The term “Rebel” when used as school mascot is usually intended to describe a southern Confederate military member. It is not simply a generic word for someone who rebels.
Often given the moniker "Johnny Reb" as a nickname for the character, these mascots are exclusively pictured as White Southern males wearing Confederate uniforms and armaments. It’s clear that these mascots are a representations of Confederate soldiers.
These caricatures of Southern Confederate soldiers often sport beard styles that were popular in the army of the South during the Civil War. The uniforms of these mascots is also the gray of the confederate states’ uniform and is often adorned with red or blue elements of the Confederate flag. If these mascots simply represented the free and revolutionary spirit of some ideal America, they wouldn’t be styled to look like they just walked off of a Confederate battleground.
While the term, “Rebel” has been also been linked to different pop culture references like the movie title, “Rebel Without a Cause” and pop songs like “Rebel, Rebel,” and “Rebel Yell,” the “Rebel” that is used as the basis of school mascots is a symbol inextricably linked to a defense of the practice of enslaving people and of using force to maintain that ownership as well as supporting the cause of committing treason against the laws of the United States.