Dear Friends and Family,

If you are enraged by a black football player quietly kneeling during our national anthem, it is because you are a racist. I love you and you probably don’t realize this, but you are a racist. You may not want to admit that you are a racist but that is exactly what’s going on here; deep inside, the source of your anger is bigotry. Trump and Pence are providing cover for you with the nonsense that the protests are about the military or the flag but this is about race and you are a racist who is being manipulated by other racists.

You: Fuck you. I am not a racist.

Take a deep breath and listen for a second because you are capable of self-reflection and you still have critical thinking skills left even after your Fox News lobotomy. You know that black athletes are not taking a knee to protest the military, the anthem, or the flag. Trump and Pence know this too but they’re trying to save their own asses from landing in Gitmo. (We’ll put aside, for now, the fact that we have leaders who are investing some serious cash and effort into dividing the country along racial lines.) You are lying to yourself that your anger comes from your love of country and patriotism.

You: It’s disrespectful. People have died for that flag!

No, they haven’t. Nobody has ever died for that fucking flag. (Yes, I called Old Glory ‘that fucking flag’ – because I can.) Nobody dies for a flag except in schmaltzy country songs. American soldiers have fought and died for freedom, yes, but not for the flag. Remember freedom? Hannity babbles incessantly about it so you should be familiar with the term. Freedom is where the government can’t tell us what to think or how to worship or how to show our patriotism. Freedom is saying what we believe without fear of persecution from our own government. Freedom is not being forced to stand just because the President has his jackboot on the neck of your employer.

Freedom is the whole point of this country and the whole reason that countless men and women have died. They died so that those football players could take a knee. They certainly didn’t sacrifice themselves to see Vice-president Lego Head’s sad attempt to force people into fake flag worship.

Lee Greenwood: …and the flag still stands for freedom and they can’t take that awaaaaay!

See? Even Lee knows that the flag is a symbol and it’s the freedom part that they can’t take away. (Except that they are trying to take it away.)

You: Well, if they don’t like it here, they should find another country.

Hey asshole friend,  “they” are Americans, Americans who are silently asking not to be killed or treated differently because they are not white. They are Americans who are asking us, their fellow Americans, to look at them and hear what they are saying which is, “PLEASE STOP KILLING US BECAUSE WE ARE BLACK.” Even if you totally disagree that black people are targeted by police more often than whites or even if you are an old idiot like Mike Ditka who thinks oppression has been over for a hundred years, why does a person asking not to be killed and to be treated fairly make you this furious?

Answer: Because he’s black and you are a racist.

You: *bleargh* something something mainstream media liberal blah blah…

You are angry because a black man is making you uncomfortable during a football game, which is your time to drink beer. You are uncomfortable because, in your little racist head, you want him to shut up and entertain you and act grateful for the privilege of entertaining you. Here’s the thing: no one is doing anything to you. Those football players are not doing anything but kneeling down during a song. They aren’t hurting you, disrupting the game, or making a mess. They aren’t even making noise. You are mad because you don’t want to think about racial injustice. You’re mad because you think  racial injustice is their own damn fault. And do you know why you think this?

Answer: Because you are a racist.

If you are so privileged that you think we’re past oppression, it’s on you to figure out why the people on that field don’t agree with you. They are trying to tell you something – so listen. The athletes who are protesting are doing it because they are in a position where they can have an impact, where they have power – where they can make you pay attention. They are protesting and asking for justice on behalf of the powerless. In a stadium, on national television, is the perfect place to bring to light something that is as important as asking for the right to live. If you are enraged by someone asking not to die, the problem is you, not the protestors.

It doesn’t matter if you agree or if you’re completely ignorant about the history of race in this country, please just listen to what these athletes are saying. Try to understand why they are risking their careers. Try to admit that perhaps there are things you don’t know about the reality of being black in America. Stop exploiting veterans and wrapping yourself in the flag to cover up the uncomfortable truth of your own prejudice.

If you love this country as much as you say you do, you will calm down and hear them out instead of trying to silence people who are just asking for justice. And if you love this country, you will try your hardest to stop being such a goddamned racist.

Love,                                                                                                                                                  Amy

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