On Sunday morning, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson, showed that he is still out of touch.

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Carson trotted out the tired trope that “protesting is unpatriotic”. Anyone who has been watching any of the athletic protests over the years knows that is false.

It is a notion that has been debunked numerous times, however, it is still brought up as an irrelevant talking point.


Speaking to CNN’s State of the Union, Carson echoed President Trump’s declaration that protests disrespect the American flag, but offered what appeared to be a conciliatory move toward the middle:

“My personal feeling is if those players were to come out and say, ‘We love our nation, we are patriots, we love our flag, we honor the memory of those who died to give us our freedom.

“But we are protesting some of the brutality that has occurred, and that’s why we’re doing this,’ I think it would solve the problem,” Carson said. “And I suggest that they do that.”

Why Kneel?

In 1814, Francis Scott Key was a slaveholding lawyer from an old Maryland plantation family. Thanks to a system of human bondage he and his family had grown rich and powerful.

A poem he wrote would, in 1931, become the national anthem. However, its proclamations of the new nation as “the land of the free” was pure conjecture.

Key not only profited from slaves, he harbored racist conceptions of American citizenship and human potential. He once said that, Africans in America were: “a distinct and inferior race of people, which all experience proves to be the greatest evil that afflicts a community.”

A few weeks after British troops in the War of 1812 attacked Washington and set the Capitol building and the White House on fire, the British turned their attention to the Baltimore Harbor.

While Key was composing the line “O’er the land of the free,” it is likely that enslaved persons of color were trying to reach the British ships in Baltimore Harbor.

They knew that they were far more likely to find freedom and liberty in Britain rather than the States.

This is why we kneel, Dr. Ben. As an American, knowing the true history of this country should be a prerequisite to being elected.