State Watch

Black Lives Matter in Utah draws backlash for post calling American flag ‘symbol of hatred’

A staffer adjusts a flag prior to a media availability regarding a House Democratic Conference meeting on June 15
Greg Nash

A post by Black Lives Matter Utah on the Fourth of July called the American flag a “symbol of hatred,” drawing strong reactions from conservatives on social media by several state Republicans.

“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 post read

“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,” it continued.

The founder of the Utah group, Lex Scott, told The Salt Lake Tribune that the post’s purpose was in part to make people feel uncomfortable, and she said that photos of the white nationalist hate group Patriot Front holding the American flag as they marched into Philadelphia on Saturday evening had upset her. 

“They’re flying American flags. 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,” she told the Tribune.

“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,” she added.

The post generated some criticism by some state Republican lawmakers.

“The American flag is a symbol of freedom and opportunity to the world,” Utah Republican Chairman Carson Jorgensen wrote in an email to the Tribune, adding that using a broad-brush condemnation of the flag was unfair.

State Sen. Todd Weiler said while he disagreed with Scott’s message, she had a right to say it. He contended that the flag was a “symbol of unity and perseverance.”

“The vast majority of Utahns, regardless of their race or politics, continue to look to the U.S. flag as a symbol of unity and perseverance for our nation’s past — and hope for our nation’s future,” Weiler said.

Tags American flag extremist group Utah
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