- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Accusations of racism by angry people confusing the Confederate flag for the Norwegian flag were too much to bear for owners of The Nordic Pineapple.

Kjersten and Greg Offenbecker pulled down their flag this month to stave off the heckles of ignorant locals in St. Johns, Michigan.

“I don’t see it because I grew up with the Norwegian Flag,” Mrs. Offenbecker told the Lansing State Journal. “To me, they are two distinct flags.”

Mr. Offenbecker added that the “stupidity” of some people tried his patience.

“Even if the flag is blowing in the wind or laying limp, there are no stars on it. They look nothing alike,” he said Monday.

Pleas for the bed and breakfast owners, who have two Black children, not to placate critics were addressed on Facebook.

“We love being members of the St Johns community and are heartbroken to have had to make this decision,” the couple wrote last week. “Given the current cultural climate and the idea that people are judging us based on the misconception of the national Norwegian flag vs. the Confederate flag, this is what is best for our family and our Inn.”

The couple noted that confrontations have taken place directly and online.

One person recently emailed and said they should be “ashamed.”

“We’ve gotten a lot of support since taking it down but we took it down because we weren’t getting support,” Mrs. Offenbecker said.

Like the Confederate battle emblem, Norway’s flag has a red field and a blue-on-white cross. But as Mr. Offenbecker noted, Norway’s flag has no stars. The cross’s legs also run horizontally and vertically, not diagonally as on the Confederate banner.

The furor and the fact that the Norwegian couple felt compelled to back off based on a falsehood spurred eyerolls on social media.

“This is a failure of the school system & culture. A) for not being able to recognize a flag, & B) for feeling entitled to complain about something you clearly don’t know enough about & have also failed to research prior to said complaining,” wrote Twitter user “Emeraldtyger.”

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