Utah’s Black Lives Matter chapter defends calling US flag ‘a symbol of hatred’

The group’s founder pointed to recent examples of the Proud Boys, KKK, and other hate groups using the flag in their imagery.

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Thursday 08 July 2021 20:30
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<p>Black Lives Matter Utah is defending a recent social media post calling the US flag a ‘symbol of hatred,’ arguing violent and hateful groups regularly wield the flag for their own ends with little condemnation. </p>

Black Lives Matter Utah is defending a recent social media post calling the US flag a ‘symbol of hatred,’ arguing violent and hateful groups regularly wield the flag for their own ends with little condemnation.

Black Lives Matter Utah is not backing down after it generated controversy with a 4th of July post calling the American flag a “symbol of hatred”, arguing violent and hateful groups from the KKK to the Proud Boys to the 6 January rioters at the US Capitol have made the flag part of their imagery as they attack innocent people.

“They’re flying American flags,” Lex Scott, founder of the group, told the Salt Lake Tribune. “The Ku Klux Klan is flying American flags. The Proud Boys are 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. The problem that I have is no one is addressing the people who are using it for hate. I am telling you when I see an American flag, I begin to feel fear for the simple fact that every time I am faced with hatred, it is at the hands of someone carrying an American flag.”

Ms Scott drew the ire of conservatives inside Utah and beyond after the group posted on Independence Day that when Black people see someone flying the American flag it is a “symbol of hatred” and danger.

“When we Black Americans see this flag we know the person flying it is not safe to be around,” the post read. “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. When we see this flag, we question your intelligence. We know to avoid you. It is a symbol of hatred.”

She said she was inspired to make the post after seeing images from Philadelphia of a July rally of Patriot Front, a far-right hate group, who were using American flag imagery.

The post quickly generated controversy on the right.

“The American flag is a symbol of freedom and opportunity to the world,” Utah Republican Chairman Carson Jorgensen said at the time.

The criticisms of the post evoked the recent controversies over high-profile Black athletes like former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem, in protest of systemic racism.

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