Monday, August 5, 2013

State Fair Vendor Selling Confederate Flags

I spotted Leon Leather Co, a long time vendor at the Indiana State Fair, selling Confederate flags and other merchandise that had the Stars and Bars featured on products, such as door mats. 

While I'm a long time fan of the Indiana State Fair, I've never really ventured into the retail vendors that are selling clothing and hot tubs. Why would I go to the fair for that when I can get that stuff year around? 

So maybe this vendor has been at the fair for years, probably selling these types of products (and to be fair, a ton of other stuff) for years. And I suppose nobody has complained about it either. That's what Andy Klotz, PR Director for the Fair, tells me.

I don't know if this is because nobody has noticed it. Or it is because people don't recognize Confederate flags as a symbol of racism. Even if you genuinely believe that the Confederacy revolted against the North for truly non-racist, non-slavery reasons**, you can't deny that the Confederate Flag has been paraded around by racists as a symbol of racism. On the same day that the South Carolina legislature hoisted the Confederate Flag up, it was in the middle of the Civil War centennial and the Civil Rights movement was well underway. While the Confederate Flag flying over South Carolina's state legislature didn't cause any controvery itself, it is a symbol of all that was wrong with our country at the time. A simple Google search shows widespread use of Confederate symbols among white supremacy organizations and white power media.

This doesn't sit right with me, and I certainly don't believe it belongs at our state fair.

**I say believe because there's no way someone could make that into a factual argument. Slavery was most certainly THE biggest contributing factor to the American Civil War. There is no arguing otherwise.


  1. Last i heard the Bill Of Rights was still intact. Even the onerous parts.

  2. That's true, and I as a citizen have the right to express my opinion that products such as these shouldn't be allowed at the State Fair. The Fair already has guidelines in place to remove specific products from vendors and it gives them wide latitude to do so, just like with any other vendor-landlord arraignment. The vendor certainly has the right to sell his product. But he doesn't have the inherent right to do it at the fair. If products were to be removed, I of course want it done in the most legal way possible that costs the least money (I wouldn't want a contract broken and cause a lawsuit, for example). But there's no reason the Fair couldn't prohibit such products.

    And to be clear, I don't really blame the fair all that much either. They've said they haven't received complaints. And I bet that this vendor has sold these products for years. Even though the fair can solve the problem, I think it is much more of a problem that we as a society don't recognize this for the disgusting symbol that it represents.

  3. I wonder if your opinion would be the same now that a few years and the recent Confederate flag decision have passed. While you may consider that many atrocities have occurred under the banner of the Confederate flag, many atrocities have likewise occurred under the regular U.S. Flag, and many others have occurred while people metaphorically waved their Koran (or Bible, or Torah) high in the air. For the sake of consistency, would you revise this line of thinking, or is the Confederate flag the only emblem waved by people who have committed horrible acts? To be clear, I hold all such acts with disdain--no matter the the emblem the perpetrators gather under.

    1. My opinion on the stars and bars hasn't changed. Though I do find it strange that the State Fair had no interest in removing the flag when it was bought to their attention two years ago, but did an about-face when it became a national story.


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