A young man wants to serve in the armed forces with southern pride? Good.
The Confederate Flag is a very controversial symbol. Many people believe that it is a symbol of racism and oppression while others think it is a symbol of southern pride. One of those people is Anthony Bauswell, who is a 18 year-old from Arkansas.
He wanted to join the Marines, but he was rejected because he has a Confederate Flag tattoo with the words “Southern Pride” on it. When Anthony’s recruiter saw the tattoo, he told Anthony that he was automatically disqualified. Anthony is hurt by the experience.
Keep in mind the Greenville Gazette, as in Greenville, South Carolina, so they know all about the Confederate Flag, the Confederate Flag in the county courthouse, back of a truck, and the Confederate Flag tattoo in the original story.
That’s how honest media works.
Personal feeling here, Anthony sounds like a good recruit. Lazer that tattoo off, stay in shape, and try again.
Until then he should be hurt.
In so many ways he should feel hurt.
But first, this vignette on the current status of Southern Pride.
In this case, SOUTHERN PRIDE.
I saw Bob wore hearing aids when we first met, even though they were the no-seeums.
It didn’t change the hard of hearing compensation of loud voice. Or, he just had a big voice.
He spoke with a honey-smooth baritone from Mississippi.
A cultivated, articulate, voice of seventy-five. I felt lucky.
How many times do you get a chance to hear real Mississippi talk?
That he was a white man with a wave in his hair made it more unique.
He could play the part of a Southern senator easy.
(I encourage my boomerpdx readers to take advantage of this advice: Speaking to strangers is a chance to visit their origins, where they came from. It works the same in reverse, so be as interesting as you can to stay engaged. If I know my readers, it won’t be a problem.)
Call me southern-curious.
After driving the Gulf Coast from New Orleans to Florida, the Redneck Riviera, with one of the sweetest weddings ever in between (Hey Boogie, Hi Allison), I was a fan.
Not fan enough to live there, just a fan. Bob laughed.
Add the husband/wife drive Nascar country from Tennessee to D.C. through North Carolina and Virginia with yours truly and the E.
I gave Bob my travels and asked,
Are there two Souths? Or did I just get the edges on the Gulf Coast and Carolina hills.
“You don’t have to go to far to be north, not half as far as people might think.”
Here in Oregon?
“Yes indeed. The South is not a state line, nor a mountain range, or river. It is indeed the best place anyone could ever dream of.”
That’s pretty much what we say about Oregon, too.
“By that I mean we weren’t treated well in the Civil War. Most people say it was about slavery, but those of us old enough to understand more than history books, know it was an economic war.”
(Stop if you’re heard this.)
“The North declared war because we shipped our raw goods to Europe instead of to them.”
The honeymoon with his wonderfully sonorous vowels and consonants wound down, but I include this short tale to demonstrate effective book learning, economic books.
And southern pride.
There’s a missing cost in Bob’s Civil War financial analysis: Labor.
Call it a war about labor rights if that makes everything better, just don’t call it a war over goods and services.
Calling it a war over slavery works too, but that discussion never ends well from the far wings.
Sporting certain tattoos invite that discussion.
Let’s hope someone close to the future Marine from Arkansas explains the notion of perception.
For example: If I had a tattoo of the Northwest Flag emblazoned on my back with, “NORTHWEST PRIDE,” stamped below, what would people think?
Not the same as they might seeing Southern Pride/Confederate Flag ink.
First they wouldn’t recognize the northwest flag for anything; then they’d question my garbage collection company tramp stamp. Pride Sanitation?
They see your Pride/Flag with no confusion. The recruiter who turned you away was E-6, maybe E-7, an early thirties sergeant?
Whether they were black or white, man, woman, or officer, they turned you away for one reason: questionable judgement. They couldn’t figure you out based on your ink.
To further illustrate the concept, the top image is Jamie Foxx from Jarhead the movie.
He looks the part, right? A jarhead. But he’s not a real Marine.
He’s an actor. We don’t place attributions on him based on a character he plays.
He played a different role in Django Unchained.
Black bounty hunter masquerading as boxing promoter looking for new fighter. And a slave. He was acting then, too. More on that soon, but he’s no more a slave than a Marine.
When decision makers see evidence of bad decision making, they decide. That’s their job.
One more example?
Two images of General Patton of WWII in Europe fame.
The one on the right is the one time Warrior King of Tanks.
George C. Scott on the left won an Academy Award playing General Patton in 1971.
Because of his convincing portrayal of an Army legend, Drill Sergeants in 1974 marched trainees to base theaters to hear Scott’s opening bark in the movie Patton.
Like it made their job easier? “Remember what Patton said, you miserable excuse for a trainee.”
He wasn’t Patton, not matter what everyone in the theater saw and heard.
Young man, you may scrub your tattoo away, join the United States Marine Corps and become One of the Few, the Proud.
Or go Army and Be All You Can Be.
Leave the ink on? At least now you know how it’s perceived.
But I know you’ll erase the Confederate Flag and Southern Pride. How do I know that?
You’re joining the Marines, kid. The United States Marine Corps.
That’s the only outfit you want any part of. And you know it.
A Marine legend in the making from around here didn’t get accepted to OCS after he graduated from college.
What happened next for him? Did he take his recruiters advice and wait until next year?
No, he enlisted and attended every hard-assed school in the Corps, just like you will.
You wanna wait it out and let the feeling pass, then regret it thirty years later when you’re still in great shape, regret it because you know you could’ve done it and done it better than the rest?
Go ahead, son. Scrape the ink and show how southern pride only comes from one place.
That’s who the Marines want.
It may hurt you to realize it, but Confederate symbols clouded your recruiter’s vision with Django Unchained. That’s the southern pride he sees from your tattoo.
If that’s not you, go prove it.