TV Land has pulled repeats of The Dukes of Hazzard because the protagonists drive around in a car named after Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The General Lee also has the Confederate flag painted on it. In light of recent events, TV Land thought this was a bit much. It’s not necessarily a political statement. They also pulled repeats of The Cosby Show when allegations surfaced that Bill Cosby drugged and raped women. Although, that’s a little different, as Cosby didn’t commit these offensive acts on the show itself, but still TV Land is not The History Channel. In fact, The History Channel isn’t even The History Channel anymore. TV Land airs mindless TV shows that people put on in the background while making dinner. It’s not in the business of offending people.
However, this decision has offended fans of The Dukes of Hazzard, including its star John Schneider .
“The Dukes of Hazzard was and is no more a show seated in racism than Breaking Bad was a show seated in reality,” Schneider told the Hollywood Reporter.
He said the show’s residual royalties “have never been much to write home about,” and then he said more.
“I am saddened that one angry and misguided individual can cause one of the most beloved television shows in the history of the medium to suddenly be seen in this light,” Schneider said. “Are people who grew up watching the show now suddenly racists? Will they have to go through a detox and a 12-step program to kick their Dukes habit? ‘Hi … My name is John. I’m a Dukesoholic.’”
I should first point out that after 9/11, almost all images of the World Trade Center were removed from TV shows or movies that aired on cable. It is not an assault from the Thought Police but just an attempt at sensitivity.
Schneider also tweeted a link to a photo of alleged Charleston shooter Dylann Roof wearing a Gold’s Gym T-shirt. “Is the Golds Gym logo to be considered a symbol of racism as well now?” he asked.
Jeez. Look, a Gold Gym’s tee-shirt is not the symbol of racial oppression and the attempt to preserve slavery. This is like the people who say, “Well, the KKK wears sheets. Should I not sleep on sheets?”
“It amazes me that anyone could take offense to the General Lee,” Schneider said… “… If there was ever a non-racist family, it was the Dukes of Hazzard.”
I haven’t watched the show in a while, so I might not recall the episodes where the Duke brothers worked to desegregate Hazzard diners or let O.J. Simpson crash at their place when his car broke down on the way to Atlanta. However, most Southern black people aren’t in a rush to hang out with people who wave around the Confederate flag and name their cars after Confederate generals. In fairness, we probably never said anything, because you usually don’t want to engage in a heated political discussion with white guys who drive around in cars named after Confederate generals that have the “Rebel” flag on it.
Maybe that’s the problem. Southerners grow up hearing about the “Rebels” fighting the “Union” and just assume that the Civil War was like Star Wars. However, the Rebel Alliance wasn’t fighting to preserve slavery — not simply out of altruism but more practicality, as there was only the one black guy in the galaxy.
Schneider is not the only “Dukes” cast member to defend the show in recent days. In a Facebook post, Ben Jones — a former Democratic congressman from Georgia who played mechanic Cooter on the show and runs three“Hazzard”-themed museums — rallied round the flag.
“I THINK ALL OF HAZZARD NATION UNDERSTANDS THAT THE CONFEDERATE BATTLE FLAG IS THE SYMBOL THAT REPRESENTS THE INDOMITABLE SPIRIT OF INDEPENDENCE WHICH KEEPS US ‘MAKIN’ OUR WAY THE ONLY WAY WE KNOW HOW,’” wrote Jones — in all caps. “THAT FLAG ON TOP OF THE GENERAL LEE MADE A STATEMENT THAT THE VALUES OF THE RURAL SOUTH WERE THE VALUES OF COURAGE AND FAMILY AND GOOD TIMES.”
Huh? The Confederate flag somehow represents “independence,” when the leaders not only wanted to preserve slavery but spread it further? The Declaration of Independence details countless acts of British tyranny, from which the colonies wanted to free themselves. The primary grievance that led to Southern succession was the right to continue keeping people in bondage. And it’s not like Lincoln was elected and issued the Emancipation Proclamation at his inaugural. The South bolted simply because it feared what Lincoln might do.
Oh, well, I’m sure Mr. Jones can’t say anything dumber.
He added: “WE ARE NOT RACISTS. WE DESPISE RACISM AND BIGOTRY. AND WE THINK THE PEOPLE WHO ARE CREATING THIS ‘CULTURAL CLEANSING’ ARE THE REAL BIGOTS IN THIS STORY.”
Huh, so black people inform you that your racist flag is racist, so you then double down behind faulty history as justification (you might as well claim that the Civil War started because Jefferson Davis wouldn’t chop down a cherry tree), and we’re the racists?
The sad thing is that many black kids and non-racist white kids loved The Dukes of Hazzard and dreamed of riding around in the General Lee. What was racist was that they weren’t taught history and were permitted to function in ignorance about the past. I loved the visual image of Captain America’s arch-enemy the Red Skull, but I knew enough history to know that the swastika on his costume wasn’t just a cool emblem. Fortunately, no American Jew or gentile grew up in a society where the crimes of the Nazis were so easily forgotten.