Why I’m Okay With The American Flag Burning

Kevin Skahan
Kevin Skahan

I’m going to receive major backlash for this, and may even lose friends over it, but I have to admit it: I’m okay with people burning the American flag. I see where the hurt and frustration stems from. I understand the pain and I’m okay with people burning the flag.

People have repeatedly told me after the #FergusonDecision, that burning the American flag is wrong. Burning the flag is disrespectful and harshly offensive. You’re offended that (Black) people are burning the American flag? Well, I’m offended that A PIECE OF CLOTH is more important to you than a young black man’s life. I’m offended that it takes the burning of the American flag for people to take notice and focus on the WRONG situation. I’m offended that riots and looting have to take place in order for racially charged issues to gain any ground in our country.

For all of my history lovers out there, let’s take a step back into the past when our fearless leader, George Washington, helped us to gain freedom for our country. My, was it a glorious few years. Sticking it to “The Man” (“The Man” in this instance would be Great Britain, fyi). Going through various battles that showcased we were NOT the country to be messing with, not today boo. When that Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, I’m sure that every bar and pub in the country were replaying the events on the 60” Samsung LCD TVs.

Sweet ol’ Betsy Ross made our spectacular American flag with all of the 13 colonies on it to symbolize that we were finally coming together as a country. A wonderful man known as Francis Scott Key developed our phenomenal “ The Star-Spangled Banner” and our lives were changed for eternity.

Oh. Wait. Did I say “our lives”? I meant the lives of the dominant race. The White race.

“But Blessing, people fought and DIED for that flag! People DIED for your freedom! People DIED for you to even be able to voice your opinion! People are at war right now to keep YOU safe!”

Hmm. I think in our constitution, they should have included in the fine print: “Equality for everyone: Except Black people and other ethnic minorities”.

I’m clearly aware that African Americans fought in the Revolutionary War. But was the Revolutionary War REALLY being fought for ALL minorities? Let’s stop and check ourselves. George Washington did not necessarily want my ancestors to be fighting in our country’s independence war. When Washington took command of the Continental Army in 1775, he striped any more African Americans from joining the cause. Even though we fought side by side with Whites, he did not want any more Blacks to be apart of the battle. Should we mindlessly forget all of the segregation and racism that followed all those years after the Declaration of Independence was signed?

African Americans still did not gain any freedom after the Revolutionary War. And if anyone thinks that Abraham Lincoln was the one who gave African Americans their freedom through the Emancipation Proclamation, do a little research.

The people who fought for my freedom and my voice to be heard, today in 2014, are the ones who did marches from town to town. The ones who boycotted the busses until segregation was done. The man who gave a speech that, ultimately, changed our lives forever. The parents who emigrated from Nigeria in order for me to have a life here. They are the ones who have fought for me.

The Black community fought for this flag as much as anyone else did. We still continue to fight for this flag. I know for a fact there are African Americans and other minorities who are ABSOLUTELY PISSED that people are burning the flag. But how can I blame them? How can I sit here and be upset? The flag that is “supposed” to keep EVERYONE safe is the same flag that Blacks are dying under every single day in this country. This is the same flag that Darren Wilson doesn’t even get an indictment and Michael Brown is 6 feet under the cold ground. It’s the same flag that children are going to bed hungry every night and women are being raped under this flag but no one wants to believe them.

People could have expressed their pain and hurt in numerous other ways. Peaceful protests have been happening all over the country – heck, all over the WORLD. The few who are looting and rioting, I pray for peace in their heart. They are taking advantage of the situation and it’s awful. They, unfortunately, are reinforcing the stereotypes of Blacks that most people already feel (trust me, I’ve seen the comments on social media). But I cannot sit here with a clear mind and say that I cannot understand why people are burning the American flag. Because I do. It may not be the most constructive way of expressing their frustration but I understand. I understand. I hear you loud and clear.

Until you have experienced any sort of racism and/or oppression, do not reinforce your White privilege thoughts onto the Black community. We are not ignorant even though your Facebook status says otherwise. Blacks do not feel safe in this country. We don’t feel as though our lives even matter. How can we fight for a country or system that continues to let us down and further more, oppress us? Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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