Oak Creek, Paul Ryan, the Geography of Hate, and the Economics of Violence
By Josh Healey, August 18, 2012
I remember the first time I saw a Confederate flag in Wisconsin.
It was my sophomore year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and I was driving with my friend Kevin to go see The Roots in Milwaukee. Complaining how we needed to drive an hour and a half just to see a decent hip-hop show, Kevin told me to speed it up. I moved into the fast lane, casually glancing at the truck ahead of us — and there it was. Blazing brightly at us from the bumper of an old Chevy pickup truck, there shined the Confederacy’s version of red, white, and blue.
I couldn’t believe it. I’d seen the Confederate flag before — growing up in DC, I played soccer in Virginia and saw the occasional diagonally-crossed banner on cars along the aptly-named Robert E. Lee Highway. As repulsive as they were, those Virginia flag-wavers could at least pretend to hide behind Southern pride as inspiration.
But this dude driving his pickup truck up here in Wisconsin, what pride was he claiming? Proud to be south of Canada?
A black guy and a Jew, Kevin and I weren’t going to honk and ask for clarification. Both of us already knew the answer. That flag meant – as it always means – white pride. The deadliest pride of them all.