Why Kendall Jenner's Tee Is All Kinds Of Wrong

Photo: SPOT/AKM GSI.
Yesterday, Kendall Jenner was spotted pumping gas in Beverly Hills, presumably on her way to visit her mama. She wore a pair of cute tan sandals, white jeans, and — hold the phone — is that a Confederate flag on her T-shirt? Yes, yes it is. And so, a coulda-been-cute outfit takes a sharp left turn into "unintentionally racist" and "definitely ignorant as hell" territory.

As defenders will no doubt point out, the flag appears on a reproduction of a '70s concert tee by Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Southern rock band given to interminable guitar solos and embracing its rednecky roots. The band itself has gone back and forth on its use of the motif. In a 2012 CNN interview, band members angered many fans by appearing to distance themselves from the flag's racist associations. The group later issued a statement that it would still display the Confederate flag during shows, because "we know what the Dixie flag represents and it's heritage; the Civil War was fought over states' rights." ...To own slaves, the band curiously failed to add.

Still, let's not let a bunch of good old boys define the terms of this debate. No matter a symbol's history, it's instructive to look at how it's being used now. Southern Poverty Law Center maintains a list of some so-called "neo-Confederate" organizations currently using the flag as their symbol — a charming list of groups that include segragationists, eugenics-promoters, and many with ties to white supremacists.

If the rebel flag was ever a harmless symbol the South, it sure as hell isn't now. Here's hoping Kendall Jenner sends this tee the way of her nose ring. Wouldn't hurt to crack a history book, either. 

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