Black People For the Confederate Flag? Yep

As the controversy over flying the Confederate flag on public buildings and property rages on, there are actually black people coming out in favor of it. Their position is baffling, to say the least, especially one Virginia woman who says that “slavery was a choice” because they could have just died instead. Seriously.

In the interview — which is part of an ongoing documentary project about the meaning of the Confederate battle flag — Karen Cooper claimed that she was raised in the North as a member of the Nation of Islam, but “felt more welcome in the South” where, she said, “the races are more together.”

She said that she was introduced to the “flagger” movement by friends of hers in the Tea Party on Facebook. “Most of the people in the Tea Party had Confederate ancestors,” she added as if most people would be surprised to learn that.

“I know what people think about when they see the battle flag — the KKK, racism, bringing slavery back — so I knew it would be something for people to see a black woman with the battle flag.”

Cooper insisted that she’s not “advocating slavery,” because she isn’t. Moreover, slavery “wasn’t just something that happened in the South, it happened worldwide.”

She added that she believes “slavery was a choice, because of what Patrick Henry said, ‘Give me liberty, or give me death.’” Slaves, she argued — in a serious manner, unlike Eddie Izzard’s famous “Cake or Death?” routine — should have opted for “death.”

The mind boggles.

Battle Flag – Karen Cooper from zigelko on Vimeo.

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  • ashleybell

    It takes all kinds? I guess?

    Sounds like she’s got some unresolved S&M issues

  • carpenterman

    This is America, where people of all races, colors and creeds have the right to be complete fucking idiots.

    Perhaps we should bring back other symbols of the South’s glorious history, like signs saying “Whites only” and “No Negros need apply”.

  • Raging Bee

    First, I’m pretty sure a lot of Africans DID opt for death rather then enslavement.

    Second, what about children born to slaves? What choices did they have?

    Third, a lot of Africans chose to try to run away — and got rather severely punished for it, including being denied that “choice” by having parts of their feet cut off.

    Do I really need to go on? This idea that slaves had “choices” is just plain insultingly stupid. This is a person who, like the neocons, reacted to the stupidity of one extreme (in this case, Nation of Islam) by embracing the stupidity of the opposite extreme. And the fact that our “news” media went so far out of their way to put this idiot in front of a camera, just shows how far they’re willing to go to grab attention using phony “controversy” and “quirky” “human interest stories” while avoiding the real issues.

    Seriously, the Southern nationalists and slavery-apologists routinely try to excuse their stupid bigotry by saying “Look, here’s a black person who agrees with us — that means you can’t call us racist!” And the media are going along with this new tokenism without a peep of protest.

  • Raging Bee

    …Karen Cooper claimed that she was raised in the North as a member of the Nation of Islam, but “felt more welcome in the South” where, she said, “the races are more together.”

    This, at least, I can easily believe. I’m sure there are plenty of southerners who really aren’t all that racist — they just accept the social atmosphere they grew up in without much thought (like that SC legislator who spent most of his life walking past Confederate flags without really seeing or thinking about them, because they were just background things he’d seen everywhere all the time); they’re not consciously racist, at least because they just don’t think about such things in any depth, and when they meet a black person they get along with, they accept him/her as one of them (as long as he/she doesn’t say anything offensive to them), and that person then has good reason not to worry too much about racism, and he/she is then more likely to swallow whatever ridiculous mythology, revisionism or rationalizations his/her new friends have to offer.

  • Abby Normal

    What a coincidence. Just a couple days ago my 10 year old niece asked me what “Uncle Tom” means. After I explained she expressed surprise she’d never heard the term before. I told her she is lucky to live in a time when it’s not often needed. Not often, but…

  • wreck

    Next up: Jews With Swastikas.

  • R Johnston

    In a world with a multitude of gay Republicans and women opposed to feminism, a world in which Caitlyn Jenner can come out as trans and Republican at the same time, the only surprise about black Confederate flag supporters is the pleasant surprise that we don’t have more of them.

  • yaque

    The racist meme I’ve heard is that

    In the South, they don’t mind how close you get,

    so long as you don’t get too uppity.

    In the North, they don’t mind how uppity you get,

    so long as you don’t get too close.

    Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

  • Modusoperandi

    Young, attractive, speaks well and submissive. Kind of thin, though, with weak hips. I wouldn’t pay more than three hundred dollars for her.

  • Dr X

    Nation of Islam. No racial bias. She gravitates equally toward black and white racial supremacist myths and double talk.

  • theDukedog7 .

    What’s so surprising about a black person supporting the confederate flag?

    Blacks support the party that created the confederate flag–they vote for that party in overwhelming numbers.

    The party has changed? Well, the meaning of the flag has changed.

    People do the darnedest things.

  • caseloweraz

    She argues that slavery was a choice for the slaves, because they could always have chosen death — and quotes Patrick Henry’s “liberty or death” speech in support?

    The cognitive dissonance is strong with this one…

  • Crudely Wrott, lurching towards recrudescence

    Wait a minute. Does this girl think that the history of herself and her ancestors began before or after being stuffed in ships and taken across the waters to the “new” world?

    It’s early and my mind is easily boggled at this hour but damn! How is it that acceding to slavery for the uncounted generations of the past justify the enslavement of multiple generations of one’s own progeny equal the sensible thing to do? Is it just rolling over and accepting fate? Is it a precursor of Ali’s rope-a-dope? Is it a secret plan to dominate the white man someday?

    This is really confusing. Click bait? Tar Baby? Distraction ploy? Why would anyone justify, with such flagrant illogic, that which their grand parents and their grand parents found insufferable?

    I sure as hell can’t say why. Maybe a closer reading could mumble mumble mumble . . .

    I smell something like a Poe . . . or a fable . . . or something contrived by a startlingly insecure white boy. Or girl. I just don’t know.

  • freehand

    Howdy D-Dawg.

    While there may be people who aren’t especially racist who fly the flag, any US white citizen who is racist almost invariably embraces it. Hence, for example, Roof’s clear display of the flag on his Facebook page.


    And no, American blacks don’t vote for the party of the confederacy, they’re voting for the party it became. I’m glad to see that you seem to have learned that the Democratic Party has changed over several generations. Anyway, you’re still free to fly that flag – and tell folks that you’re not racist, if you like.

  • Juniper

    Modusoperandi @ 9

    Young, attractive, speaks well and submissive. Kind of thin, though, with weak hips. I wouldn’t pay more than three hundred dollars for her.

    Is that in today’s dollars or 1850s dollars? :)

    The mind boggles.

    I remember when a black (American) interviewee on NPR took the Implicit Bias Test and discovered that he was more positively biased toward whites than toward blacks. It did not surprise me. None of us of any race live in a cultural vacuum.

    I often wonder if blacks are more likely to be stereotyped as impervious to internalized racism than any other race in the U.S.

  • theDukedog7 .

    I’d burn every confederate flag, if I could.

    [the Democratic Party has changed over several generations]

    Instead of Bull Connor, we’ve got Al Sharpton. Instead of Boss Tweed, we’ve got Hillary Clinton.

    Things are lookin’ up.

  • scienceavenger

    She said that she was introduced to the “flagger” movement by friends of hers in the Tea Party on Facebook.

    If I were starting a movement in the south, I’d try to avoid any word with “gger” in it…

  • dingojack

    $300 in 1850 in worth $148,000 in 2014 (Income value);

    $300 in 2014 is worth $0.61 in 1850 (Income value).

    :) Dingo

  • howardhershey

    One can honor your ancestors without using a flag that expresses the vile idea they fought for. Germans do lay flowers at the graves of their ancestors who fought bravely for their country. Most wouldn’t fly (it is illegal, something not possible here, but the vast majority of Germans would not do so even if it were legal) the Nazi flag nor take pride in the ideas of the Third Reich. Part of that is because, unlike Americans, they were taught the ugly truth about the government their ancestors fought for

    It is, in fact, a good idea to remind people that good people can and do fight for and die for bad causes. And the primary cause for which the South fought was the institution of slavery.

  • Knight in Sour Armor


    You say those names like it’s a bad thing. Things are most certainly looking up.

  • Childermass

    “Next up: Jews With Swastikas.”

    That has sort of all ready happened. There were Jewish collaborators during WWII. Their collaboration, for the most part, bought them a slightly longer life before they too got sent to the death camps.

  • dingojack

    Knight in Sour Armor (#20) – yes — just not for Lil Dookie and his theocratic ilk*.



    * And that knowledge burns, it burns them to their very core

    A hell of their own devising, where they’ll huddle together to re-hash their own pleading apologetics, grandiose excuses , and vain rhetorical posturing on how to ‘unskew’ reality (‘Hell isn’t a place — it’s other people’) – that followed their very own T S. Elliot-like apocalypse, tracing ever-decreasing circles down into complete unimportance:

    This is the way the world will end,

    This is the way the world will end,

    This is the way the world will end,

    Not with a bang but a whimper.”

  • lorn

    Assuming she understands what slavery was like, choosing ‘death’ meant physical punishments that would make you wish for death, she is quite the strange one. I suspect she doesn’t understand that slaves were property and choice was not an option. Yes, master might kill a few to make a point but, if need be, there were things worse than death. Things that make picking cotton seem like a favorable career move.

    Slave owners were also quite adept at terrorism. You did as they said, or they kill someone else by whipping them to death over twelve hours. That person could be your your wife or kid.

    Eddie Murphy’s take on it:,d.b2w

  • ‘smee

    To paraphrase, somewhat: stupid is as stupid does. While I wouldn’t ever wish to berate someone for holding or expressing any idea… I feel perfectly at liberty to berate stupid ideas wherever I see or hear them.

    Believing that the South and the civil war was *not* about slavery (and the potential damage to southerner’s income and wealth that was already becoming visible to them as a result of automation and machinery) is to believe the trite and vapid whitewashing (I use the term advisedly) of the war written primarily by the south and accepted by a nation tired of war and desirous of normalizing their society.

    IF the civil war (and by extension, the Battle Flag of the South) was NOT about slavery as a primary issue, why then were the majority of petitions, immediately prior to the declarations of secession, targeted primarily at those States in the North who denied legitimacy to the Fugitive Rights act, providing shelter and automatic manumission to escaping slaves. For the South, those Northern states were “stealing their property” and the failure of the Federal government to adjudicate that dispute to their satisfaction led directly to secession and war.

  • Hoosier X

    I remain dubious that the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia was ever the flag of the Democratic Party, and it doesn’t help that the main proponent of this theory likes to make the general statement over and over, as if repetition makes something come true.

    The Democratic Party split in the run-up to the 1860 election. and it split because the choice of northern Democrats for the candidacy for the presidency, Stephen Douglas of Illinois, didn’t support the expansion of slavery. Southern Democrats held their own convention and nominated John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky.

    I doubt very much that many supporters of Douglas ever fought for the Confederacy or the flag of the Confederacy, let alone under the Virginia battle flag.

    I think it’s pretty vile to smear the whole Democratic Party with the Confederate flag considering the thousands of northern Democrats who fought – and the many who died – in the battle against the Confederacy.

    But I guess saying stuff like that is what you do when you think you’ve hit upon some sophistry that you think is clever.

  • Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y

    Sounds like she’s got some unresolved S&M issues

    Fuck off with that bullshit, thanks.

  • pacal

    I am amazed hat this person has the gall to sit in judgment of those who rather than die did the best they could under slavery. Has she heard of “Sophie’s Choice”? A horrible situation in which you are forced to accept a bad choice because the alternative is worst and someone is forcing you to do so or accept death if you don’t. This person sitting in hind sight position has the arrogance to tell other people that they should have did rather than be slaves and so it was their choice!! Isn’t it just wonderful to be all smug and tell OTHER people they should have died rather than be slaves.

    But then I guess it feels oh so good to feel superior to people caught in that predicament and judge them morally deficient. Well until you’ve been in that position and have chosen death rather than slavery you have nothing to say in judgment.

    Well lady in conclusion. Fuck you!

  • sharonb

    Conservatives, lil’ dookie, Conservatives.

    Must we go over our lessons again?

    Conservatives loved slavery; conservatives love the Battle flag of the Confederacy of Slave-holding States.

    The truth’s really not that hard to remember .

  • Dr X

    “The KKK will protest the removal of the Confederate flag in SC July 18. Proving once and for all the Confederate flag is not about racism.”

  • Kimpatsu

    It’s not all that surprising from one perspective, though. Gandhi said that the European Jews brought the holocaust on themselves because they should have just committed mass suicide and waited to be reincarnated. if you believe in an afterlife, escaping the hell of this life seems like a rational option.

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    In the North, they don’t mind how uppity you get,

    so long as you don’t get too close.

    That’s my attitude toward white people.

  • Doubting Thomas

    Stockholm Syndrome seems to be applicable here.

  • Lady Mondegreen

    And abused children have the same choice. Treated with brutality and contempt? Kill yourself! Otherwise you deserve whatever you get…

    One of the tragedies of being human is that the shame and guilt that victimizers should rightly feel is internalized by their victims instead, and, thanks to cognitive biases like System Justification and the Just World Fallacy, blame-the-victim rationalizations feel “right” to many people.

    This, though, is pretty damn outre.

  • smrnda


    “The party has changed? Well, the meaning of the flag has changed.”

    the meaning of the flag hasn’t changed, since it’s still being used by white supremacists and it’s even used by neo Nazis in places in Europe where the Nazi flag is not available. That would be like claiming that the British National Party has changed from its National Front days, simply because its members are no longer skinheads but they now wear suits.

    Overall, this doesn’t surprise me but it strikes me as nothing but a contrarian pose taken for its own sake.

    On ‘welcome’ I have found it fairly true that people in the south are more overtly friendly, but I find it rather creepy being from places like Trenton, NJ and Chicago and NYC. I could really care less if someone says ‘hi ya’ll’ to me on the street. I care about how they vote.

    At the same time, northern racism is a thing and is a very different beast than southern racism. Southern racists make no sense to me – they seem to almost *want* some Black people around in subservient roles. Northern racists just want to avoid whatever group they don’t like.