Kanye’s Confederate Flag: I Sorta, Kinda Understand.

As someone who walks around rockin’ a fitted-cap with the letters C.O.O.N.—I sorta, kinda understand Kanye’s Confederate flag. I think its peachy-keen how black folk have snatched the ratchetness & wretchedness from the jaws of oppression and flip-da-script on such derogatory words as the N-word (and made a soul food faire of shitlins pig intestines.) Kanye West has a lot of people peeved over his Confederate flag—and rightly so!

Every evil, vile and despicable thing can be said about the Confederate flag. Most of us know what it stood for and stands for. Indeed, Kanye West knows its history, although he hasn’t really expounded on the origins other than to say, “You know, the Confederate flag represented slavery in a way—that’s my abstract take on what I know about it… So I took the Confederate flag and made it my flag! It’s my flag! Now what are you going to do?”

“In a way?” One would think that Kanye would really get down to the nitty-gritty and not talk in “abstraction” about a symbol so hurtful—you know, put some intellectual mustard on his Confederate flag sammach! As we have it, Kanye has found a new toy and wants us to know that it’s his! But Kanye is not the first rapper to don the Confederate flag. He is doing no new thing, save selling it for profit. Rappers Pastor Troy, David Banner and Outkast once waved the Confederate flag, but theirs was more in protest of the southern way of life. Kanye’s appears self-serving. Kanye is marketing and selling the Confederate flag.

But now, let’s kick da ballistics! The Confederate flag and Betsy Ross’s stars & stripes American flag were birthed at the same time and represented identical ideologies in their founding. Say what? Say word! Both flags held sway over an African people for 89 years! (1776-1865) Under both flags slavery persisted! Like the Confederate states in the Antebellum South under President Jefferson Davis, the North promulgated “That Peculiar Institution” (slavery) as well. It was only when the North became more industrial that the slave question began to be of importance. Unlike the agrarian South, which needed slaves to yield crops and work farmland, the North outgrew its use of the slave in vast numbers.

Don’t get it twisted! My point? Northerners were no less racist.

Both flags did us wrong, yet we haven’t taken the stars & stripes to task as we have done with the Confederate flag. We are taught to “pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America,” but what we are not told is that that same Republic gave no fucks about us either! Abraham Lincoln aka “The Great Emancipator” was no friend of the Colored race. I know they taught you that he “freed the slaves,” but that just wasn’t the case. Lincoln was no humanitarian as we were lead to believe when we were children. Black freedom came second only to saving the Union. In an August 1862 letter to his good friend Horace Greeley Lincoln wrote:

“If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.”

I bet your high school history teacher didn’t let you read this! The hell? (Lincoln “freeing” the slaves to save the Union is akin to the ancient Jewish priests forbidding homosexuality to save Israelite religion. Think on it!)

Taking things a step further and proving that The North and their stars & stripes were just as fraudulent as the Confederate, in 1863 Lincoln signed the “Emancipation Proclamation”—the document that supposedly ended slavery, but oh contraire! Lincoln’s document only freed the slaves that were under Southern Confederate rule—south of the Mason-Dixon Line. That document did not (I repeat!) did not free the slaves under Union control! And since President Jefferson (Yes! America had two sitting presidents at the same time!) in the Souf was god, the Emancipation Proclamation was no more than a piece of toilet paper parchment used for wiping one’s ass! It held no weight in the South, thus, later on after the Union won the Civil War Lincoln passed the 13th Amendment, the document which finally ended physical slavery.

But now, get this! Did you know that there were black slaves that fought on the side of the South? Did you know that, like Kanye West’s Confederate flag-wearin’ ass, there were blacks who saw no other way to exist other than helping the Confederate keep a foot on their necks and a boot in their asses? Somewhere between 65,000 to 100,000 blacks fought on the side of the Confederate army where some 13,000 black combatants “saw the elephant” (actually fought).

Can you imagine fighting on the battlefield of freedom only to run up on a fellow slave who’s down with the oppressor? Perhaps that’s a nigga that needs to die (in my humble opinion).

Kanye West is not an original type—not back then or today! Black folk have been intimately entangled in the Confederate flag from the beginning. The question that we want to understand is what is Kanye’s motivation? Is this for show? Is he trying to stimulate a national debate on race? Why are you really wearing the Confederate flag? Are you really trying to put this symbol into the gumbo pot of nigger, coon, and chitlins?

I understand where Kanye might be coming from! How ever deplorable, white folk don’t own any word! Yes! You meant harm when you used it–you meant harm when you waved it, but I’m claiming the word and the symbol and taking the power from it! Give me that shit!

Like my word C.O.O.N., which is an acronym for “Consciously Optimistic, Overtly Nihilistic.” It is the philosophy of questioning, deconstructing & ridding one’s self of antiquated, archaic and outdated thinking–and not merely a word for shock value. Nothing is definitive, concrete or finite! Everything is subjective & debatable!

If nothing more, Kanye West is reppin’ for those 100,000 Southern slaves who were down for the Confederate, but I would hope that Kanye is a teacher, because, I sorta, kinda understand his intentions.

Khalil Amani is a blogger for AllHipHop. He also writes for DJ Kay Slay’s Originators Magazine & Straight Stuntin Magazine. Amani also writes for Hoodgrown, Maybach and Sext Magazines. He is the author of six books, including the ground-breaking book, “Hip-Hop Homophobes…” iuniverse.com 07). Amani is gay hip-hop’s self-proclaimed straight advocate. Visit The Coonerific One at http://www.khalilamani.ning.com Follow on Facebook/Twitter @khalilamani. Youtube @ yahweh 12 Khalilamani@yahoo.com

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69 Responses to “Kanye’s Confederate Flag: I Sorta, Kinda Understand.”

  1. RichFromBX

    In general, I find it ironic that cats who use the word “n!gga” on the regular have an issue with Kanye rocking the confederate flag in an attempt to take the power away from it.. I would think that “n!gga” is just as, if not more, representative and a reminder of slavery than the confederate flag IMHO.

    • Guess Who?

      I feel you. Also, them saying that “it takes power away” is just an excuse people use. They honestly do not consciously think that it takes power away as much as they say it. The word has just become such a big part of black’s culture partially because of hip-hop. There are plenty of racial slurs out their but none are used as much as the n-word IMO.

  2. BulldogCG

    and we should try to transform all negative symbols. Thank goodness some of those with some notice, like Kanye, make that attempt.

    • ceeza

      Why would you want to transform it? Why do black people feel the need to rebrand terrorist symbols and volatile racist language that were directed towards us? That’s an important question.. It’s only us who feel the need to do this. It’s a sad really. A flash in the pan will not rewrite the long history of racism in the 20th and 21st centuries. Slapping the Confederate flag on leather jogging pants does not make it Kanye’s flag now; it just makes Kanye another agent of racial oppression, and he’s too ignorant to know the difference. So is the writer and so are you.. and about the writers “c.o.o.n” hat.. smfh.

      • BulldogCG

        It ain’t about black people. Its about people period. The swastika was a sign of peace and love, but was re-branded. The cross also was re-branded to make the cultural transition easy for the Pagans. The point is these symbols never go away, just like words, all you can do is change the meaning. Everything should not be viewed through one lens. That is a way to view Kanye, “an agent of racial oppression,” but really only if you look at it through one viewpoint. When you think globally you realize these things have been around since forever and the only way to defeat hate is to take it out of the equation. Another important question would be why do some believe that everything that happens is a personal attack? The universe does not revolve around any one race. Making everything a personal attack against African Americans is not productive and halts progress. The same with calling uncle Tom because you may not understand something, the world is bigger than you and your limited view. I think it is you that suffers from effect of racial injustice more than I, because these symbols mean nothing to me. They are used against the sheep to keep them emotional and stupid, I am glad Ye forcing people to think and hope he continues.

      • ceeza

        your analogy is terrible and trying to justify this is sad. It is about African Americans.. The stars and bars have only symbolized ONE thing and ONE thing only in ALL of history. That thing is the rape, torture. murder, slavery, oppression, displacement, and lynchings of BLACKS in America.. Unlike say the swastika that was appropriated by Nazis, which jews would never dare try to appropriate themselves, the confederate flag has NEVER meant anything else.

      • BulldogCG

        not justifying, explaining my position. I suppose we differ. Your right its never meant anything else to African Americans, which is exactly why we should change that, because I hate to tell you, because of that history you speak of, that flag is not going anywhere, just like the swastika hasn’t. We need to kill people’s emotional response.

      • Guess Who?

        Doubt the Nazis got it from Africans….the swastika is merely a twisted cross that has been found in Buddhism and even amongst Native American artifacts

      • Troll_E_G

        Your doubts are facts in Africa…quick Google search can prove this

      • Guess Who?

        I agree people also forget that it was Wes Lang who designed the clothing. If they did a brief google search of him they would find that he has done many “racist” work during his time as an artist. All of which being to bring about awareness of history. Kanye may not know much about it because he is not the one who created it. He’s just the canvas for the message of another artist

  3. ceeza

    black people were assaulted, taken off their land, beaten when they tried to vote under the banner of this flag so that we could walk free in the world, and now he wants to adopt the symbol of the terrorist because he’s so special that he can turn it into something else. It doesn’t work that way.. Might i add this quote on the flag from Kanye ” It’s super hood and super white boy approved.” That’s super deep Kanye oh wait no it’s dumb as hell.. He also said himself he really doesn’t know too much about the history of the flag. He basically thinks it’s only about slavery but the aesthetic is “swag”. no mention of the rapes, lynching, murders carried out under that symbol of hate.. So you CAN”T “kinda understand Kanye’s intentions” because he doesn’t even kinda understand his intentions.. This is a disgustingly fetishcized money grab and the kids who support it will be the ones who face the consequences.. Might i also add we haven’t discussed the racist Native American merchandise he’s selling as well. There is no grey area here when it comes to appropriating a terrorist symbol .. Nothing is up for debate here or subjective.. This is disgusting.

    • ceeza

      every freedom you have today under the star and stripes you would have never experienced under the star and bars.. they are not the same.. It’s like comparing the word negro and nig*er.. apples and oranges.. go read a book idiot.

      • ceeza

        poor whites and latinos are facing the same fate although not it’s still disproportionate.. now you are just moving the goal posts into a completely different conversation.. we’re talking about the flags and comparing the two is insane.

      • EDOGZ818

        The only difference between the two, is that one represents the enslavement of Blacks, while the other represents the enslavement of all.

  4. jubilee shine


    by Amiri Baraka


  5. AlbertoRipRon

    Read first sentence…”As someone who walks around with a fitted cap with the letters C-O-O-N”. I just stopped reading. I wouldn’t rock that ish no matter what the acronym stands for. Black folks are still picking cotton out here…

  6. W.E.B. Du Bois

    good read – but giving Kanye, a young man, too much praise for being a teacher – he’s doing it to sell music more in the south, and to be controversial for publicity – to sell his brand

  7. DiscoverDior.com

    These people really think that we are stupid…..I personally don’t care anymore about Kanye West as an artist, he lost my respect and I don’t feel as if I should support someone who makes, my people look bad….I have erased all his music from my music device, I dam sure won’t attend to any of his shows…I am one less fan that will spend my money on a man that has so much power but choose to only use for personal gain. Kanye has NEVER been about the community or his people just another rapper trying to take from society.

  8. ItGoesDownINtheDM

    sn good post def never heard that portion of lincolns speech … and im sure there were some black folks who didnt want slavery to end shoot it was blacks folks who kiled our civil rights leaders … but im sure a good 100k of those people fighting were fighting only because they were forced too … just like we had the same #s picking cotton ….. it wasnt cause they wanted toooooooooo !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ijs thats what slaves were for … to do what ever them folks in the souf needed ….. war time im sure they sent every slave they had out there to the slaughter house ……

  9. Papi Peligro

    Get out of here. You an idiot.
    You said: They both held us down for 89 years.
    Wrong. Confederate flag wasn’t even made until middle end of the civil war
    Wrong. Anybody was subject to being a slave white black native american.

    The American flag > Confederate flag.
    Who cares about the EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION YOU HAD THE 13TH AMENDMENT. The North didn’t need an emancipation proclamation because most slaves in the north had already been freed. WHY BECAUSE UNION GUILDS FOR THE FACTORY DIDN’T LIKE SLAVES.

    You can’t use the fact enslaved people fought for the south as evidence that their cause although not just was ratified by the slaves. THEY HAD NO FREE WILL. This goes back to my first point. ALL OF THESE SONS OF THE CONFEDERACY. Your father most likely was a poor slave who only got his freedom by fighting some rich man who exploited him war or when the 13th amendment was ratified. OUT OF HERE WITH THE TRYING TO MAKE DUMB STUFF HAVE A DEEPER AND SIGNIFICANT MEANING.


    Only thing I can see dude saying is its cool for white people to say the N word I’m gone wear they symbol of hatred.

    All this I’m gone compare AMERICA to be the same as the Confederacy. Look black people. America hated everybody who was poor. Irish, Mexicans, Native Amerians, Asians, etc etc oh yeah almost forgot WHITE AMERICANS WHO WERE THE FIRST SLAVES. Now where all the low down stuff came into play was when AMERICA tried to KEEP YOU BROKE. So they wouldn’t have to PAY YOU. Lets go through it. Google Southern Indentured servants in the civil war, Google Red Necks, Google Irish Americans, Google Asians on the rail way. Why they got rid of segregation. White dollar went in A black dollar never came out. Can’t keep them as second class citizens. The really bad discrimination didn’t start until after the civil war when the rich whites wanted to limit your opportuinities. So that flag not only represents the bad but also represents the power of strong willed people to overcome. NOW NEXT TIME THERE’S AN ELECTION OR SOME POLITICIAN IS TALKING ON THE SCREEN LOOK AT IT FROM THE STAND POINT OF HAVING CHEAP LABOR AND LIIMITING OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL SO THAT POOR CAN’T MOVE UP. WHEN YOU DO YOUR HOMEWORK ETC KEEP THAT IN MIND. SOMEBODY WANTS YOU TO BE IGNORANT SO THEY CAN PAY YOU LESS.

    • Troll_E_G

      At the end of the day, its about economics….but to compare black slavery to indentured servants is two different things….y do people compare when the severity is on a whole nother level

      • Negro Peligro

        If you are a child. And your mother sold you for the next 20 years of your life to some stranger. Should you run away from that place someone could track you down. That’s a slave. The law got made more difficult to track down an indentured servant in like 1833. Were they the same EXACTLY NO. But you tell that to a 2 year old or a 6 year old who now has to spend the next 15 20 years working for some man. It felt the same. Trust me. If you think the exploitation wasn’t the same your crazy. They slept in the same beds as the slaves. Why do you think there were so many WHITE SYMPATHIZERS against slavery.

      • Troll_E_G

        I respect your opinion but disagree. Blacks history was took from them,there culture was stolen , names were changed, languages were hidden, families broken, raped,sodomized, beat, fed to animals, branded, raised to dumb and dependant,and they were pushed to serve a white god .. …again big difference between servants and aa slavery

      • Guess Who?

        Yet we also forget that warring African tribes sold their enemies to white men. We are not complete victims

      • Troll_E_G

        That’s a very big misconception…tribes were killed off by europeans n only the weak were left so to spare there lives…they gave up they people

      • Jehiel

        I was just in Nigeria last week were I had some very interesting conversations with elders who discussed the role our ancestors played in the selling of slaves to white slave traders… Particularly those villages situated near coastal areas. That was the first time I got such a first hand account (from the W. African perspective). This is all anecdotal but interesting nonetheless… Peace.

  10. ian stuart

    A bomber with a confederate flag patch…. Kinda taking that whole ‘black skinhead’ thing to the next level I guess. What’s next, a cover of Anti Social?

  11. me

    If he were living during slavery would he want to wear that flag? If he had been thrown into the Atlantic would he wear that flag?If his family had been broken up would he wear that flag? If he had been beaten, disrespected ,saw his mother get r@ped would he wear that flag? Kanye is a dumb cat trying to look smart.No more ,no less.We need to respect our ancestors.

  12. Troll_E_G

    Its always one of our own who will support the oppressor willingly….Why would this brother wear a hat that says Coon smh….Why not Pharoah,GodBody, etc….Why would kanye use any flag representing racist amerikkka when he could use African symbols or flags. . .Its crazy and really ignorant, they one would rather try to excuse this brother behavior like he Garvey or something….In closing, ain’t it funny that Kanye wants to market racist flags and use for good … And whites use OUR symbols eye of horus, pyramids, etc for bad .. Point is Black People read Your own history before SLAVERY AND LEARN

      • Troll_E_G

        Speaking and action are two different things….this the same man who said new slaves then turn around and get mad when the bigots in the fashion world won’t accept him

  13. atlantahiphopshop

    Aint even worth our time. Ignore this whole charade. OUR participation, in any manner, will breathe life into this rich man’s scheme.(In slaves voice)
    Im gonna make shirts with Holocaust victims walking into the gas chamber and make a better point. Watch how the Jewish society fights against this kind of thing.

  14. RBG4Life

    What I want to know is why is all this slave sh*t coming out the woodworks? Movies, history, etc. and on top of that its all some “dont be upset, smile and sh*t while we cover every aspect thats humiliating for you” ? Where the stories of black folks puttin they foot in that @ss like Rosewood? Where’s the stories that show you how full of sh*t some of the racist were or that analyze them? Hollywood try to be sneaky and create these movies like they showing us some type of love, but they keep enough humiliating and degrading scenes for the closet racist to get their rocks off. I dont know if all these joints supposed to help contribute to the rebirth of white supremacy agenda that they been low key pushing that got some of these folks out here poking they chest out, killing black kids, and calling people n*ggers, but I aint buying that bullsh*t nor am I gonna be suckered into playing into anyone’s agenda. A lot of sugar sprinkled on top of sh*t been going on. That Trayvon sh*t broke a lot of black folks spirits(as Im sure the verdict was meant to) and I really feel like that made a lot of black people turn on each other because they feel powerless or too scared to think of solutions to deal with things being done blatantly in our face, but I aint one of them. Dont sleep on the symbolism and psychology of sh*t happening around you. We are definitely in a weakened state.

    • DJ7

      I was posing the same line of questioning when it comes to tell a lie vision programming…why all of a sudden is it cool for sistas to be the side piece to white men on nationally broadcasted shows? Scandal ( to which I don’t watch btw) comes to mind as well as others are quick to portray sistas as the bed winch…I recently went to see 12 years a slave and left the theater along with my 2 teenage sons and their friends feeling a type of way…I could see it in their eyes that they too, felt a type a way…My youngest turned to me and said…dad, the more things change…the more they stay the same…and the conversations it spawned between the 5 of us were equally moving (amongst them was dealing with the word nigga(er) and how it is uncool for anybody to use it yet alone amongst / against ourselves) and I knew right then that I’ve raised 2 aware young men that overstood the lessons I’ve been teaching them since they could utter the words goo goo gaa gaa and the impact they’re having on their friends mindset as well…I say that to say this….teach the babies man…teach them right and exact…encorage them to study our history instead of his story…raise them to be respecful yet stern leaders with a purpose…don’t instill false idols and sugar coat the truth..it will only confuse them when it’s their time…They’re our only hope…They’re the future…I know it sounds cliché as hell b.u.t. it’s the gospel…
      *I know you’re doing it brotha…with a screen name like yours it’s as if I’m speaking in the mirror…it’s mainly for the boneheads that troll this site dissecting comments…

    • Karen A. Smith

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      • Carlos

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  15. Carlos

    im gonna tell you the truth about why slavery was abolished, not because the whites wanted blacks to be equal or cuz they realized it was a mistake. it was because they realized they could make more money if slavery was abolished, why give your slaves free housing and food, that can get costly. They figured they could pay blacks a low wage, then have blacks pay rent, utilities, for their food, clothing, etc.

    • RichFromBX

      utilities??? what utilities? they didn’t have electricity in the south until the 1900s. Pay blacks low wages? a brotha can’t get a job now, you think it was easy then?

      If there’s any conspiracy theory about freeing the slaves that I would believe it’s that it was done as a move to cripple the south’s army – why the men were off fighting the war they had the slaves working the land so everything was all good at home…as soon as slaves were freed all of a sudden there was no one working the fields back home so the men needed to leave their posts and tend to their homes. The armies back then were all regular citizens not the organized military you have now so there was no fear of AWOL

  16. Yinka

    This article made very little sense. Fighting for your slave master is exactly what your slave master would want you to do – it’s called having a slave mentality. it’s called a lack of self esteem and self knowledge, it is the product of confusion. Jewish people do not go around wearing swastikas. Black Americans astonish me with their level of confusion – actually I just wish weren’t so confused You keep defining yourselves in words from derivatives of those used to oppress you and you will remain oppressed. I wish you the best. Acronyms for words used to debased you can not set you free only further en-shackle you and this article is testament to that. The sad part is that because your oppressors – white america are the most powerful and influential state on earth it’s slaves have the most influential culture on earth and have therefore ‘black’ aka African diasporan culture and these horrendous notions have actually filtered back to Africa itself. so sad. If you think that’s cool then i hope whatever God you believe in forgives you.

  17. Mirzababa

    People are ignorant

    Most people still think the Civil War was about slavery, most people don’t know that there were Black Confederate Soldiers. Believe it or not but Black Confederate Soldiers were treated better than Black Union Soldiers.

    Black Confederates fought alongside, wielded the same weapons and ate the same food as White Confederates on the battlefield. Something not done by the US (Union) until after WWII in 1948. If the Confederates had won, Blacks would have been free ANYWAY.

    Educate yourselves

  18. Michael Phoenix Fisher

    It’s simply a flag. It doesn’t necessarily represent any kind of oppression or morally unjust treatment. Simply wearing it doesn’t mean you want to enslave people. It’s just a flag, and it’s ridiculous to get butthurt over. All the citizens of the confederate states of America are deceased. And with them, the ideologies surrounding the flag.
    I sport a confederate flag belt buckle and or jacket patch, and I have a black ladyfriend. (I don’t like saying girlfriend, because she is a lady.) She doesn’t mind it one bit. It’s more of a cultural thing, for certain southern Americans.

    In my opinion, he’s just wearing it to stir up controversy.

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