Many people who live in the South see the Confederate flag as a point of pride and a symbol of their heritage rather than a symbol of racism and oppression. And to show that pride, some people choose to wear rebel flag items, including a rebel flag bandana or a rebel flag t-shirt. There are a number of other ways that people can choose to show their affection for the rebel flag.
One of the most iconic displays of the rebel flag was on the General Lee, the car used in the show, “The Dukes of Hazzard.” The show ran from seven seasons, from 1979 to 1985, and it introduced the rest of the U.S. to Georgia cousing Bo and Luke Duke and their orange car with the Confederate flag on it. A rather ironic thing about the series is that, though the first five episodes were filmed in Georgia, the rest of the show was filmed in California, about as far as you can get politically from the deep South as is possible. The Dukes of Hazzard led to a surge of merchandise that featured the rebel flag, including Dukes of Hazzard shirts, hats toy cars and other items.
The rebel flag has been a huge source of controversy, but it is revered in the south. Five Southern states have laws that equate defacing the Confederate flag with defacing the U.S. flag and have the same penalties. But that doesn’t stop retailers from producing millions of items of Confederate gear each year, from rebel flag bandanas to hats to t-shirts to bumper stickers. In many parts of the country, wearing any of these items would be offensive to people and brand you as a likely racist, but in the South, it is a practice that is largely accepted by most of the population. Whether that is right or wrong is a matter of interpretation.
Whether wearing the rebel flag is a good idea is up to each individual. It can be a political statement for some, but for many, it is a source of pride for residents of the South. It’s the same as wearing the stars and stripes or a maple leaf. That’s why you see so much Confederate merchandise with the rebel flag on it.