Though support for the Black Lives Matter movement has plummeted over the last 12 months, many United States embassies and consulates will fly BLM flags again this year to mark Juneteenth. The display of BLM and Progress Pride flags, including at the U.S. Embassy in Vatican City, is just part of the State Department’s woke equity agenda, spearheaded by Ambassador Gina Abercrombie–Winstanley, the department’s first chief diversity and inclusion officer.
Winstanley participated in an Equity Town Hall this past week in order to discuss the State Department’s Equity Action Plan, which reads like something cooked up in the Evergreen State College faculty lounge. The 19-page document promises to “embed equity into U.S. foreign policies,” to “embed intersectional equity principles into diversifying public diplomacy,” and to “increase inclusive, equitable messaging to combat disinformation.”
A year ago, when I condemned the State Department in the Wall Street Journal for flying the BLM flag, BLM’s public support stood at around 50 percent, depending on the poll. Now that support has plummeted to 31 percent, according to a recent poll. A leaked cable in May 2021 revealed that State authorized posts to fly the BLM flag for the remainder of the year. A source told me that a February 2022 cable encouraged posts to fly BLM flags for Black History month and other occasions. The cable indicated that State Department lawyers believe that flying the flag isn’t a violation of the Hatch Act, which prevents federal employees from engaging in political activities at work. I asked a State Department spokesperson to confirm if posts were still authorized to fly BLM flags.
“Part of our work in promoting democratic principles is advancing equity, justice, and equal opportunity, both at home and abroad,” the spokesperson responded. “One way we are doing this is by providing visible representations of our policy, such as Black Lives Matter (BLM) flags and banners, to show our dedication to democratic principles, justice, and racial equity . . . hanging BLM banners on U.S. embassies and consulate buildings and raising BLM flags on U.S. mission flagpoles calls attention to our efforts to advance racial equity and access to justice worldwide.”
Ambassador Winstanley has made divisive and preposterous claims about racism and equity that shed light on the State Department’s woke culture of Equity Action Plans and BLM flags. A March 23 email invitation sent to department employees advertising a forum on “creating a more diverse and inclusive Foreign Service” bluntly led with, “For too much of its history, the Foreign Service has largely been white and male.”
In the session, posted to YouTube, Winstanley emphasized that the State Department had too many unqualified white males in positions of leadership. “We have to call spades spades, primarily European-American men, that is who has the vast majority of senior positions. That does not come about through merit, not all of them. So we are improving merit by putting that focus on diversity and inclusion.”
In an interview on the Global Take podcast, Winstanley portrayed the United States as a systemically racist country. She relayed a story about a black colleague, who, while on assignment in Russia, had “met with kings and queens,” but then came home and supposedly couldn’t get a “good hotel room” in New York City because she’s black. “That’s reality,” Winstanley concluded of the incident. Actually, that’s hard to believe.
Winstanley went on to complain that the Golden Globes didn’t have African-American voters, warned about white supremacy in the U.S. military, referenced a claim that food magazines paid white influencers more than black ones, and said the U.S. was far more racist than the countries in which she has served.
“When I’m overseas, people don’t necessarily know where I’m from, so all the weight that comes with being African American in this country is immediately lifted . . . it is a lightening of the spirit because I’m not dealing with the racism that is endemic in our country.”
Winstanley’s dark vision of the U.S. dovetails with BLM’s divisive rhetoric. The Foreign Affairs Manual governs every aspect of how flags should be displayed at embassies. Technically, the only flags authorized to fly other than the U.S. flag and that of the host country are the Foreign Service flag and the POW/MIA flag.
Flags are supposed to be symbols of unity, but Americans are divided on the question of BLM and Pride flags, and they should not be flying outside our overseas missions. This month, some State Department posts have dozens of Pride flags plastered around their exteriors and have used taxpayer funds to illuminate them at night. Those flags are not unifying, but they are symbolic: they represent the woke forces at the State Department trying to turn our diplomatic corps into an arm of the Democratic Party.
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