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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Throwing the Flag on a False Equivalence

Courtesy of NEWSiNi
We’ve heard the term “false equivalence” lately.  This phrase has been used by many who condemned President Trump’s characterization of the recent violence in Charlottesville, Va. as the fault of “all sides.”

We also pushed back at him when he compared the removal of statues that honor traitors and secessionists who fought against the U.S. Army in an effort to maintain slavery as a way of life in America to the hypothetical removal (in his mind) of statues paying tribute to heroes who fought for our country’s independence.  

False equivalence all around.

Now a new version of false equivalence has emerged in the context of the Charlottesville controversies, and it has to do with conflating the Confederate flag with the LGBTQ Pride rainbow flag.

On the August 22 show “Fox & Friends” conservative columnist Star Parker told host Steve Doocy that these two flags are essentially the same.   

“You know what’s really interesting and really incredible irony here is the same people that are demanding that the Confederate flag comes down are the same people that are insisting that the rainbow flag goes up. These two flags represent the exact same thing. That certain people, groups are not welcome here,” she said.

Except that the opposite is true.  While the Confederate flag for many symbolizes separation, white supremacy, hate and slavery, the rainbow flag is a symbol of inclusion and equality.

This conflation goes on.    

In Auburn, Ala. a group of anonymous students and parents recently signed a petition to demand the rainbow flag be removed from a high school classroom claiming the flag is insensitive to students who do not support LGBTQ rights and compares it to the Confederate flag.

“We strongly feel that it creates a hostile and provocative learning environment for students not comfortable to openly supporting the LGBTQ+ community in a public school where students come from diverse political and religious backgrounds,” the change.org petition states.

Here again is the false equivalence as the petitioners go on to say.
Courtesy of LGBT Nation

“The signers of this petition would like for you to consider the uproar and chaos that would ensue were a teacher to hang for example a Confederate, Christian, or Heterosexual Flag in their classroom. There would likely be protests, emails from teachers, and threatening of lawsuits from parents with differing viewpoints.”

Oh yes, the reprehensible heterosexual flag!

Though no action has yet to be taken on the petition, a counter petition  has been signed in support of the Pride flag and posted online.

“The pride flag and the [Auburn High School] Educate club has served to provide a healthy environment for our LGBT+ peers to feel comfortable being who they truly are,” the counter-petition states.

“The flag represents this safe space, and frankly, the sentiment for removing the pride flag is an affront to the work that has been done nationally to fight for recognition of the community.”

It seems that the comparison of the two flags is not resonating.  As of August 23, the original petition had 759 supporters, while the counter-petition had 6,461.

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