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NYT author mistakes Norwegian flag for ‘racist symbol’

New York Times bestselling author and self-described "veteran journalist" in Seattle became very concerned because she saw a "Confederate flag" flying in front of a nearby house.

Published: February 24, 2018, 10:02 am

    Crime writer Rebecca Morris immediately sent a news tip to the Seattle Times reported.

    “Hi. Suddenly there is a Confederate flag flying in front of a house in my Greenwood neighborhood. It is at the north-east corner of 92nd and Palatine, just a block west of 92nd and Greenwood Ave N. I would love to know what this ‘means’ … but of course don’t want to knock on their door. Maybe others in the area are flying the flag? Maybe it’s a story? Thank you.”

    Sadly for Morris, it was not a Confederate flag. Darold Norman Stangeland, the owner of the home in question, said “That’s a Norwegian flag. It’s been up there since the start of the Olympics.” He added: “I’m a proud Norwegian-American. My parents emigrated here in the mid-1950s.”

    So, no “slave owner” or “white supremacist” flying the flag after all in left-leaning Seattle, but a proud Norwegian.

    When Morris discovered that she had mistaken the flags, she blamed the current political climate for her paranoia.

    “Maybe that’s the story,” she told the Seattle Times. “We’re so stressed by all things political that we see things that aren’t there.”

    The real Confederate flag served as the official national flag of the Confederate States of America during its existence from 1861 to 1865.

    Until recently, many Americans saw the Confederate flag in neutral or positive terms. But today, the flag has become a flashpoint in America’s culture wars. For many it still represents Southern heritage and honors the Confederate dead of the American Civil War. But critics of the flag say it’s a symbol of “slavery and white supremacy”.

    According to the ADL it is a “general hate symbol” but in a national survey in 2015 across all races, 57 percent of Americans had the opinion that the Confederate flag represented Southern pride rather than racism.

    A similar poll in 2000 had a nearly identical result of 59 percent. However, poll results from only the South yielded a completely different result, as 75 percent of Southern whites described the flag as a symbol of pride, while, conversely, 75 percent of Southern blacks said the flag symbolized racism.

    This kind of mistake is not exactly unprecedented in the US. In 2016, someone sent the Indiana University campus into chaos by tweeting, “IU students, be careful, there’s someone walking around in KKK gear with a whip.”

    The person in “KKK gear,” however, turned out to be a Dominican monk wearing a robe.

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