A picture has gone viral and a conversation has become heated over an employee of the Speedway on Sprinkle Rd in Kalamazoo allegedly flying the confederate flag while he works.

This comes just 2 weeks after a Kalamazoo business owner was exposed on FaceBook for allegedly posting pictures supporting Neo-Nazism a new, similar controversy has reared it's head here in West Michigan.  Tuesday Autumn posted this message on Facebook with the picture you see above,

This is the truck of an employee at the Speedway on Sprinkle Road in Kalamazoo. My husband spoke to the manager last week and told him that this is not a "good look" for the gas station to be broadcasting....especially with the current events. The manager assured him that he would have the employee take it down. Doesn't look like that happened. I personally think that it sends a message to minorities to not go there for gas or other things...it shouldn't be permitted on the premises unless speedway themselves agree with what this flag stands for! Message on the flag reads "heritage not hate"...so which part of the Confederate heritage are u most proud of....the treason or slavery! What do my Facebook people think should be done?


Autumn told us after her original post was shared by the ProKzoo facebook page she began receiving many violent threats in the comments and her inbox.  (The threatening messages are not coming from Josh Whitney the owner of the flag.)  Autumn goes on to tell us,

I am all for freedom of speech, however civilians who do not agree with this flag should not have to stare at this and feel any sort of intimidation while they are spending money at an organization. My husband and I frequent speedway...

As far as the threats, authorities have been contacted and measures have been taken for the family's safety.

We also reached out to Josh Whitney and he gave us this comment via facebook messenger,

I am not now nor have I evee been racist or white suppemist. In fact I have cousins and a neice who is Black and I love them very much Ii have Black frienss who mean the world to me


It (confederate flag) represents my heritage and history of my family that is why the flag says "heritage not hate" the orgins of the flag are not rasict. i will not be racially intimidated or bullied or threatened by anyone becaise they misunderstand the meaning of that flag... They already stole my american flag off my truck but they did not steel my southern pride.... The facebook feed illustrates where the true racisim hatered and threats are comming from and its not from me or my flag. Its from the people who claim I am racist.

To be fair, most of the hateful comments seem to be from the people supporting the confederate flag in the comments.  If you don't mind the drama and the bad language click here to through the comments.

A couple important notes about that occur to me while writing this story.

  1. It is a fact that Mr. Whitney has the right to fly the confederate flag from his truck.
  2. It is reasonable to assume especially in today's climate that many people of many races and backgrounds would feel uncomfortable doing business with the confederate flag displayed by an employee.

What boggles my mind is that we as a the human race can't find a way to deal with this situation without threatening someone's life and making their families feel unsafe.  If you are threatening the safety of either person's family in this situation you are a coward.

I do NOT care how corny this sounds.  My Kalamazoo doesn't roll like this.  I grew up in this area with black friends, Mexican friends, Asian friends...etc.  West Michigan is not a home for hate.

What are your thoughts?  Let us know in the comments below.

We've reached out to Speedway's corporate office and are waiting to hear back.



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