In our political climate, a Norwegian flag, with its blue-and-white cross, was mistaken for a Confederate flag. Questions ensued in the Greenwood neighborhood.
A story about the times we live in, and assumptions we can make in our current political climate.
The news tip a few days ago said:
“Hi. Suddenly there is a Confederate flag flying in front of a house in my Greenwood neighborhood. It is at the north-east corner of 92nd and Palatine, just a block west of 92nd and Greenwood Ave N. I would love to know what this ‘means’ … but of course don’t want to knock on their door. Maybe others in the area are flying the flag? Maybe it’s a story? Thank you.”
It was from Rebecca Morris, who is an author of The New York Times best-seller true-crime books.
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So, of course, we drove to that corner.
There was no wind, and on a flagpole there was what obviously was the U.S. flag at the top, and below, a red flag with blue stripes.
Simply hanging down, not spread out, you could make some assumptions that it was the star-filled “Southern cross” of the Confederacy.
Darold Norman Stangeland lives at the corner house.
“That’s a Norwegian flag,” he says. “It’s been up there since the start of the Olympics.”
The Norwegian flag has a red background, with an off-center white-and-blue cross.
Norway, so far, has won 13 gold, 11 silver and nine bronze medals at the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, totally dominating the event.
“I’m a proud Norwegian-American. My parents emigrated here in the mid-1950s. He skippered tugboats,” Stangeland says.
If you do some Googling, you find other incidents in which the same mistake happened.
From The Lewisboro Ledger in New York, Oct. 18, 2012: “Confederate or Norwegian? Flag misunderstood in reservation.”
The woman who had the small Norwegian flag on her property on Ward Pound Ridge Reservation was reported to the reservation’s office and was quoted, “It was embarrassing. Everyone in the county was asking me if I’m flying a rebel flag.”
When told she had mistaken the flag, Morris says, “Are you kidding me?”
She says she had even looked up the Confederate flag online and it sure looked to her like the flag on that corner.
But on a second look, “Well, it does look like the Norwegian flag!”
She says, “Maybe that’s the story … we’re so stressed by all things political that we see things that aren’t there.”
Better hope the Russian bots don’t decide to repost their slightly altered version.
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