Meghan Linsey Kneeled Because ‘Someone Who Looks Like Me Needed to Do It’
Meghan Linsey says she took a knee at the end of last Sunday's National Anthem at the Tennessee Titans game for a variety of reasons, including an overwhelming feeling that she — a white woman — needed to do it.
In an editorial piece in the Washington Post Linsey explains that she sees racism often through her band, a group primarily made up of Black men. She recalls a recent incident where a promoter refused to pay her because her drummer was threatening, which, in the deep south, she translated as 'he's Black.'
Sunday's (Sept. 24) National Anthem appearance was booked six months ago, and while Linsey had been looking forward to it, she knew she needed to stand in solidarity with her "brothers, sisters, fans and friends who live with the effects of such toxic hatred all the time." She continues:
I took a knee for those who are mistreated, beaten down and disregarded in this country. I took a knee because every movement needs allies, and I knew that someone who looks like me and comes from my background needed to do it. When you’re white, it’s easy to disregard racism and not see your own privilege. Instead, I wanted to use my privilege — and my platform — to shed a light on systemic racism and social injustice.
Recognizing that her decision may hurt her career, Linsey feels that the cause is more important to her than record sales. There were a lot of boos and thanks as she walked off the field. In the week since, she's received death threats and wakes up with anxiety each day.
"I can’t think of anything more un-American than threatening someone for an act of free speech. I am not afraid of these people, because I know that I am living on my mother’s prayers and God will protect me," she says. "It just hurts my heart to stand in the face of real unadulterated hate. But it’s the same hate that so many other people in this country face simply because of the color of their skin."
Prior to the protest, many didn't know who Meghan Linsey was. Now the former Steel Magnolia singer and The Voice finalist is forever tied to one of the sporting world's most visible and talked about social movements ever.
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