Washington, DC – The inclusion of two massive Betsy Ross flags in the backdrop display at President Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday has sparked confusion over whether or not progressives still consider the flag to be a symbol of racism.
The American Revolution-era flag design dates back to the 1770s, and has a circle of 13 stars and stripes representing the original 13 colonies.
Dixie Flag and Banner Company lead sewing machine operator Lucy Rodriguez sewed all five of the 25-foot flags that were hung between the pillars of the U.S. Capitol building for Biden’s inauguration, KENS reported.
Two of those flags were Betsy Ross flags.
It was the second time Rodriguez has sewn flags for a Presidential inauguration, but the Fort Worth-based business has been responsible for creating custom flags for the inaugural events since 2001.
Like Biden’s, all of the other inaugurations Dixie Flag and Banner Company have created flags for included one 50-star U.S. flag, two flags representing the incoming President’s state, and two Betsy Ross flags, KENS reported.
But controversy regarding the nation’s original flag began swirling in 2019, especially after ex-NFL quarterback-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick declared that the Betsy Ross flag featured on the heels of Nike’s Air Max 1 USA shoe was racist.
The Air Max 1 USA, which was created in honor of Independence Day, was supposed to be released to the public during the Fourth of July holiday week, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time.
Nike posted images of the sneakers online ahead of their scheduled release, and had already shipped them to retailers, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Meanwhile, Kaepernick saw photos of the sneakers and contacted the company to complain about the Betsy Ross flag design.
The ex-quarterback alleged that it was offensive to use a symbol that stemmed back to an era of slavery in the United States, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Nike is yanking a U.S.A.-themed sneaker featuring an early American flag after Colin Kaepernick told the company it shouldn’t sell a shoe with a symbol that he & others consider offensive.@Nike-millions of Americans find your company and your communist spokesperson offensive! pic.twitter.com/GEPZBS0cYU
— The Conservative Read🇺🇸 (@theconread) July 1, 2019
The company abruptly asked merchants to return the shipments of $140 shoes, but provided no explanation as to why.
“Nike has chosen not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July as it featured the old version of the American flag,” a Nike spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal at the time.
After Kaepernick designated the Betsy Ross flag as an offensive symbol of oppression, many on the left joined him.
Georgetown University sociology professor Michael Eric Dyson went on MSNBC and compared the early American flag to a Nazi swastika or cross-burning carried out by the Ku Klux Klan, the Washington Examiner reported.
“Why don’t we wear a swastika for July 4th? Because I don’t know, it makes a difference,” Dyson said. “Those symbols are symbols of hate.”
He argued that the Betsy Ross flag is associated with Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and is therefore offensive because they both owned slaves, the Washington Examiner reported.
California Governor Gavin Newsom praised Nike for “doing the right thing” by pulling the 13-star flag shoes and encouraged the company to come set up shop in California.
“CA is open for business and welcomes those that represent the best of our American values,” Newsom tweeted at the time.
Twitter erupted with chatter about the Betsy Ross flag soon after Biden’s swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday.
Like turning water into wine, the Betsy Ross flag, a symbol of racist oppression just yesterday, is suddenly good again. pic.twitter.com/Qyju2BY1hq
— Smatt (@mdrache) January 20, 2021
“I’m old enough to remember when the Betsy Ross flag wasn’t racist, then was racist, and now not racist again,” one person wrote.
Others wondered why a Black Lives Matter flag wasn’t on display.
“It’s almost like all that ‘woke’ talk was just to cause division and discord just to get Joe Biden elected…” a Twitter user pondered.
In 2019, @Kaepernick7 told @Nike that the Betsy Ross (13 stars in a circle) flag was an offensive symbol. They pulled the shoes with them on. @JoeBiden took the oath with the backdrop of various American flags – including the Betsy Ross flag.
— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) January 20, 2021
“It really is hard to keep up!” one person wrote. “I wish they would send out a memo each morning so we know what we are supposed to be offended by!”
“Somewhere Colin Kaepernick furiously kneels,” another post read.