Is the St. George’s flag racist?

The St. George's flag flying over Downing Street.

Today I read a rather controversial article that quoted a poll, which suggested that nearly a quarter of English people believed that flying their national flag and being nationalist were a form of racism.  However, the same article suggested that over 80% of people felt patriotic towards the British Union Jack.

The Union Jack has become increasingly popular over the last few years, and its design now features on any tourist souvenir stall, to home ware shops and even in high street fashion. This may be attributed to the Royal Wedding Effect, which saw a boost in patriotism last year, and this year’s forthcoming Diamond Jubilee. However, it seems that the St.George’s flag’s popularity has declined in recent years.

Although I am in no way suggesting that all people who choose to fly the English flag are racist, it can’t be denied that the flag has unfortunately become associated with far-right groups and hooliganism. I feel that the population at large have become embarrassed to fly the flag because of these reasons, and I point the finger of blame at the minority of extreme nationalists we have to put up with in our democracy.

Maybe our English flag needs some rebranding – it is after all the flag of St. George, the Roman soldier who in mythology slayed a dragon to save a young woman, who is also our patron saint. St. George, after all, wasn’t English, and his day April 23rd, is celebrated in many countries around the world.

I personally would like to see the St. George’s flag flying in celebration of St. George. To me, it symbolises a link we have with people from many nationalities, which should be celebrated in this day and age. However, it seems that many people believe that the Union Jack represents them in a better way, and that is a great thing for our society. To me, it says that the majority of people reject the views of the extremist minority that have sadly tainted the St. George’s flag, and that to me is a very patriotic message to send out.

What are your views? Do you prefer the St. George’s flag or the Union Jack? Comment below  or on Twitter. 

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Was Kelis right for calling Britain racist?

The singer tweeted her anger after the incident.

UPDATE: I have some corrections to make, I don’t want to spread any untruths!

  • Kelis has since tweeted to clarify the incident happened in Spain after a flight from Gatwick
  • A British passenger made the comments against the singer
  • Incident DID NOT occur in Heathrow as I previously wrote (I blame my sources and Twitter confusion!)
  • I hope this makes things clearer!

Kelis vented her anger via Twitter today after being racially abused at passport control whilst leaving Britain. The incident apparently occurred last month, but Kelis did not want to make it public as riots, triggered partly by racial tensions, flared in London.

The Acapella singer described the incident in a series of tweets. She claimed that she was waiting in line with her two year old son at passport control in Heathrow, when a white, middle-aged man accused her of queue jumping. Kelis went on to say he then called her ‘slave’ and declared she was ‘probably a disgusting Nigerian’.

To make matters worse, the official behind the passport desk, apparently laughed, shook his head in agreement with the singer’s abuser and said “kunta kinte”, which is the name of a fictional character in an American novel about slavery.

Whilst it’s absolutely clear that the incident Kelis suffered was disgustingly racist, the singer went on to claim that racism was still rife in Britain as a nation, labelling it as “disgusting”.

She wrote: “It’s [Britain] racially decades behind progression because everything is swept under the rug. People don’t talk about it. People don’t fight about it. Not mentioning a problem doesn’t make it go away.”

Kelis also conceded that racism was still at issue in her own country, the US, where black people could not vote until the sixties.

Personally, I agree with Kelis’s opinions in some respects – in Britain there is still in ignorant minority of people who are racist. However, as I wrote about in my recent blog post on the EDL protest and counter-protest, there are people, an overwhelming  majority, that are fighting back against racism.

It’s very sad that Kelis, and probably many other people, have had to suffer racism in this country, but I hope that they see and believe that these views are held by a minority of very ignorant people, and not my Britain as a whole.

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What do you think of Kelis’s comments? Please leave your comments below!