General Lee Should Be Left Alone by the PC Generation: The Car Is Innocent

General Lee with its Dukes of Hazzard co-stars John Schneider and Tom Wopat 9 photos
Photo: Everett Collection / CBS
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General Lee, the orange 1969 Dodge Charger from the hit CBS series Dukes of Hazzard, is perhaps one of the most famous, popular and loved TV cars of all time. It’s also one of the most controversial, because it proudly displays the Confederate flag on the roof.
The Confederate flag, considered by many today as a symbol of racism and white power, was not as debated back when the show first aired on CBS. Dukes of Hazzard ran on the network between 1979 and 1985 and is considered, to this day, a wholesome family show. Except for the flag on General Lee.

This isn’t the first time that an extra touch of sensitivity and awareness is brought to a discussion on the show, which ultimately results in saying that the flag should be digitally erased from the car for the series to continue airing. The same conversation took place back in 2012 and, in 2015, resulted in the decision to pull the show from the TV circuit and remake all General Lee toys and merchandise so as not to include it.

That’s just wrong, the original stars on the show tell The Hollywood Reporter. There is nothing racist about the Charger or the show, and the car is innocent. It may be the world-famous General Lee, but it’s just a car at the end of the day.

“I have never had an African American come up to me and have any problem with it whatsoever. The politically correct generation has gotten way out of hand,” John Schneider, who played Bo Duke, tells the publication. “Dukes of Hazzard was a unifying force. Mom, Grandma, everyone wanted to watch it together. But who benefits from division? The Dukes of Hazzard has been shot down, I believe unfairly. We haven’t missed a generation yet, but we may miss this next one.”

Tom Wopat, who played cousin Duke, is more nuanced in his statement, but still argues that the car is pointlessly targeted. “The situation in the country has obviously changed in the last 40 years,” Wopat says. “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.”

Gy Waldron, the creator of the series, chimes in to say that, in his opinion, no one connected the flag with slavery and that it was included on General Lee because it was “a part of our Southern culture.” Meanwhile, Ben Jones, who played Cooter the mechanic, believes that digitally erasing the flag on the car for the show to resume airing on other platforms (it’s currently streaming only on Amazon) would be akin to removing the S on Superman’s suit. It’s somewhat of a forced comparison, but you get the idea.
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About the author: Elena Gorgan
Elena Gorgan profile photo

Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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