Virginia’s old SCV license plate – an observation

Posted on September 15, 2016 by


I saw this article, and taking the time to actually read it… and re-read it… I’m actually able to hear both sides to this argument.

For one, the plate is no longer a legal plate in the Commonwealth of Virginia. So, under the law, being no longer legal, I understand the basic thought behind why he’s receiving citations. In some sense, it’s akin to an expired tag or inspection sticker, and one will get a ticket for that sort of thing. This said, we know that the tag was removed from Virginia’s huge inventory or tags available because of the image of the Confederate battle flag (which was presented, on the tag, as part of the SCV logo). Frankly, though I simply sport a basic license tag, myself, I’m not so sure I’m in agreement with the logic behind the removal (and, yes, I’m well aware of how it all unfolded).

That aside, there’s nothing in the quotes from Kevin Collier in this article that make him into a “bad person”. I’ve seen snarky comments in other circles that show other people feel differently, and honestly, I think that’s actually a bigger issue.

I know nothing more of Mr. Collier or all of his thoughts behind why he chooses to display the Confederate flag, other than what the article tells me. Nor am I in search of other details about why. As such, shouldn’t people be a bit more hesitant in judging him and his character (and, even his defiance)? The great mistake in all of this is the stereotype that seems to go with all those who opt to display the Confederate flag in some form or fashion. How can one resent stereotypes of some people, on one hand, while encouraging stereotypes of other people, on the other hand? Everyone who displays the flag isn’t racist. No matter what some people may think or say, that “heritage” that’s referenced… while, yes, it can be a deflection, for some… and, yes, they are out there… who don’t recognize (or aren’t really knowledgeable of it beyond their own decision to display) the complexity of matters behind the display of the flag, and/or hide behind it in the name of something racist and even sinister… it is not the case for everyone. It seems impossible for some to swallow these days, but “heritage”, or making a connection with one’s ancestry in some form, can actually mean something else to other people… and it actually does.

What strikes me is how this image (the flag) and its meaning can be seen as existing on somewhat of a thin line. When does the right to be offended by some (based on their understanding of their ancestors in history), leading to the removal of the image, step on the rights of others (based on their understanding of their ancestors in history)? Just as much as those who want to display the flag often project a belief in ancestors and their lives (which may well be wrong), based on little or no supportive evidence in backing up that image, so too can the same be for those who might find it offensive. I’m not saying that one is absolutely right and one is absolutely wrong. Ultimately, we struggle (often based on very little information) to find the truth about common people of the past and, just as we shouldn’t stereotype (based on so little information) about people and their particular situation in the past (to include their actual positions on slavery, for example), nor should we be so judgmental of folks in the here and now.

No, I’m not preaching (because, depending on the situation, I’ve proved my own perceptions on what my people of the past were like are wrong, or often quite complicated). I’m merely making an observation.