Support for the Confederate Battle Flag in the Southern United States: Racism or Southern Pride?

Joshua D. Wright, Victoria M. Esses

Abstract


Supporters of the Confederate battle flag often argue that their support is driven by pride in the South, not negative racial attitudes. Opponents of the Confederate battle flag often argue that the flag represents racism, and that support for the flag is an expression of racism and an attempt to maintain oppression of Blacks in the Southern United States. We evaluate these two competing views in explaining attitudes toward the Confederate battle flag in the Southern United States through a survey of 526 Southerners. In the aggregate, our latent variable model suggests that White support for the flag is driven by Southern pride, political conservatism, and blatant negative racial attitudes toward Blacks. Using cluster-analysis we were able to distinguish four distinct sub-groups of White Southerners: Cosmopolitans, New Southerners, Traditionalists, and Supremacists. The greatest support for the Confederate battle flag is seen among Traditionalists and Supremacists; however, Traditionalists do not display blatant negative racial attitudes toward Blacks, while Supremacists do. Traditionalists make up the majority of Confederate battle flag supporters in our sample, weakening the claim that supporters of the flag are generally being driven by negative racial attitudes toward Blacks.

Keywords


racism; Confederate flag; racial attitudes; oppression; prejudice; Southern United States; Southerners; Confederate; Southern pride; principled conservatism

Full Text: PDF HTML
Downloads: 159

https://doi.org/10.5964/jspp.v5i1.687




Creative Commons License
ISSN: 2195-3325
PsychOpen Logo