The Betsy Ross Flag Is Not a Symbol of Racism! - Opinion Article

Sep 17th, 2016

According to The Washington Post, Dan Behm, Forest Hills School District superintendent, decided that the so called Betsy Ross flag is offensive to some and is a symbol of hate and exclusion. He claimed that the flag was flown during the years of slavery, and that white supremacist groups had adopted the flag. As a result, he banned the flag at Forest Hills High School from a high school football game.


The flag in question has a blue canton containing 13 white stars in a circle, and 13 alternating red and white stripes on the field. The stars and stripes represent the original 13 states. It was authorized by Congress in 1777 to be used as the official United States flag. It is unknown who actually created the flag, but legend reports that Francis Hopkinson, a New Jersey Congressman, designed the flag and, in May 1776, Betsy Ross was the first person to sew the flag.


Betsy Ross Flag


According to the The History of American Flags, “the colors used in the flag generally represent red for valor, white for hope and purity, and blue for loyalty and vigilance. Washington interpreted the symbolism of the flag as “We take the stars from Heaven, the red from our mother country, separating it by white stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity representing Liberty.”


Apparently the problem began when some students displayed a Donald Trump flag and a “Betsy Ross” flag. A few parents, and a Grand Rapids Black Lives Matter member, decided that the combination was reprehensible and a slap in the face to black and foreign students. The Donald Trump flag was not wanted because “some” think he is racist. The Betsy Ross flag was not wanted because it is used by patriot groups occasionally, some of whom believe in white supremacy.


Trump Flag


According to MLive, the Superintendent Behm went so far as to send a letter of apology to Forest Hills and Grand Rapids families. That letter states that “Injecting partisan politics into a community football game and into a commemoration of the events of September 11th is inappropriate. Parading our current United States flag in a manner that is inconsistent with proper etiquette is disrespectful to all who have served our nation.” While I may agree that politics probably have no place at high school football games, flying historical American flags is not improper etiquette! The U.S. flag code does not prohibit flying or displaying historical versions of the flag.


What is the world coming to when a flag or other symbol offends a few and gets banned because of their particular sensibilities? The American flag, in all of its forms, should be flown with pride, not reviled. Because the first American flag was created during a time of slavery does not make it a symbol of slavery.


But, then again, in this day and age, people can attach any meaning they want to something, complain about it, and others will jump in to try to have its display prohibited. If this nonsense keeps up, there will come a time when no flag or emblem can be shown anywhere in the U.S. because they “might” offend someone that has attached an entirely different meaning to it. Never mind that those are “the few”, rather than the majority; that does not seem to be how our democracy is working anymore.


Perhaps you should purchase your American flags now – before they are banned from display!


Note that this article contains the opinions of the author and may not reflect the opinions of Flagpoles Etc.


Flagpoles Etc.


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