What does the American flag represent? And who?
According to the “Black Lives Matter Utah Chapter” Facebook account, the answers are ugly.
On the 4th of July, it spoke on behalf of America’s black populace:
“When we Black Americans see this flag, we know the person flying it is not safe to be around.”
“When we see this flag, we know the person flying it is a racist.”
“When we see this flag, we know that the person flying it lives in a different America than we do.”
It’s an issue, not only of prejudice, but of smarts:
“When we see this flag, we question your intelligence. We know to avoid you. It is a symbol of hatred.”
One commenter offered, “I really hate how true this is…”
Another hoped it “may not always be the case.”
In response to critics, BLM Utah was welcoming:
“Welcome, racists. We know you are big mad about the racist flag post. You will not be heard here.”
The account elaborated on racism:
“Racists fly that flag. A group of wh1te supremacists literally went to Philly yesterday and they were all carrying that flag. Ask yourself why every racist wears that flag and flies that flag? Because it is a symbol of hate.”
“I wish I could say it is the new symbol of hate,” the account continued, “but it is not. This country has created genocide under that flag.”
The Utah chapter referenced January’s chaos at the Capitol:
“[I] love how the insurrectionists are heading to the page telling us to ‘rEsPeCt tHe fLaG’ didn’t you climb up the walls of the Nation’s Capitol and tear down the American flag? Yes, you did. Didn’t you take American flags and beat police officers to death with them in Washington on the day of your failed insurrection? Yea, you did.”
“Don’t you change the colors of the flag to suit whatever false narrative you are pushing today? Yes, you do. You break the United States flag code daily.”
BLM Utah made its refusal clear:
“We will not pledge allegiance to that flag. We will not stand for the National Anthem. We will not respect a piece of cloth that you respect more than Black lives. We will not be quiet. We will not back down.”
An allegation of laziness was leveled:
“We will not leave a country that our ancestors built because your ancestors were too lazy to do their own work. Don’t tell us to go back to Africa. You can go directly back to Europe, because you are on stolen land.”
In another post, the account addressed accusations of hate, offering, “You own hatred. You have the receipt.”
Of course, anyone can create a Facebook account. Is the page representative of any sort of official chapter of Black Lives Matter?
For more on that, we go to The Salt Lake Tribune:
Lex Scott, founder of Black Lives Matter Utah, says she knew the posts would cause a reaction.
“The point of the post was to make everyone uncomfortable,” Scott said. “The American flag is taught to us from birth to represent freedom, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Scott says she was angered by photos of the far-right group Patriot Front marching through Philadelphia on Saturday carrying the American flag. The march was disrupted by counterprotesters, who chased them away.
Stunning photos by my Inquirer colleague Jessica Griffin of the march through Philadelphia by the far-right-extremist group Patriot Front — right near Independence Hall on the eve of July 4 https://t.co/Opvvcwr1yD
— Will Bunch (@Will_Bunch) July 4, 2021
“Patriot Front,” per the Southern Poverty Law Center, is “a white nationalist hate group that broke off from Vanguard America in the aftermath of the deadly ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, of August 12, 2017.”
A video on the group’s website shows a “Black Lives Matter” billboard covered with a sign asserting, “The United States is not America. Now we are on our own.”
Lex told the Tribune, “They’re flying American flags. The Ku Klux Klan is flying American flags. … They climbed the Capitol for their failed insurrection and were beating police officers with American flags. I have not heard any outrage from Republicans or the right about the use of the American flag as a hate symbol. We are seeing that symbol used in every racist hate group’s messaging across this nation.”
Ol’ Glory sure isn’t getting the love it once did.
Singer Macy Gray’s ready for a change:
— Silvia Ascarelli (@SilviaAscarelli) June 17, 2021
And as you’re likely aware, Gwen Berry — who’s set to represent America in the Olympics — recently turned her back on the Stars and Stripes.
She responded to critics thusly:
These comments really show that:
1.) people in American rally patriotism over basic morality
2.) Even after the murder of George Floyd and so many others; the commercials, statements, and phony sentiments regarding black lives were just a hoax
— Gwen Berry OLY (@MzBerryThrows) June 28, 2021
Back to Black Lives Matter Utah, it blasted blabbering snakes:
“You are the ones denying jobs and housing to us. You spew microaggressions upon us in the workplace. You profile us in stores. You repeat negative stereotypes about us. Then you bring up your token Black friend and say “I’m not racist, my best friend is Black” to excuse your ignorance. Just stop talking. We don’t teach hatred, we spread reality and that reality is bitter on your forked tongue. Swallow it. … And realize that you are the problem.”
“You can feel wh1te supremacy dying,” it surmised, “and you are scared. You are terrified. Because you have treated people of color like a permanent underclass since you stole us from our homes in Africa.”
Black Lives Matter Utah — or at least Lex Scott — has a tongue, too:
“You are afraid of losing the power to discriminate without consequences. I can taste your fear, and it tastes delicious.”
One thing that isn’t delicious: American disunity.
It seems to me if we can’t agree as a country to appreciate the symbol of our country, then our country isn’t destined to remain one.
How do we get back to a single “nation under God”?
Whatever the proper path, I’d estimate it isn’t presently beneath our feet.