The Confederate Flag is one of the most controversial symbols in America. Opponents of the flag say it symbolizes racism. Defenders of the flag claim it symbolizes "the heritage of the Old South" (so in other words racism AND big hats). It's a touchy subject. Fortunately Lynyrd Skynyrd is here to clarify things for us. Or should I say the Lynyrd Skynyrd cover band that currently performs under the name Lynyrd Skynyrd. The band went on CNN the other day and said that it would stop associating itself with the Confederate flag because of the flag’s negative connotations. This led to massive backlash from their fans, and as a result guitarist Gary Rossington had to go on Facebook, retract the band's statements and defend the Confederate Flag. Yes, you read that correctly. Lynyrd Skynyrd's fans were furious that the band had STOPPED associating itself with a racist symbol. Here is Rossington’s post:
I wanted to clarify the discussion of the Confederate Flag in our recent CNN interview. Myself, the past and present members (that are from the South), are all extremely proud of our heritage and being from the South. We know what the Dixie flag represents and its heritage; the Civil War was fought over States rights.
We still utilize the Confederate (Rebel) flag on stage every night in our shows, we are and always will be a Southern American Rock band, first and foremost. We also utilize the state flag of Alabama and the American flag, ‘cause at the end of the day, we are all Americans.
I only stated my opinion that the confederate flag, at times, was unfairly being used as a symbol by various hate groups, which is something that we don’t support the flag being used for. The Confederate flag means something more to us, Heritage not Hate…
This argument has always made me laugh. Listen, I'm an upper middle class white guy born in 1981. I have no dog in this race so to speak. But to say the Confederate Flag represents "heritage" and not "racism" is laughable. The "heritage" of the Old South IS racism. So either way the flag symbolizes racism. It's just a matter of whether you want to take the highway to racist-town, or travel the scenic route.