaves. The North represented a competing exploitative system where human beings were in fact regarded as less than slaves, to be employed and discarded at will. Lincoln was a railroad lawyer and represented financial interests. He was an absolutist (like you) who routinely broke his word and illegally ordered the execution of over 200 dissidents through the course of the war. Jefferson Davis ordered exactly zero executions because he felt (perhaps naively) bound a certain code. The war of secession was a struggle over whether or not America was going to proceed under the assumption that the ends justify the means, or not. There were many other reasons for secession as well. Today a lot of white southerners hold the flag to be a symbol of their identity independent of the antebellum slave system. They see it as respect for the sacrifices their antecedents made to a cause and their identity, mistaken though the cause may have been. They are, in other words, human. Just as the Africans who were enslaved were human. A microbadge isn't going to hurt ANYONE. A MICROBADGE.