John Klar: Flying Black Lives Matter flags at Vermont schools

By John Klar

Many praised Montpelier High School when it became the first school in the nation to permit the Black Lives Matter flag to be displayed in February 2018 for the stated purpose of educating white people about issues of race. Recently, Randolph permitted a similar display, in which one student commented “even though raising the flag is not intended as a threat to white people, it can sometimes be interpreted as such.”

I examine here what I submit are serious problems with sporting the Black Lives Matter flag at our schools.

Wikimedia Commons/sarahmirk/CC BY-SA 4.0

Klar: “I have no objection to the stated goals of Black Lives Matter, insofar as they seek to prevent systemic violence against people based on their skin color (or other prejudices).”

What is the difference between the BLM flag and the Confederate flag, of which some would say “even though raising the flag is not intended as a threat to black people, it can sometimes be interpreted as such”? Clearly these flags are very different in history and meaning — but do they share this potential for conflicting messages, and as such are perhaps dangerous “teaching” tools?

I have no objection to the stated goals of Black Lives Matter, insofar as they seek to prevent systemic violence against people based on their skin color (or other prejudices). But BLM is not so clear about the means it embraces to achieve those goals.

In the 1960s civil rights movement, division existed between black leaders who sought to use peaceful protest to effect change (most notably, pastor Martin Luther King) and those, like the Black Panthers and Malcolm X, who advocated for violence to achieve equality for blacks.

BLM claims that the United States is guilty of a national systemic racism that kills black people. I’d like to think that is not true of Vermont. But BLM’s Burlington chapter website begins with this statement: “For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.” (Audre Lorde). This is directly reminiscent of Malcolm X’s famous speech on Jan. 23, 1963, in which he differentiated between “house negroes” who lived in the master’s house, and who cared that the master recover when ill, and “field negroes”:

But then you had another Negro out in the field. The house Negro was in the minority. The masses — the field Negroes were the masses. They were in the majority. When the master got sick, they prayed that he’d die. [Laughter] If his house caught fire, they’d pray for a wind to come along and fan the breeze.

I am not arguing that BLM is identical to Malcolm X and his ideology — I am arguing that it is fuzzy at best. This has been why some white people (and some smart non-white people) perceive the BLM flag as a threat. This group is dangerously unclear in its methodology and has a history of physically disrupting events, with no clear leadership or plan of action as pointed out in the New Yorker.

For instance, what exactly does BLM mean on its website (about BLM) that “We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege”? Or “We are committed to dismantling the patriarchal practice that requires mothers to work “double shifts” that require them to mother in private even as they participate in justice work.” Huh? Are the Montpelier and Randolph school principals shepherding the kids to “dismantle” these patriarchal, cisgender oppressions of the master’s house?

Small wonder BLM is oft compared to the Occupy Wall Street “movement,” an anarchic group of sign wavers with no shared leadership or message. It is clear why so few of Vermont’s high schools would pride themselves on flying a flag representing such vague and undefined ideas, some of which hint at violence (Antifa and BLM often protest and disrupt together). Right there, at its Greater Burlington home page, BLM begins with ideas about “dismantling” the “master’s” house, using his own tools to “beat” him. Interesting way to teach young people about racism. I was taught in school that a shared house was an option. Did these school administrations in Vermont inspect these sites?

A flag does not mean the same thing to all people (despite efforts to narrow its meaning solely to a racist one). Perhaps some white rednecks should be able to fly one — there is no leadership behind an organization, and no concrete ideological message. And if in fact it represented advocacy of one race conquering or defeating another, whites over blacks, it would form a strong counterpoint in Montpelier High School’s stimulating race conversation.

I support the freedom of citizens to display a swastika if they wish, as the United States Supreme Court clearly established in National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie, 432 U.S. 43 (1977). But I oppose the swastika being flown at a state-funded public school, even if it’s part of an effort to promote free speech, because it could appear that the institution is endorsing it.

Martin Luther King fought tirelessly for civil rights from a profound sense of Christian duty. He said one fights darkness not with more darkness but with light; that we fight hate with love. Malcolm X called Martin Luther King a 20th century Uncle Tom — the equivalent of a House Negro — criticizing King’s non-violent approach and calling for liberty and equality “by any means necessary.” BLM’s leaders similarly criticize the peaceful avenue, as recounted in the New Yorker piece above. King opposed what he considered Malcolm’s “dangerous radicalism,” saying of Malcolm: “Fiery, demagogic oratory in the Black ghettos, urging Negroes to arm themselves and prepare to engage in violence, as he has done, can reap nothing but grief.”

Perhaps today’s America no longer wishes to “discriminate” between the diametrically opposed methodologies of these two very intelligent, passionate men; but I assert that the two paths towards a goal of equality still remain — one is violent, the other peaceful. It is eminently unclear which path BLM represents, and it is therefore incumbent upon our school leadership to explain their position. Are the schools in Randolph and Montpelier stating that blacks are systematically oppressed by the state of Vermont? Are they standing against cisgender dominance, patriarchal privilege, or double shifts for mothers in justice work? All of the above? And, are they endorsing the belief system of Malcolm X or Martin Luther King? It’s kind of important.

Additionally troublesome, these schools essentially delegated this race conversation to black students, rather than lead it for all. I do not doubt the intention was good, but the stated goal was to educate white people about racism. Yet per Audre Lorde, “expecting a marginalized group to educate the oppressors is the continuation of racist, patriarchal thought.” By that measure, the schools that permitted the BLM flag assisted their black students to become Uncle Toms.

John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield, and pastor of the First Congregational Church of Westfield.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/sarahmirk/CC BY-SA 4.0

12 thoughts on “John Klar: Flying Black Lives Matter flags at Vermont schools

  1. read NEA-Trojan horse in American education by Samuel Blumenfeld

    explains the organized chaos & indoctrination going on. Most parents have no idea and would be shocked if they spent a bit of time in the schools.

  2. The black lives that matter most are those that get killed in disproportionate numbers by the murderous abortion providers. But you won’t hear anyone supporting BLM say a word about that.

  3. I travel the states quite often. I don’t see this anywhere, only in VT.

    In Townshend a Yoga business had this sign stuck in their lawn next to the highway. It wasn’t too long before it was gone. Perhaps because they were loosing business. Being PC isn’t profitable at times.

    Where the BLM movement started in MO after a police killing (in which the cop was very obviously in the right), there were busses of black protesters that almost immediately showed up and looted the neighborhood. The movement is backed by outside interests and money with ready made protest signs. This situation is duplicated in many “protests”, ready made support.

    In Fl a black guy with total hate for whites said “we’re going to kill all you white crackers”. The spew went on and on. In Fl cracker in the old days meant the ranchers rounding up their cattle using bull whips that cracked like a loud pistol to keep the cattle moving.
    There’s another definition that the black guy used and is mentioned in the article.

    Interesting how all this is playing out. These “educators” don’t know what they are doing or promoting.

  4. These “educators” have been “educated” by the efficient VT school system into the Socialist “feel good” mentality. PC at it’s worse. AND our tax dollars are confiscated to support this crap.

    I wonder just who are these “educators” appealing to? If they didn’t have the media exposure, I’m sure this crap wouldn’t be so visibly observed. Time to end a set-for-life job for “educators” and their supportive school boards.

  5. Schools are meant to be a neutral mission to prepare young people for the outside world. The taxpayers fund the schools and expect them to complete the educational mission to prepare young adults and children. The schools are not supposed to be training grounds for young activists but that’s what we have now. Whether it’s BLM, climate change or gun control you can count on the school masters to teach the young ones on the prevailing ideology of the education industry, all things liberal all the time. And then we are told that we must treat these teachers with the utmost respect and pay them handsome incomes and retirements unseen by the people who are forced to treat them like royalty. Society has been asleep and this has been a movement to take over our institutions to continue the progressive/liberal agenda. They have succeeded and you can see and experience it every day until the last straw breaks the camels back. Hope I’m around to see it. Thank you Mr. Klar for pointing out the obvious that no one else wants to say because of the thought police.

  6. Won’t see this article posted on Vermont Digger or 7 days….that’s for sure.

    If you follow the operations manual, the tactics, one being by any means necessary, you quickly discover it’s a carbon copy of other manuals. In the business world you have franchises, some very tightly held, where you can not stray, it can be very effective and brings similar results, where by you can get a McDonalds fry anywhere across the country and you pretty much get the same thing. Can be a wonderful tool for good.

    Franchises play books can also be bent toward other results. The BLM play book is the same play book for Rules for Radicals, the “bible” for any social justice rabble rouser. Same used in all “organizations” that are scattered and linked across our state. We have the Gamaliel foundation that is being used to infiltrate our churches. While I thought is an odd concept, the soviets, the leading social justice group, was big on using sexuality and confusing a population about this to create chaos. When I heard it my first reaction was, what a silly concept, as we can see it’s being used with extreme effectiveness. My young friends think they are on the cutting edge of sexuality, but really it’s as old as civilization, they’ve come up with nothing new.

    The biggest underling tenant of all the groups is to create envy. In the Bible it was so important in the 10 commandments, it was repeated several times. It’s an easy trap, for misery, feuding, and stirring up trouble.

    Being grateful for what one has is the key to happiness, self improvement and a better life. The latest is looking at the top 1%, mean while our minimum wage is 96.7% higher than all wages in the world, how could we not be grateful?

    Yet those at any of the “organizations” will never show gratitude, but only envy. Envy, no Peace,
    No Peace, no prosperity.

    Envy is the most effective and widely used tool of the PSSC (Progressive/SJW/Socialist/Communist)

    • In Proverbs 6 there are six no seven things God hates. The seventh one is those that cause division or discord among the brethen. This is exactly what BLM does is sow discord which God hates.

      I am a white, Christian male and make no apologies for being white.

    • I have apparently been black balled or banned from VT Digger. None of my comments pass their standards so you are correct. If Mr. Klar submitted this to digger they would use their tools of omission and censorship to hide it from the public. I urge all commenters on digger who have been shut down to keep a log of their comments. This is how we can prove that their mission is not the free exercise of thoughts.

  7. Many praised Montpelier High School when it became the first school in the nation to permit
    the Black Lives Matter flag, just let me say I wasn’t one of them !!

    I never heard anything so stupid, these kids and Administrators want to show these” Thugs” as
    a responsible group….. Idiots. These clowns riot and destroy public property …. Disgusting !!

    The flag pole is for the flag of the United States, to show our respect and gratitude, not to show
    respect for thugs !!

    Martin Luther King is rolling over in his grave watching the BLM movement !!

  8. The only flags that should be raised over ANY public school in Vermont are the Flag of the United States of America and the Vermont State Flag.

  9. A comment at our town meeting really struck to this forced POLITICAL symbolism. As politics have dis evolved into pure hate thats all black flags will only cause more hate. Same with tearing down monuments and rewriting history.

    Black LIES Matter was started from the riots of criminal blacks being
    shot when attacking Police and a armed Citizen. This fire was stoked by the most divisive President ever, the obomanation for his dividing the country policy. No stars and bars then no black lies matter. simply put gov and demonrat representation in schools stay out of it. You cause enough
    hate as it is now..

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