At first glance, the dark brown, well-kept century-old house on the corner of Indian Church Road and Parkview (a misnomer) Avenue in South Buffalo appears welcoming. But the ever-changing display of flags and signage in and around its front porch suggests something quite different if you happen tobelieve that all human beings have inherent dignity. It appears that our humble, primarily working-class, increasingly diverse neighborhood (just steps from Seneca Street and Cazenovia Park) has its own locally-grown white supremacists.
The in-your-face flag waving at 40 Indian Church Road has been a topic of discussion at this blog over the years. See Buffalo must address homegrown bigotry, Betsy Ross 13-Star Flag at South Buffalo residence confirms Colin Kaepernick’s concerns, and Too Many WNY “Teachable Moments.” This post will highlight, in no particular order, what I have learned as a result of my observations and curiosity the past 6 or 7 years.
First, in the aftermath of the tragic, racially-motivated mass killings at Buffalo’s Tops supermarket on May 14, 2022, foremost on some minds was a fear of losing their military weaponry:
Second, Confederate flags come in a variety of designs. At times, my neighborhood, Buffalo-born “rebels” show off two Confederate battlefield flags, and, when the mood overcomes them, three different symbols of the Confederacy: the familiar Confederate battle flag, the so-called Blood Stained Banner, and the Stars & Bars:
Third, the white nationalist movement has embraced a variety of historical symbols to express their longing for a day when slavery was legal and the federal powers insubstantial, such as the “Liberty” flag, the “Don’t Give Up The Ship” banner, the “Gadsden flag” warning “Don’t Tread On Me,” the Bonnie Blue flag, and, of course, the so-called “Betsy Ross flag”:
[Note: The small, hand-size flag to the left of the “Liberty” flag is the Imperial German flag, used by some German neo-Nazis as a substitute for the Nazi flag.]
Fourth, nothing says “Merry Christmas” like a Nativity-themed flag teamed up with the Confederate battle flag:
Fifth, likewise, there’s no reason not to envision the Easter bunny hop-hop-hopping down the white supremacy trail:
Sixth, if there comes a time when you fear that your “COME AND TAKE IT” banner – with its silhouette of a military-style assault weapon – and “Gadsden flag” – a historical American Revolution flag with a yellow field depicting a coiled rattlesnake and the words “DON’T TREAD ON ME – are, perhaps, too subtle, you can buy and display a sign with an image of cross-hairs proclaiming, “WARNING – IF YOU CAN READ THIS, YOU ARE IN RANGE”: (see bottom left corner of the photo below)
Seventh, it was foolish of me to think that the City of Buffalo Common Council’s South District Member, Christopher P. Scanlon, would acknowledge receipt of my May 18, 2022 email to him. Perhaps he was embarrassed by my request that he put into action his public statement – two days after the mass shooting on Buffalo’s Jefferson Avenue – that we must all be willing to have “uncomfortable conversations” about racist comments and behavior. It seemed to me that a discussion with the flag wavers at 40 Indian Church Road would be a good place to start. [See my Email to Chris Scanlon on 05-18-2022.]
With All Due Respect,