Queen's racist Order of St Michael badge resembles George Floyd's 'killing', say protesters seeking redesign
Amid increasing calls to dismantle public statues and insignia associated with racism, Queen Elizabeth II's royal badge has also come under criticism from anti-racism protesters who are calling to boycott the badge resembling the killing of George Floyd. Thousands of people have signed a petition online, asking the British royals to redesign a badge of the Order of St Michael.
The petitioners have called the imagery in the badge "racist" and "highly offensive." The Order of St Michael badge depicts archangel St Michael trampling Satan. St Michael, in the imagery, has been depicted as a White man standing on the neck of a person of color. Ever since the controversial imagery was brought to the fore, thousands have called for the Queen to boycott the badge, which they say resembles the killing of Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd, an unarmed Black man, died in police custody after a White officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck for over seven minutes while Floyd begged the officer to let him breathe.
The petition on Change.org reads: "Change the racist image on the KCMG medal. This is a highly offensive image, it is also reminiscent of the recent murder of George Floyd by the White policeman in the same manner presented here in this medal. We the undersigned are calling for this medal to completely redesigned in a more appropriate way and for an official apology to be given for the offense it has given!"
The insignia with the controversial imagery is also reportedly given in Britain as an award to honor individuals who "rendered important services in relation to Commonwealth or foreign nations," according to the description on Change.org. "People are appointed to the Order rather than awarded it. British Ambassadors to foreign nations are regularly appointed as KCMGs or CMGs."
The Order, founded by King George III in 1818, is used to recognize service abroad or in the Commonwealth. The Queen generally grants the honors at official ceremonies where recipients are given rank of Knight or Dame Grand Cross (GCMG) or the Knight or Dame Commander (KCMG or DCMG) and Companion (CMG). The Queen also wears the badge during official ceremonies.
Shortly after Floyd's death, anti-racism and Black Lives Matter protesters in the United States and countries abroad have taken to streets asking for authorities to remove public statues and names of Confederate soldiers, slave owners, public figures linked to racism and slavery. Former First Lady Michelle Obama, earlier this week, congratulated Princeton University, her alma mater, after it took down the name of former President Woodrow Wilson from its public school. Michelle's appreciation of the move came shortly after President Donald Trump denounced the decision, slamming Democrats of "incredible stupidity" for pushing for the change. Wilson, when he came to power, was lauded by southern segregationists and was a supporter of racial segregation.
Michelle took to Twitter to write that she was "heartened to see my alma mater make this change, and even prouder of the students who’ve been advocating for this kind of change on campus for years." The former first lady graduated from Princeton with a bachelor's degree in sociology in 1985. "Let’s keep finding ways to be more inclusive to all students—at Princeton and at every school across the country," she added in her tweet.