SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Addressing his reaction to comments made by Lex Scott, the founder and leader of the Black Lives Matter Utah Chapter, on her views on the American flag, Utah Governor Spencer J. Cox again condemned Scott’s statement she made on July 4 in a Facebook post.
“I think our flag stands against racism,” Cox stated in his monthly press conference on Thursday morning. “I said I refuse to let white supremacists take away what that flag stands for and I refuse to let Lex Scott take away what that flag stands for. What she said was despicable and it was wrong.”
In the post on the group’s Facebook page, Scott wrote the following:
“When we Black Americans see this flag we know the person flying it is not safe to be around. When we see this flag we know the person flying it is a racist. When we see this flag we know that the person flying it lives in a different America than we do. When we see this flag, we question your intelligence. We know to avoid you. It is a symbol of hatred.”
Scott’s comments sparked a flurry of controversy, with responses given from Cox, Utah GOP Chairman Carson Jorgensen, and the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Cox’s initial statement in the days immediately following highlighted his disappointment in the views by both Scott, as well as those on the other side of the spectrum, who see the flag in an unfavorable light.
“Our flag represents the greatest country in the history of the world. It stands for freedom and opportunity for all. It has stood the test of time as a beacon to the free and oppressed and too many lives have been lost to preserve that symbol and all it stands for. I refuse to let any white supremacy or Black Lives Matter group change that,” stated Governor Cox to ABC4.com.
Jorgensen found any controversy related to the flag sparked by small, yet loud, opposing political groups to be especially annoying.
“To focus in on these small fringe groups and try to throw out the flags because of these small fringe groups is absolutely asinine,” Jorgensen said last week.
“We can’t control what fringe groups pick up these flags and march with them. We can’t pick who displays them where, but we can stand with people and fight against these specific instances, but we have to point them out. We can’t make a blanket statement and say the American flag is bad because a bad person carried it,” continued Jorgensen.
The NAACP also condemned Scott’s views in a statement given by Jeanetta Williams, President of the NAACP Utah State Conference on July 10.
“The flag stands for all the people who have lived and served to bring about the best of the American Experience, that all people are created equal,” the NAACP states. “Real American Patriots have stood for equality and justice for all. While we recognize that the history of our nation is marked with both failures and successes in the treatment of minorities, we know the way forward starts with respect and togetherness for all Americans.”
Scott doubled down on her comments when speaking to ABC4 on July 9.
“I don’t take it back because some of us live in a different America…we really do. We don’t have the same experience as the people who are flying that [flag],” founder Lex Scott explains.
“Every time we have a protest we are surrounded by armed white men with guns and American flags who scream racial slurs at us. Every time we receive hate mail and death threats, they come from a profile picture with an American flag. Every time we receive any hatred it comes from someone flying an American flag. And I want people to ask themselves ‘How would you feel about the American flag if every person that hated you was flying that flag?’” Scott questioned.
According to Black Lives Matter Utah’s website, the chapter is an independent chapter of Black Lives Matter and is not a part of the global network of Black Lives Matter.
“She should have apologized and she didn’t and that’s her right,” Cox continued to add on Thursday. “I think she hurt her cause far more than she advanced her cause.”