Watch a man peel a confederate flag off of a moving truck in traffic.

First, let's be clear that confederate flags are racist symbols. Full stop.

In modern discourse, what words and actions are considered racist is often debatable. People can argue about how to define "racist." People can debate whether intent or impact is more important. People can discuss whether to center the voices of the historical oppressed or the historical oppressors.

But I have yet to see a reasonable argument for confederate flags not being racist symbols. Even if they're supposed symbolize "southern pride," as some folks like to argue, they're still racist. Those flags represent a heinous era of southern history in which southern states were willing to fight to the death in order to maintain the right to enslave black people. It's literally a symbol of the southern battle to maintain the institution of slavery.

How can that symbol not be racist?

(Before anyone chimes in with "The Civil War wasn't about slavery, it was about states' rights!" please go here and read the primary documents in which the slave-holding southern states themselves explained the reasons for secession. Save yourself some time and search for the word "slavery." The primary right that they were fighting for was the "right" to uphold white supremacy and enslave black people. They spelled it out clearly.)

That's why this video of black man running up to a moving truck to remove a confederate flag sticker has gone viral.

A Twitter user with the username "Tall, Dark & Sad" shared the video, which has now been shared nearly 40,000 times, with the caption "This Guy 2020."



It shows a man on a freeway jogging up to the back of a moving semi truck and peeling off a large, square confederate flag. Traffic was moving slowly, but it's still a rather impressive feat.

The people of Twitter, for the most part, loved it. Thousands of comments praised the flag peeler.

Predictably, of course, there were some who tried to explain (or whitesplain, as it were) that the flag doesn't mean what the flag has always meant.



(For the record, being a battle flag is kind of the point, and in no known universe is this iteration of the battle flag a "religious flag." People in the U.S. died to protect the right to own other human beings, not to protect the St. Andrews cross—a cross that is not even what we see in its true form on the confederate flag anyway.)

Others who got mad because they think destroying a racist symbol is just a symptom of young whippersnappers running amok.




People can argue that it was vandalism, but which is worse?

Is this kind of vandalism a crime worth getting worked up over? I mean, tossing England's tea into Boston Harbor was a destruction of property, but we celebrate that act of rebellion as part of our proud history.

Is it worse to publicly display a racist symbol or to destroy one displayed in public? Of course, people have the freedom to express themselves, but what about when that expression causes harm? One could argue that the flag on the truck did more harm than the act of removing it did. One could argue that some acts of civil disobedience are justified.

I mean, if you didn't cry "Vandalism!" at this scene in The Sound of Music, why freak out over this?



One final note: The confederate flag isn't just a symbol of racism; it's also little more than a glorified participation trophy. I mean, who flies the flag of the losing side in your own country's civil war—the side that tried to split the country in two and fought to preserve something everyone now agrees was horrendous? That's just weird.

With a broad understanding of history and more than enough explanations for why it's widely seen as a racist symbol, no one who doesn't want to make a racist statement should display confederate flags. The southern pride and southern heritage argument simply doesn't fly when the heritage that flag represents is the violent defense of slavery.

Figure out another way to express your southern roots, y'all. Carry a bucket of peaches or get yourself a Roll Tide t-shirt or something. The confederate flag is long past its expiration date and needs to stay in the past where it belongs.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

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