Recently, there has been an irrational uproar about the fact that Nike put the Betsy Ross flag on their shoes. As a result, they pulled the item from the market in an effort to not offend anyone. The logic behind this is that the Betsy Ross flag symbolizes America’s dark past of exploitation, genocide and slavery.
However, this is faulty logic because the flag does not really represent those things. In fact, the Betsy Ross flag symbolizes unity, equality and patriotism. It symbolizes thirteen states that are united into one country—not thirteen colonies. There is no mention of any race or ethnic group being better than others.
On July 4th, 1776, America became free from Britain. That day, the colonies became states after the Declaration of Independence was finished and put out. Each state started to create its own individual constitution and government. George Washington came to the conclusion that a flag was needed to symbolize the union of all of these states into one country. A woman from Philadelphia, Betsy Ross, was hired to create the flag.
On June 14th, 1777, Congress issued the flag that Betsy Ross created. It included 13 red and white stripes—each stripe representing a state. There was also a blue field that included 13 stars in a circle. Each star symbolized a state, and the circle of stars was supposed to be symbolic of a “new constellation.”
When Congress described the flag, they put extra emphasis on the word, “unity.” When Nike pulled their shoes with the Betsy Ross flag, they pulled away a shoe that symbolizes the wholesome, universal value of unity. They also pulled away a shoe that symbolizes equality.
The concept of America being a united country has nothing to do with slavery or exploitation. It was absolutely necessary for the states to unite and be equal to each other, whether or not they allowed slavery. Without unity, they would be taken over by the forces of other countries—like Britain. Without unity, America could not operate as a solid entity with integrity and dignity.
By pulling the shoe from their line, Nike actually disrespected African Americans because of the fact that many African Americans died and risked their lives while fighting for American freedom. There were many African Americans who believed in the cause of American freedom and fought for it.