A Black Lives Matter chapter triggered “relentless” backlash this week after declaring the American flag is “a symbol of hatred” and that patriotic displays of Old Glory are reserved for racists only.
What are the details?
To celebrate Independence Day, the Utah chapter of Black Lives Matter disparaged the American flag and patriotic Americans.
“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,” the group said on Facebook.
“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,” the message continued.
Along with the anti-America message, the group linked to a Google Drive account that contained hate-filled messages directed at Black Lives Matter.
What was the reaction?
The controversial post triggered “swift and relentless” backlash, according to Deseret News. Even Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R) responded to the inflammatory post.
“Our flag represents the greatest country in the history of the world. It stands for freedom and opportunity for all,” Cox told Deseret News. “It has stood the test of time as a beacon to the free and oppressed and too many lives have been lost to preserve that symbol and all its stands for. I refuse to let any white supremacy or Black Lives Matter groups change that.”
Former Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), meanwhile, called BLM’s post “disgusting, more divisive, and flat out wrong.” The Utah Republican Party also hit back in a statement.
“Utahns should never tolerate SHAMEFUL and DIVISIVE rhetoric like this. The American flag is a symbol of freedom, opportunity and equality to the world, NOT a symbol of racism!” the party said on Facebook.
How did BLM Utah respond?
Despite the backlash, the group’s leader, Lex Scott, refused to back down from criticism of the American flag, continuing to associate it with racism.
“We see the Ku Klux Klan carrying the flag. We see the Proud Boys carrying the flag. … We see the insurrectionists carrying the flag,” Scott said. “We see all of these people carrying the flag during their hate protests, and the world never erupts in anger. They never show outrage when these groups do this.”
“When you use the flag as a hate symbol, we are going to tell you it’s a hate symbol,” Scott added. “I don’t know how someone can watch the Ku Klux Klan fly a flag and then fly the same flag and not believe the same things unless we see outrage. And we don’t see outrage.”