Rebel flag tattoos, also known as Confederate flag tattoos or Southern Cross tattoos, are often viewed in two very different lights. Even today southerners view the rebel flag with a mixture of pride and shame. On the one hand, rebel flag tattoos are considered a symbol of pride and states’ rights. Many people who get these tattoos view them in that respect, much the same way that the American flag is a symbol of pride and independence.
However, because of the severe issues that surrounded the use of the rebel flag — namely, the Civil War and battles over slavery — many people view rebel flag tattoos as a sign of racism and hate. For that reason, someone considering getting a rebel flag tattoo in a visible place should bear in mind that the rebel flag is closely associated with the death of hundreds of thousands of Americans and the enslavement of an entire race. Of course, depending on the presentation of the tattoo and any other designs and symbols around it, it is possible to depict the rebel flag in a more positive light.
Originally, the design for the rebel flag comes from the Crux Australis, which is a constellation that’s only visible in the southern hemisphere. It’s depicted in many nations’ coats of arms and because of its location in the sky is a long-standing symbol of southern pride.
Typically, rebel flag tattoos are simplistic in design, but many of them can be embellished a great deal. Common patterns include a skull and crossbones over top the flag, or the word ‘rebel’ near the flag. A more patriotic rebel flag tattoo has a bald eagle flying either across the flag or over the top of it. On the other hand, more racist-geared rebel tattoos have the words ‘southern justice’ on them and feature a noose.
Rebel flag tattoos are popular among bikers in particular, so the design of the tattoo may include a motorcycle as well. Another common design is flames surrounding the tattoo to illustrate the ‘fire’ of southern pride. Also, some people also get their names or the names of their loved ones tattooed across the rebel flag.