You find yourself on a highway cruising along, the wind at your back, the summer road endless ahead of you. You’re taking in the great American landscape when suddenly, boom, you’re face to face with the Confederate battle flag pasted on the back of the tractor trailer ahead of you.
The sequence of thoughts runs through your head a little like this: “I’m scared this racist truck driver will kill me, let’s get off at the next exit” to “Oh, I’m gonna cry right now and then I won’t be able to see the road” to angry expletives.
Or maybe, like the man in this YouTube video, you get out of your car, run up to the truck, and remove the flag.
There’s a growing call to action on social media compelling anyone who finds the flag offensive to take it down wherever they encounter it. It’s called #NoFlaggingChallenge and it’s taking off, fast.
Here are a couple other no flaggers in action:
The call to action comes after Bree Newsome got arrested for taking down the rebel flag from South Carolina’s Statehouse grounds late last month before the legislature gave its official approval.
But the #NoFlaggers are walking a fine line. The Confederate flag may be a symbol of hate for many Americans, but in the United States, flag flyers are protected by the First Amendment—you can fly your hate flag in every nook and cranny of your house, car, business, shoes, earrings, and body parts if you so choose.
Not only is removing the Confederate flag from personal property illegal, but it might prove to be a dangerous endeavor.
But does that mean it shouldn’t be done? Every movement is a push and pull between those who take radical action—like removing a flag from someone’s private property—and those who want to work within the system to bring about change.
The action is also useful in provoking questions about the legality of the flag: should it be outlawed? In Germany, the swastika and Nazi flags are prohibited.
Dangerous as they are, perhaps these acts of civil disobedience will spark a more serious debate about the the Confederate flag as a signal of intimidation and hate that must be done away with.
Collier Meyerson is a reporter at Fusion with a focus on race and politics. She lives in Brooklyn.