South Carolina made some late-to-the-party history Friday by finally removing the Confederate flag from the grounds of the state capitol, spurred on by the massacre of nine black parishioners by a racist, terrorist mass murderer. Unfortunately, there are some holdouts who continue to advocate for the Confederate flag, including some Congressional Republicans, and maybe even a Detroit rocker who is surprisingly not Ted Nugent.
Well, Nugent isdefending the Confederate flag, but nobody really cares about that. The Detroit chapter of Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network is, however, protesting a museum exhibit funded by native son Robert "Kid Rock" Ritchie over his past use of the Confederate flag as a prop in his shows. The group has threatened a boycott of the museum if, and only if, Kid Rock refuses to renounce the Confederate flag.
The Rev. Charles Williams II, president of the Michigan Chapter of the NAN and pastor at King Solomon Baptist Church in Detroit, issued a statement Monday calling for Rock to keep the flag out of his performances.
At the demonstration, Williams called Rock "the hometown hero who is a zero with the Confederate flag" and asked museum officials to take his name off the exhibit Rock funded if he doesn't renounce the Confederate flag.
..."How in the hell can Kid Rock represent Detroit and wave that flag just generating millions and millions in ticket sales — a flag that represents genocide to most of Detroit?" asked Sam Riddle, political director of the NAN.
Kid Rock has addressed concerns over his use of the flag in the past. At a 2011 NAACP dinner where he received an award, Rock copped to the old "Lynyrd Skynyrd" defense, and professed his love for black people:
"I never flew that flag with any hate in my heart at all, not one ounce."
"I love America, I love Detroit, and I love black people!"
That Lynyrd Skynyrd defense might have worked on 2013 LL Cool J, but a lot has changed since then. When confronted with the protesters' demands Thursday, Kid Rock issued a statement that encouraged the protesters to "Kiss my ass!"
That's what Megyn Kelly reported Thursday night, but given the sketchy way she and Dana Loesch reported on the protesters (who didn't seem angry, and who aren't boycotting anything yet), it's possible Rock was reacting to the protest as told to him in a Fox News email. In any case, Kelly and Loesch are quick to point out that Kid Rock has a black son, so he can't be racist, which will bring great relief to all the plantation owners in Hell:
"The suggestion, that Kid Rock is some sort of a racist, by the way, I'd like to introduce you to Bobby jr. Hid Rock's African-American son. I wonder if he knows his dad is a racist."
The thing is, I watched the video of that press conference, and no one suggested that Kid Rock is some sort of racist. The very fact that they're bothering to protest at all suggests that they think he'll listen, unlike, say, Ted Nugent. However, if I got an email from Fox News saying people were calling me racist, I might tell them to kiss my ass, too.
This is one of the lies that white America tells itself to keep from having to change, that any nod to racial sensitivity is an admission of racism. No one is suggesting that if you listen to Lynyrd Skynyrd, or loved The Dukes of Hazzard, or laughed at a Yosemite Sam cartoon, that you are a virulent racist. What it means is that after an incident like the massacre of the Charleston Nine, once you have been told the deep hurt that your symbol of Southern rock music causes, you have to decide which is more important to you: loving black people, or loving Lynyrd Skynyrd.
In fact, you can even still love Skynyrd, you just have to find a new way to express that love, maybe with a Ronnie Van Zant hat or a "Would you like to buy a vowel?" t-shirt. Here's hoping that once Kid Rock has time to carefully consider what is actually being asked of him, he'll reconsider his hasty reply to Fox News.