When The Meme Is Even More Bigoted Than You Think

Meme showing the Pride flag above the "stars and bars" with the text "If they have the right to fly theirs, we deserve the right to fly ours.

I want to talk to you about a meme. Particularly this offensive one to the right.

Partially, I want to talk about it because there’s so many things wrong about it, and by doing so, I’ll save you the time and energy of having to write something like this yourself.

But more importantly, I want to talk about it because it works to normalize bigoted beliefs, and you might not even notice.

So let’s begin.

  • The “Stars and Bars” is not about heritage at all. Read about that here or here, or hell, just look at the meme at the bottom of this post to get the point. It is not about “heritage”. The ‘”Stars and Bars” is the wrong damn flag. If you’re going to claim an interest in history and heritage, then maybe get the right fucking flag. Hell, look at the featured photo! Those re-enactors aren’t even using the “Stars and Bars”.
  • You might hear someone say “But the Stars and Bars means Southern Heritage to me”.

    Okay, look. Saying that makes you a crazy person. [1]

    If I started waving around a dildo and said that meant “Jesus” to me, well… I probably wouldn’t replace your preacher anytime soon.
  • It has always been your right to fly whatever flag you want on your property. Like it’s the right of a guy who lives two blocks from me to fly it… In his yard. But the moment he wants to fly it on my property, there’s a problem. It’s private property, and I get to decide that. Other examples of private property? NASCAR tracks and NFL stadiums.

    Perhaps some folks should learn what the amendment before the gun one says.

So the whole “logic” of these meme is utter and complete horseshit. But let’s cut to why it’s really worth responding to. This sets up a false equivalence, which does two shady things.

Especially important after the recent Supreme Court ruling, it claims that racism and white supremacy is that person’s identity in the same way that LGBTQIA+ are identities. It is nice that some people are unequivocally self-identifying as racists. It makes it a lot easier to avoid having a Nazi (or racist) at the table. But that also means they might try – like so many right-wing Christians do in the US – to falsely claim discrimination whenever they don’t get their way.

But more likely, they’re trying to minimize the identity of LGBTQI+ people by implying that identity is equivalent to a vague (and factually incorrect) sense of “southern heritage”. Look at the capitalization in the meme, for fuck’s sake.

These parts have biggest ramifications.

Because discrimination thrives when it is allowed to exist and when small injustices and racist acts are unremarkable.

Letting it go unchallenged just makes all the worse stuff seem less extreme.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ― Edmund Burke

Featured Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

[1] Not mentally ill; those are diseases. This is being stupid and ignoring reality on purpose.