Oct 25, 2021

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An American woman took a stand on Sunday when she saw a Nazi flag waving in front of a home in her North Carolina neighborhood. Her confrontation of the home’s owner has gone viral on social media and international news outlets as fears of growing anti-Semitism and white nationalism continue to prey on Americans across the country.

Page Braswell, a resident of Mount Holly, North Carolina, was driving in her neighborhood when she spotted the recognizable Nazi flag, a black swastika against a red background, mounted outside a house, reported the Times of Israel. Photos had already been posted on social media by other witnesses. Unlike them, however, Braswell decided to approach the flag’s displayer directly.

She walked down the driveway, using her phone to film the encounter, and asked the homeowner, Joe Love, whom she found near the garage, “Hey. What’s up with the Nazi flag?” While her tone was non-hostile, the man’s reaction was immediately belligerent and filled with curse words.

“What’s that flag got to do with you?” he asked. “What’s it to you? Do you make payments on this f*****g house?”

When Braswell asked why he was flying the Nazi flag, pointing out that “this is America, not Nazi Germany”, the man told her to “get your a** back in your car.”

Woman confronts owner of Nazi flag

“What flag do you fly?” Love asked Braswell, who replied, “A rainbow flag, thank you.” She later said she did not actually fly one, but felt compelled to show tolerance in the face of white nationalist hate.

“What does that tell me about you?” Love continued. “That I’m not a Nazi,” Braswell answered.

Love said that he was not a Nazi either, but that “this is Nazi f*****g America.”

Braswell asked the pro-swastika non-Nazi if “Trump had something to do with all this”, presumably referring to the president’s controversial comments following the recent violent clash between neo-Nazi white nationalists and left-wing protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.

President Donald Trump equally distributed blame to both sides after the incident, which led to three deaths, drawing massive backlash from Americans and politicians who argued that the neo-Nazis were clearly on the wrong side in the fight.

Love did not answer Braswell’s question, but retorted, “If you don’t get the hell out of here, me and you’s gonna have trouble.”

As she left the property, he yelled at her, “Take your queer a** on, lesbian a** on, big, fat, f*****g a** on, and go on, b***h.”

After the video was posted on social media, where it was viewed millions of times and shared by thousands of users, the flag was removed. Love told media that he had hung it after three Confederate flags he’d displayed were stolen from in front of his house.

Different styles of swastika. The top right example is common in Hindu culture; the bottom right is the Nazi swastika, identical to the one flown by Joe Love. (MennasDosbin/Wikimedia Commons)

Defending his choice of the swastika, he said that the symbol “used to be a religious symbol in India until Hitler got ahold of it” and claimed he agreed with it “as it started out as a religious symbol.”

“But as far as backing Hitler and being a white supremacist and Hitler, I’m not into that,” he asserted to the Gaston Gazette.

The swastika symbol, widespread in Eastern cultures, indeed had a peaceful meaning before the rise of the Nazi regime. However, its manifestation in Eastern motifs and art was very distinct from how Adolf Hitler used it, turning it on an angle and setting it against a stark backdrop of white, black and red.

The flag that Love hung was very recognizably a double of those flown by the Third Reich and was clearly not intended to evoke the swastika’s pre-Nazi connotation of peace and love.

Brawell told media she had no regrets over starting the conversation, saying Americans have a responsibility to stop hateful displays.

“There’s no reason I can’t be brave for two minutes,” she said to the Charlotte Observer. “If people are [hanging that flag], we need to call it out. If we don’t, it’s just going to get worse.”