Olympian Gwen Berry Stands Her Ground in the Face of Attacks for Turning Her Back on the Flag

| revcom.us


From a reader:

Since I submitted a letter to revcom about Gwen Berry turning her back on the American flag when the national anthem was being played at the U.S. Track and Field Olympics Trials on June 26, there have been further developments. Texas Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw went on Fox “News” to attack Gwen Berry for what she did and demanded that she be “removed from the team.” Crenshaw said that someone who does not love America should not be representing the U.S. at the Olympics. And he threatened other athletes, saying, “We don’t need any more activist athletes... It’s one thing when the NBA does it. OK, we’ll just stop watching. But now the Olympic team? And it’s multiple cases of this. They should be removed.”

Gwen Berry responded to Crenshaw by retweeting someone else’s tweet that read “Dan can kiss my ass.” She later tweeted “F*** you @FoxNews.”

Berry was also attacked on Twitter by Republi-fascist Senator Ted Cruz, who posted a photo of Berry turning her back to the flag along with the words: “Why does the left hate America?”

Berry posted another tweet saying that negative comments about her show that: “1.) people in America rally patriotism over basic morality 2.) Even after the murder of George Floyd and so many others; the commercials, statements, and phony sentiments regarding black lives were just a hoax.”

On Thursday night, Berry went on Don Lemon’s CNN Show. Lemon asked her if it was the third verse of the national anthem with which she had her main problem. Berry responded. “It’s the first verse. It’s the third verse. It’s all of these words. Freedom, justice. It mentions slaves. These are things that do not hold true for all Americans. And that’s just it. It’s not true for all Americans.” She also told Lemon that she opposes the U.S. flag because it is a symbol similar to the anthem: “I will not stand for any type of symbol or sign that does not stand for all people in America.... I just won’t stand for it. I just won’t stand for it.” Berry went on to tell Lemon that she won’t change her position on the flag and the anthem “until America takes full accountability for the things that Blacks have to face here in America.”

Lemon also asked Berry if she plans to protest during the Tokyo Olympic Games. Berry replied, “It depends on how I’m feeling and depends on what I want to do in that moment and what I want to do for my people in that moment. And I will do whatever comes upon me and whatever is in my heart.” At the end of the interview, Berry said in response to those who have criticized her, “The whole history of America has hurt us. That’s why we’re in this situation... I’m extremely American because I fight for people here... People are still capitalizing off of our unpaid labor for more than 400 years... So how can they criticize me for standing up for my people?”

It must be said that Gwen Berry has in the past unfortunately made some backward comments on different matters.1 But I think her turning her back on the American flag and anthem was a righteous action, and it is important that she is standing her ground in the face of fascists who are attacking her.

1. Reactionaries in the media and Twitter are attacking her by highlighting Berry’s old tweets where she makes jokes about Asian and Latino people as well as rape. Those making the attacks include forces like Breitbart that are part of the white supremacist, male supremacist fascist forces in society. What they are really attacking Berry for is her act at the Olympics trials in turning her back on the American flag and anthem. [back]

Gwendolyn Berry, left, turns away as the national anthem is played after the finals of the women's hammer throw at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials. Photo: AP



Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:

Volunteers Needed... for revcom.us and Revolution

Send us your comments.