The confederate flag has been a topic of discussion for some time now, and the debate over whether or not it should still be used and depicted in media due to its links to slavery has expanded even more following the death of George Floyd. In the TV realm, one show that’s been at the center of the debate for years is The Dukes of Hazzard due to the confederate flag painted on the roof of the General Lee. Now, the stars of the vintage comedy are sharing their thoughts on the matter.
John Schneider, who played Bo Duke on the show, doesn’t seem to have a problem with the confederate flag being on the General Lee, saying there’s never been an instance in which an African American has confronted him about it:
I have never had an African American come up to me and have any problem with it whatsoever. The whole politically correct generation has gotten way out of hand.
Schneider’s co-star, Tom Wopat (who played Luke Duke), offered a different outlook on the situation when speaking with THR. Wopat acknowledged that times have changed since the show first aired and welcomes the fact that issues like this can be discussed, though he does believe the General Lee doesn’t pose much of a problem:
The situation in the country has obviously changed in the last 40 years. I feel fortunate to be living in a time when we can address some of the injustices of the past. But the car is innocent.
Dukes of Hazzard creator Gy Waldron has also responded to the debate. Citing the fact that he has relatives who fought on both sides of the Civil War, the 87-year-old Waldron explained that his family honored both flags as a part of their culture and never connected it with slavery. Waldron also says he supports the Black Lives Matter movement and its goal to address racism.
Ben Jones, who played Cooter Davenport on the show, referred to the controversy as “a tragedy.” The actor, who owns a chain of Hazzard-themed stores, believes the show itself served as a unifying force, with many African American families tuning in to watch it every week. He also believes digitally removing the flag wouldn’t help the matter since its already widely recognizable and would only draw more attention to the matter. To Jones, taking away the flag would be like “taking the 'S' off of Superman's chest.
Attitudes towards the confederate flag have been changing as of late, as NASCAR has now banned the flag from racing events. While the Dukes of Hazzard’s General Lee may not be not the first thing that comes to mind when people think about the confederate flag, it is still part of a necessary discussion that’s sure to keep going for a while.
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