Wednesday, September 24, 2008

White supremacy in the parking lot

You might be surprised if I told you that this truck, with its Confederate flag license plate, is located not in the Deep South, but in a university parking lot in Fairbanks, Alaska. The Confederate battle flag is the most widely recognized symbol of white supremacy, and it is quite common in North Carolina, my home. But I do not recall ever seeing it on a license plate in Alaska until this truck showed up earlier this fall. (There is also an extremely sexist bumper sticker on the truck, and perhaps I will take up the issue about the bumper sticker in another post.) Always sociologically curious, of course I searched for analysis of the Confederate flag in the sociological literature. A recent post in the Contexts blog notes that there seems to be a revival of the Confederate flag, or a "resurgence", as the author puts it. The author theorizes that the resurgence of the flag is backlash against globalization and immigration as much as it is a symbol of persistent racism. I wonder if the owner of the truck is knowingly participating in a backlash movement against globalization. Or deliberately trying to flaunt hus racist beliefs. Many Confederate flag apologists claim that the flag is about "heritage, not hate." Regardless of the owner's beliefs about white supremacy or the Confederate flag, I wonder if the owner knows that hu is violating a state statute by not displaying both license plates (A.S. 28.10.171). It's an $85 fine, BTW.