In recent opinion piece titled “The proper time to take a knee,” the author discerns the appropriate time to take a knee, in prayer, versus the inappropriate time, before the flag. I would like to point out that not all Americans are given the choice of standing before the flag or kneeling before the cross. Due to a culture of oppression and history of hate crimes in the United States, black Americans are not given this choice.

One incident that illustrates this denial of kneeling before the cross is the Charleston 9, the Charleston church massacre in 2015 that left nine African Americans dead during Bible study. These people were indeed kneeling before the cross, yet their lives were taken by the cruel hands of a white supremacist. When these innocent people were “properly” taking a knee, what good were they served?

I believe “The proper time to take a knee” fails to recognize the blatant white privilege of choosing when to kneel. Consider those black Americans who are not afforded the chance to take a knee in order to practice their religion in fear of being killed. When protesters kneel before the flag, it is because they choose to defy the system that has persistently excluded, oppressed and killed its most vulnerable citizens. This cycle of exclusion-oppression-execution has shown that America does not stand by its black citizens.

I kneel because my privilege as a white person allows me to choose when I can and cannot kneel. I kneel for those who are not given that choice.


Katherine McKee


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