The Southern Cross is the English name of Crux Australis, a constellation visible in the Southern Hemisphere. It is also depicted in coats of arms of various countries and sub-national entities. This star constellation is only visible on the southern hemisphere and it therefore symbolizes the southern location of its users.
The Southern Cross can also refer to Southern Cross Flags (or Rebel Flags, The Confederate Flag or The Confederate Battle Flag), which are flags which depict the blue saltire as used in various flags of the Confederate States of America in the American Civil War. The Navy Jack is colloquially called the "Rebel Flag". The Confederate Navy Jack, 1863-1865The Confederate Navy Jack, also called "The Southern Cross," is a rectangular precursor of the Battle Flag, usually about 53 feet. The blue color in the saltire (the diagonal cross) is much lighter than in the Battle Flag, and it was flown only on Confederate ships from 1863 to 1865.
The display of the Confederate flag remains a highly controversial and emotional topic, generally because of disagreement over the nature of its symbolism. Opponents of the Confederate flag, and African Americans see it as an overt symbol of racism, both for the history of racial slavery in the United States, and the establishment of Jim Crow laws by Southern states following the end of Reconstruction in late 1870s, enforcing racial segregation within state borders for nearly a century until the Civil Rights Movement. Supporters of the flag view it as a symbol of heritage and the freedom of the distinct cultural tradition of the South from the perceived opression of Northern government. Also, in light of some universities banning it as a racist symbol in their "speech codes", it could also be seen as a symbol of freedom of speech. Some hate groups use the Southern Cross as one of the symbols associated with their organizations, including racist groups such as the Neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.The flag is also sometimes used by separatist organizations such as the Aryan Nations. It is important to note, however, that the official flag of the Ku Klux Klan, as stated by this organization itself, is the flag of the United States of America, not the CSA battle flag. The Aryan Nation also uses the American flag as well as the Christian flag.
Southern cross flag tattoos represent the proud heritage of being an American southerner. It also represents the idea that sparked the American civil war: that state governments have more soverneigty over their people than the federal government. That southern cross tattoo is also featured prominently on country music stars and used inaccurately by white supremists.