Black Lives Matter in Utah calls Stars and Stripes ‘a symbol of hate’

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The Utah chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement sparked anger on social media during the Fourth of July weekend after it posted a message on Facebook calling the American flag a ‘symbol of hate.’

The head of the organization defended the post, which the group wrote in response to a white supremacist march that took place in Philadelphia on Saturday.

‘When we Black Americans see this flag we know the person flying it is not safe to be around,’ the statement 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.

The Utah chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement sparked anger on social media during the Fourth of July weekend after it posted a message on Facebook calling the American flag a ‘symbol of hate.’

The image above shows a Black Lives Matter demonstration on June 19 in Salt Lake City

The image above shows a Black Lives Matter demonstration on June 19 in Salt Lake City

Lex Scott, the founder of BLM Utah, told The Salt Lake Tribune that the post was intended to provoke a reaction. 'The point of the post was to make everyone uncomfortable,' Scott said. Scott is seen above at a rally in Salt Lake City in October 2017

Lex Scott, the founder of BLM Utah, told The Salt Lake Tribune that the post was intended to provoke a reaction. ‘The point of the post was to make everyone uncomfortable,’ Scott said. Scott is seen above at a rally in Salt Lake City in October 2017

‘When we see this flag, we question your intelligence. We know to avoid you.

‘It is a symbol of hatred.’

The post generated angry reaction on social media.

‘BLM is a phony organization that thrives in division,’ commented one Twitter user.

Another commenter wrote: ‘I love this flag and love this country!! I fly it proudly regardless of what you want to call me!!’

Another Twitter user accused BLM of ‘declaring war on the US.’

‘Fly your flag proudly!’ the commenter wrote. ‘If you don’t have one, please get one or even print one for your window.

‘And prepare for the worst because it is coming!’

Another Twitter user slammed Facebook for allowing BLM Utah to post the message. Social media platforms have been accused of censoring conservative and right-of-center voices.

Another Twitter user wrote: ‘Based on this tweet I think BLM Utah should transition to BLM Cuba and let’s see if they like this flag next July 4th.

‘Respecting the flag and our ancestors who gave their lives for it, both black and white, is nonnegotiable.’

Scott said she was outraged by images from Philadelphia, where some 200 members of a group called the Patriot Front, which has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, staged a march on Saturday

Scott said she was outraged by images from Philadelphia, where some 200 members of a group called the Patriot Front, which has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, staged a march on Saturday

Patriot Front members carried shields and smoke bombs and waved banners that read ¿Reclaim America¿ as they held a procession down Benjamin Franklin Parkway toward Penn¿s Landing

Patriot Front members carried shields and smoke bombs and waved banners that read ‘Reclaim America’ as they held a procession down Benjamin Franklin Parkway toward Penn’s Landing

According to the SPLC, which monitors extremist groups in the United States, the Patriot Front is a Texas-based organization that promotes an ¿explicitly fascist agenda¿

According to the SPLC, which monitors extremist groups in the United States, the Patriot Front is a Texas-based organization that promotes an ‘explicitly fascist agenda’

It was created in 2017 just after the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in which far-right demonstrators clashed with anti-racist protesters. One woman died after she was mowed down by a suspected white supremacist in his car

It was created in 2017 just after the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in which far-right demonstrators clashed with anti-racist protesters. One woman died after she was mowed down by a suspected white supremacist in his car

On Facebook, BLM Utah shut off comments to its original July 4th post and said it would donate $1 to the re-election campaign of House Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for every Facebook user it blocked.

‘Welcome racists,’ the account belonging to BLM Utah wrote in response to the backlash generated by its July 4th post.

‘We know you are big mad about the racist flag post. You will not be heard here.’

The message continued: ‘You will be blocked and your comments will be deleted.’

BLM Utah then thanked the commenters ‘for contributing to the re-election of AOC.’

In another Facebook message, BLM Utah referred to its critics as ‘Karen.’

‘Listen Karen,’ BLM Utah wrote.

‘Confronting you and this country about your racism isn’t hatred. Addressing racism isn’t racist.

‘We will not bow down to you. We will not beg you to stop being racist. We will proactively destroy the systems that continue to give you the power to marginalize people of color. Period.’

The group added: ‘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. Internalize it.

‘And realize that you are the problem.’

The July 4th post went viral, generating hundreds of likes and shares as well as dozens of comments.

Lex Scott, the founder of BLM Utah, told The Salt Lake Tribune that the post was intended to provoke a reaction.

The post generated angry reaction on social media. ¿BLM is a phony organization that thrives in division,¿ commented one Twitter user.

The post generated angry reaction on social media. ‘BLM is a phony organization that thrives in division,’ commented one Twitter user.

Another commenter wrote: ¿I love this flag and love this country!! I fly it proudly regardless of what you want to call me!!¿

Another commenter wrote: ‘I love this flag and love this country!! I fly it proudly regardless of what you want to call me!!’

Another Twitter user wrote: 'Based on this tweet I think BLM Utah should transition to BLM Cuba and let¿s see if they like this flag next July 4th. 'Respecting the flag and our ancestors who gave their lives for it, both black and white, is nonnegotiable.'

Another Twitter user wrote: ‘Based on this tweet I think BLM Utah should transition to BLM Cuba and let’s see if they like this flag next July 4th. ‘Respecting the flag and our ancestors who gave their lives for it, both black and white, is nonnegotiable.’

Another Twitter user accused BLM of ¿declaring war on the US.¿ They wrote: ¿Fly your flag proudly! If you don¿t have one, please get one or even print one for your window. And prepare for the worst because it is coming!¿

Another Twitter user accused BLM of ‘declaring war on the US.’ They wrote: ‘Fly your flag proudly! If you don’t have one, please get one or even print one for your window. And prepare for the worst because it is coming!’

‘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 said she was outraged by images from Philadelphia, where some 200 members of a group called the Patriot Front, which has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, staged a march on Saturday.

According to the SPLC, which monitors extremist groups in the United States, the Patriot Front is a Texas-based organization that promotes an ‘explicitly fascist agenda.’

It was created in 2017 just after the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in which far-right demonstrators clashed with anti-racist protesters. One woman died after she was mowed down by a suspected white supremacist in his car.

Patriot Front’s manifesto reads: ‘An African, for example, may have lived, worked, and even been classed as a citizen in America for centuries, yet he is not American.’

Patriot Front members carried shields and smoke bombs and waved banners that read ‘Reclaim America’ as they held a procession down Benjamin Franklin Parkway toward Penn’s Landing.

Footage captured by WCAU-TV shows several members of the group waving the Stars and Stripes.

A small group of counter-demonstrators clashed with Patriot Front members. There were no arrests or injuries reported, according to the police.

Scott said that the sight of Patriot Front members flying the US flag in Philadelphia left her triggered.

‘They’re flying American flags. The Ku Klux Klan is flying American flags. The Proud Boys are flying American flags,’ she said.

‘They climbed the Capitol for their failed insurrection and were beating police officers with American flags. 

Last month, New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay said the flags were being flown on trucks belonging to Trump supporters, with the vehicles also bearing expletives against President Joe Biden

Last month, New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay said the flags were being flown on trucks belonging to Trump supporters, with the vehicles also bearing expletives against President Joe Biden

Gay said the flag-bearing trucks were sending a message that, 'This is my country. This is not your country. I own this.' Pictured are Trump supporters sailing through the streets of Portland, Oregon in their pickup in August 2020

Gay said the flag-bearing trucks were sending a message that, ‘This is my country. This is not your country. I own this.’ Pictured are Trump supporters sailing through the streets of Portland, Oregon in their pickup in August 2020

‘I have not heard any outrage from Republicans or the right about the use of the American flag as a hate symbol,’ Scott said.

She added: ‘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.’

Scott’s comments echo those of Mara Gay, a member of The New York Times editorial board who sparked her own controversy last month when she said she was ‘disturbed’ to see the US flag flown on pickup trucks on Long Island.

Gay said that the flags were flown on trucks driven by supporters of former President Donald Trump. 

She said she was bothered by the fact that many of those same trucks had bumper stickers and other messages bearing expletives condemning President Joe Biden.

She said the displays were symptomatic of a broad coalition of Americans who feel threatened as citizens.

‘The reality is here that we have a large percentage of the American population — I don’t know how big it is, but we have tens of millions of Trump voters who continue to believe that their rights as citizens are under threat by simple virtue of having to share the democracy with others,’ she said.

‘I was on Long Island this weekend visiting a really dear friend, and I was really disturbed. I saw, you know, dozens and dozens of pickup trucks with explicatives (sic) against Joe Biden on the back of them, Trump flags, and in some cases just dozens of American flags, which is also just disturbing because essentially the message was clear. It was ‘This is my country. This is not your country. I own this”.’ 

Earlier this week, critics slammed The New York Times for an article that suggested the American flag has become a symbol of divisiveness.

The New York Times published an article on Saturday titled: ‘A Fourth of July Symbol of Unity That May No Longer Unite.’

In the article, Pulitzer Prize finalist Sarah Maslin Nir examined how the American flag, which was ‘once a unifying symbol,’ has become a divisive symbol in the United States along political party lines.

The New York Times published an article by Pulitzer Prize finalist Sarah Maslin Nir on Saturday that has since been slammed by some conservatives on Twitter. Nir examined how the American flag 'once a unifying symbol' has become a divisive symbol in the United States along political party lines.

The New York Times published an article by Pulitzer Prize finalist Sarah Maslin Nir on Saturday that has since been slammed by some conservatives on Twitter. Nir examined how the American flag ‘once a unifying symbol’ has become a divisive symbol in the United States along political party lines. 

People took to Twitter to react to the story in The New York Times on Sunday

People took to Twitter to react to the story in The New York Times on Sunday

The article cites people living on Long Island who have become hesitant about flying the Stars and Stripes outside of their homes or businesses.

‘What was once a unifying symbol – there is a star on it for each state, after all – is now alienating to some, its stripes now fault lines between people who kneel while ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ plays and those for whom not pledging allegiance is an affront,’ Nir wrote.

‘And it has made the celebration of the Fourth of July, of patriotic bunting and cakes with blueberries and strawberries arranged into Old Glory, into another cleft in a country that seems no longer quite so indivisible, under a flag threatening to fray.’ 

In the piece by Nir, she also cited a recent survey conducted by YouGov and NBCLX that found 66% of Republicans associated the flag with the Grand Old Party while only 34% of Democrats said they associated it with their party.  

Many who posted to Twitter in response to the story echoed the sentiments of the article, like @toddscan who wrote: ‘My parents never flew the flag until tRump was elected. I am proud of our flag, but to fly it for a man and not the country makes me ill.’

Even some conservatives agreed with the premise of the article. 

Jesse Kelly, a Republican, tweeted: ‘Back when I ran for Congress, I’d go knock on doors trying to get votes. Never walked by a house with an American flag. Why? Cause that meant there’s about a 90% chance a Republican lives there.’

‘Democrats hate America. The entire Party is centered around America hatred,’ he added.  



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