Heritage or hate?

A pedagogical guide to the confederate flag in post-race America

in Learning and Teaching
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Abstract

The Confederate flag has been a hotly debated symbol of heritage or hate in the United States. In 2015, 54 per cent of Americans polled saw the flag as a symbol of ‘Southern pride’ whereas 34 per cent saw it as racist. However, 27 per cent of Whites compared to 69 per cent of Blacks saw the flag as racist. In this article, I suggest how instructors can better explain this controversial topic within an America society that is ‘post-race’. First, I describe an opening activity to get students thinking about symbolism through flags. Next, I present a lecture that debunks myths about the flag’s meanings by presenting its factual history. Finally, I describe an open debate activity to complete the discussion and comprehension of the confederate flag. Student responses suggest that these lesson plans lead to a better understanding of its symbolism and its relationship to the continuing significance of racism in the U.S.

Contributor Notes

Cameron D. Lippard, PhD is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Appalachian State University. His research and teaching interests focus on race and ethnic relations and immigration. His current research focuses on Latino immigrants into the American South, as well as labour relations within the Costa Rican coffee industry. Recent published books and edited volumes include Building Inequality: Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration in the Atlanta Construction Industry, Being Brown in Dixie (with C. Gallagher), Race and Racism in the United States (with C. Gallagher), Untapped: Exploring the Cultural Dimensions of Craft Beer, WAR!: Global Perspectives on Armed Conflicts, and Modern Moonshine: The Revival of White Whiskey in Appalachia. E-mail: lippardcd@appstate.edu

Learning and Teaching

The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences

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