Rolling Stone reports that Kid Rock accepted the Detroit NAACP's Great Expectations Award on Sunday, despite protests from members who object to his use of Confederate-flag imagery onstage.
A group of about 50 people picketed outside the Cobo Center, where the awards dinner was held. Among them was Adolph Mongo, the head of the organization Detroiters for Progress, and a boycotting NAACP member. He told the Detroit News that Rock's use of the flag is "a slap in the face of anyone who fought for civil rights in this country."
Rock's point of view is that the flag is part of a Southern rock tradition inspired by Lynyrd Skynyrd and has nothing to do with how he feels about black people. In fact, as he accepted the award in honor of his ongoing support for the city of Detroit, he proclaimed, "I love America, I love Detroit and I love black people."
Putting aside the awkwardness that tends to accompany announcements of affection for an entire race of people, we think the controversy surrounding the award is really just about consistency (or, rather, an embarrassing inconsistency on the part of the NAACP).
Other branches have fought against the public display of the flag on statehouse grounds, arguing passionately that it is a symbol of racism and oppression. We understand that Detroit needs all the help it can get and that Rock's philanthropic efforts in the city have been impressive. But the organization should send a unified message.
Is the flag's painful history nonnegotiable, or is it evaluated on a case-by-case basis? Can someone who displays it buy his way out of condemnation with donations, good intentions and a proclamation of love for black people? Something about, "If you're rich and generous enough and you seem to be coming from a good place, then flying the Confederate flag is cool. If not, we're outraged" doesn't quite sit right with us.
Read more at Rolling Stone.
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