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Girl Learns the Expensive Way that Confederate Flags and Prom Dresses Don’t Mix

By Meredith Carroll |

Confederate flag

It's not quite a swastika, but to some it's just as offensive

She wasn’t showing too much leg. Her cleavage wasn’t spilling out all over the place. There were no inappropriate cut-outs. But Texanna Edwards was still kicked out of her high school’s senior prom in western Tennessee for her dress.

It was a knee-length red dress with two blue and white ribbons crisscrossing at her hip, according to the New York Daily News. In other words, it had a Confederate flag theme on it.

Gibson County High School officials deemed it “offensive and inappropriate” and didn’t let her in. This, after she spent $500 on her dress, hair and makeup.

In 2012, should people of any age know better than to wear something as offensive as a Confederate flag? Or is it a freedom of speech issue?

Texanna claims she asked her classmates – black and white – what they thought of the dress. She said it was universally beloved, according to the Jackson Sun.

She also argued kids wore Confederate-flag themed attire to school “all the time” without a problem. (Although that’s not the case in all schools.)

“I didn’t ask for approval because I didn’t think I needed to. I had one teacher tell me it was a bad idea . . . But I asked a bunch of people before I had the dress made, and they all loved the idea,” Texanna told the Sun.

Call it a rebel flag. Call it the Southern Cross. But it’s universally known as a symbol that once represented the Confederacy, which fought on behalf of the South in the Civil War in large part to keep slavery in tact. It’s an emblem of hate against African-Americans. It’s insensitive. And much like a swastika (or a t-shirt with a Star of David like Jews were made to wear by the Nazis in Europe during World War II), it has no place in civilized society. Or a prom.

Click here to see a photo of the dress.

Photo credit: iStock

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About Meredith Carroll


Meredith Carroll

Meredith C. Carroll is an award-winning columnist and writer based in Aspen, Colorado. She can be found regularly on the Op-Ed page of The Denver Post. From 2005-2012 her other column, "Meredith Pro Tem" ran in several newspapers, as well as occasionally on The Huffington Post since 2009. Read more about her (or don’t, whatever) at her website. Read bio and latest posts → Read Meredith's latest posts →

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12 thoughts on “Girl Learns the Expensive Way that Confederate Flags and Prom Dresses Don’t Mix

  1. lam says:

    Amen, sister.

  2. Shandeigh says:

    I can’t believe in this day and age that people still insist that the confederate flag is somehow inherently racist. It’s not. It’s a symbol of the south. Nothing more, nothing less. People need to chill out.

  3. Meredith Carroll says:

    @Shandeigh — Yikes.

  4. Linda, T.O.O. says:

    Seriously, what an idiot. You too, Shandeigh. Great grasp of American history there. :/

  5. Shandeigh says:

    Yes, I do have a great grasp of American history, thank you… because I actually researched it myself rather than taking what was spoon fed to me by Hollywood. I actually have the mental capacity to understand that the civil war was not about slavery. (for full disclosure sake… I don’t live in the south and have never lived in the South, so I don’t have a dog in the fight).

  6. daisy says:

    No, people, you don’t realize what a good researcher Shandeigh is! Her “research” did not uncover any actual history or cultural context. Her “research” showed us all that a flag is just a harmless piece of fabric and can never symbolize anything. Her “research” also reassured her that black people’s perceptions, plus the majority of white people’s perceptions, don’t matter. You see, Shandeigh PhD says that the Civil War also had an economic component, so all these annoying black people are wrong and should get over themselves already. All that matters, according to Shandeigh’s very thorough research, is the wishful thinking of certain white people who desperately want to deny any suggestion of racism. Let’s respect the research!

  7. Amy says:

    I do not agree with the display of this flag anywhere, but I also do not think that it is okay to deny a person there constitutional rights. This is a symbol of a very bad time in the United States History. We were killing our own instead of sitting down and coming to an agreement in a civil manner. War is never the answer and no one ever wins when lives are lost. I am glad the start of ending slavery came from it though.

  8. Carolee says:

    who woke this blog? whoever it was they need a reality check! i’m white, my son is half black i see nothing wrong with this dress or the flag itself. people need to get over the BS already!

  9. CF says:

    The only people who say that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery are those who were in the Confederacy. They say they fought for States’ Rights… but they fought for the right for their state to keep slavery legal. They fought because they felt it was acceptable to own another human being like a piece of property or an animal, and no one else agreed with them.

    The Confederate Flag is not a symbol of the South; it’s a symbol of the subtle racism that people still allow.

  10. Caitie says:

    It is insensitive and it is offensive. If she had been asking SO many teachers then odds are she had a feeling what she was doing may have been wrong.
    The swastika WAS designed as a symbol of the working class. Could i wear that to prom then? Sure my family is from poland and half jewish and i have grown up hearing stories of how my great grandmothers sister was raped, then kidnapped in front of her family and children by soldiers while trying to flee to Austria. But killing jews is just ONE of the many things Nazis stood and fought for not the only one.

  11. Kansas555 says:

    The Flag has become a symbol of hate because that’s what people have made it. It was originally the flag of a “nation” that wanted to be seperate from it’s mother land…isn’t that what the American Flag is also? Yes the Civil War was about slavery, but it was also about becoming a seperate country, it was about industrialization, about a quarter of it was over the right to maintain slavery. That being said…because the symbol has become synonymous with hate and is typically displayed by hate groups, it is inappropriate prom wear (or clothing wear in general). Actually the swastika was origanally a Native American symbol of peace, until Hitler basterdized it. And to CF: Actually the Northerns fought harder to keep industrialization from happening in the South because they had the monopoly on industry at the time. The Union wasn’t all about right fighting, in fact at the time of the Civil War, most Union families still had slaves too. Also the dress was ugly and ill-fitting.

  12. Maria says:

    Kansas555, you need to check your history- the swastika was an Indian symbol, as in South Asian, not Native American.

    Regardless of why the Civil War was fought, the fact is that the Confederate flag is a symbol of racial hatred. It’s not a coincidence that Southern states began adding the symbol to their state flags in the 50s and 60s, the same time period when they were being forced to integrate their schools, allow minorities to vote, etc. They may have been forced into acting under some semblance of equality, but they were certainly going to make it clear what they really thought. Even if you want to claim the flag wasn’t about racial hatred during the Civil War, it’s certainly has been during its modern incarnation.

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