Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson compared wearing the Betsy Ross American flag to wearing a swastika, and equated Nike’s decision to put it on a shoe to celebrating the Ku Klux Klan burning crosses.
“Words matter, symbols matter too,” he said, asserting PC culture has not gone too far in the case of the Nike shoe. “Why don’t we wear a swastika for July 4th? I don’t know. It makes a difference. The cross burning on somebody’s lawn. Why don’t we just have a Nike celebration of the cross? Well because those symbols are symbols of hate.”
Nike pulled the shoe after former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick told the company it’s offensive, because it’s a symbol of the slave era. Dyson said it’s on everyone who disagrees with that assertion to “reclaim” the flag as a patriotic symbol.
“If you ain’t fought the battle, if you haven’t celebrated the process, you can’t acclaim the product,” he said. “So at this point I think people need to be honest and say it’s not a matter of PC. There are many people within communities of color who understand complexity, complication. You can’t have it the way you want it. But something so glaring and so apparent, that has to be dealt with.”