Detroit NAACP Under Fire for Kid Rock Award

Musician’s embrace of racist imagery undermines his contributions to troubled city.

Posted: 03/08/2011 06:36 PM EST

The Detroit branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is under fire for its provocative decision to honor Kid Rock at its upcoming Fight for Freedom Fund dinner.

The Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of Detroit's NAACP, said last month that Kid Rock will receive the Great Expectations Award for being a "booster of Detroit" and wearing the "Big D from his head to his toe," according to The Detroit News. Police officers shot in a recent rampage at a local precinct will also be honored.

While Kid Rock may be a symbol of success and local pride, his embrace of a symbol of racism—the Confederate flag, namely—has critics alarmed.

Political consultant Adolph Mongo plans to boycott the May 1 event as a result. "It's a slap in the face for anyone who fought for civil rights in this country," he told the Detroit News.” It's a symbol of hatred and bigotry."

Kid Rock says he doesn’t have a problem with the flag. "I've never had an issue with it," Kid Rock told ClickonDetroit. "To me it just represents pride in Southern rock 'n' roll music. Plus it just looks cool."

Perhaps a quick history lesson is in order for Kid Rock, who often displays the flag on stage during his concerts.

The Confederate flag is seen by some of its supporters as a symbol of Southern heritage and the independence of the distinct cultural tradition of the South from the North, but it has also been used by the Ku Klux Klan and other racist hate groups to symbolize white dominance over African-Americans. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, more than 500 extremist groups use the Southern Cross as one of their symbols.

Courts have upheld the right of schools to limit display of the Confederate flag on their property. Last year, a court of appeals upheld the right of a Tennessee school district to suspend a student for wearing a T-shirt and belt buckle bearing the image of the Confederate battle flag.



Image:  Scott Legato/Getty Images