Just in time for Independence Day 2019, sports apparel giant Nike released the Air Max 1 USA shoe, featuring a miniature “Betsy Ross” flag on each heel. This, of course, is the flag with the earliest American colonies represented by thirteen white stars in a circle which, legend has it, Mrs. Ross presented to George Washington himself. But when Nike pitchman Colin Kaepernick, former NFL national anthem protester, got wind of the plan, he complained to Nike that the flag recalls a time when blacks were enslaved. Also, according to a person who reportedly was privy to the conversation, Kaepernick informed Nike that the flag has recently been appropriated by American white supremacists.
Instead of telling Kaepernick, “So what?” and going forward with the patriotic product, Nike sparked controversy by recalling the shoe from retailers and issuing a statement in which it claimed the decision was “based on concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation’s patriotic holiday” – a pathetic excuse. If anything detracted from the Independence Day holiday, it was the controversy that erupted over Nike’s choice to offend the patriotic majority of Americans by sending the message that the Betsy Ross flag is a shameful symbol of racial oppression.
On MSNBC, race-huckstering Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson chimed in on Nike’s decision, of which he predictably approved. He claimed that the Betsy Ross flag
hails from the revolutionary period of this nation’s founding which was deeply embroiled in, you know, in enslavement... But also, it’s the recent use of this flag that has been the most opprobrious. Right-wing white supremacists have used it as a rallying cry for their own cause... Right now this flag has been used by people who want to pummel African-Americans, Latinos, Jews and other people, neo-Nazis that want to claim that they have the true copyright on American identity. So why not choose a flag that is representative of everybody? The diversity of identities, ideologies, people of color and mainstream people who exist in this country? That’s the kind of blowback against the use of this particular flag.
The notion that white supremacist groups have appropriated the Betsy Ross flag is ludicrous. They aren’t in a position to appropriate anything unless the American people allow it. There is no more marginalized, politically impotent extremist element in America today than actual white supremacists, who have been hyped by the leftist media complex as a rising Hitlerian tide empowered by President Trump’s purported bigotry. (Meanwhile the media downplays or even covers for actual threats such as the violent Antifa network, human traffickers at our collapsing southern border, and Islamic terrorists). Mark Pitcavage, a senior research fellow for the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, said that the ADL does not even include the flag in its database of hate symbols. “It’s not a thing in the white supremacist movement,” Pitcavage asserted. Lisa Moulder, director of the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia, said she has never heard of the flag being used as a hate symbol. Even if random bigots have tried to adopt the Betsy Ross flag, we only empower and legitimize them when we declare that we don’t have the cultural power to stop them from making the flag their own.