Embed from Getty Images
It’s been a hot minute since we last heard from Macy Gray. Macy has a new band called Macy Gray and The California Jet Club. This past Juneteeth, Macy published an op-ed on Market Watch calling for an update to the U.S. flag. Macy believes that, like the Ole Dixie flag which was put to rest because it was dated and divisive, the current American flag has also outlived its sell by date. Macy pointed out that there should be 52 stars on the flag to represent D.C. and Puerto Rico’s push for statehood. She wants the stars to be several colors to reflect different skin tones. Below are a few highlights from Market Watch:
President Biden, Madame Harris and members of Congress: the American flag has been hijacked as code for a specific belief. God bless those believers, they can have it. Like the Confederate, it is tattered, dated, divisive, and incorrect. It no longer represents democracy and freedom. It no longer represents ALL of us. It’s not fair to be forced to honor it. It’s time for a new flag.
Incorrect? Let’s look to the stars. There are 50, where there should be 52. D.C. and Puerto Rico have been lobbying for statehood for decades. Both have been denied, since statehood would allow each territory’s elected officials seats in the house.
Assuming D.C. reps would be African-American and Puerto Rican reps would be Hispanic, the ultimate assumption is that these elected officials would be Democratic. That alone is racist.
On to the stripes. The Smithsonian documents that the “white” stripes represent purity and innocence. America is great. It is beautiful. Pure, it ain’t. It is broken and in pieces.
What if the stripes were OFF-white? What if there were 52 stars to include D.C. and Puerto Rico? What if the stars were the colors of ALL of us — your skin tone and mine — like the melanin scale? The blue square represents vigilance and perseverance; and the red stripes stand for valor. America is all of those things. So, what if those elements on the flag remained? What if the flag looked like this?
In 1959, 17-year-old Bob Heft designed the current flag for a school project when there were only 48 states. Hawaii and Alaska were up for statehood and Bob had a hunch they’d get the nod. He crafted a NEW flag with 50 stars for the then-future, because things had changed.
Sixty-two years later, in 2021, we have changed and it’s time for a reset, a transformation. One that represents all states and all of us.
I actually agree with Macy about updating the design of the U.S. Flag. I didn’t know that the flag we wave today was created by a 17 year old back in 1959. That is fairly recent. We have an opportunity to create a new US identity where we cut ties to our colonial, racist, and misogynistic past. I am not keen on Macy’s design because off-white stripes and skin-tone stars sound like a chaotic mess but I think that the flag could reflect the U.S. melting pot somehow.
I am starting to see the flag the way that I see the Confederate flag – that it only stands for the freedom of choices for white people, specifically white men. I know this is the agenda of the far right but symbols are important because they are what grounds our mythology. My hope is that D.C. and Puerto Rico will get their statehoods. I also believe that D.C. and Puerto Rico have not been given their statehood because they are minority dominant districts. I hope that we either change the design of the current flag or redefine what it actually stands for. America should be able to grow and evolve as a nation.