Culture Feature

Drew Brees Exemplifies How NOT to Be a White Ally

The quarterback said "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country." And then he tried to apologize. And only made it worse.

Drew Brees, a man who makes literally millions of dollars for throwing a ball, has come under fire for insensitive comments he made about NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality.

"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," Brees said in the interview with Yahoo Finance. He clarified that this was in part because he envisioned his grandfathers, who fought in World War II, during the National Anthem. He continued, saying, "And is everything right with our country right now? No. It's not. We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together. We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution."

This isn't the first time Brees made it clear that he cares more for the idea of a make-believe unified America than he does for actual human lives. In 2016, he criticized Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the anthem, saying it was "disrespectful to the American flag" and "an oxymoron" because the flag gave critics the right to speak out in the first place.


Colin Kaepernick Kneeling Colin Kaepernick kneeling in protest of racist police brutality


Of course, the flag's alleged ideals have been proven to only be applicable to wealthy, white men—men like Brees. Sure, his grandfathers did a noble thing when they fought under the US flag during WWII, and no one, including Kaepernick, has ever said that sacrifice isn't worth respecting. Thanks to the sacrifices of many people (including the enslaved Black backs upon which this country was built, including the scores of routinely abused Black soldiers who fought for American lives), America has offered opportunity and peace for many, many people. In particular, Ole' Glory has been very kind to men like Brees: rich, white men who still control the majority of the power and the wealth in the United States.

But what about the rest of us, Drew? What about George Floyd whose neck was crushed by a police officer who kneeled on him so casually that he didn't even take his hand out of his pocket? What about Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot for the crime of being Black and going for a jog? What about Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was murdered by police in her home in the middle of the night for a crime that had nothing to do with her? What about Tony McDade, Drew–have you heard his name? Have you heard about the 38-year-old Black trans man who was gunned down in Florida last week? Do you understand why these people's family's may harbor just a bit of disrespect for your precious flag?

Is it possible for you to realize, Drew, that your wish for "unity" is not a wish for progress, but a wish to maintain the status quo? When you call for unity under the American flag, you're talking about your flag, the flag that represents a long, sordid history of racial oppression and violence. There is no unity where there is no justice. When you say that "we are all in this together," what you're saying is that we all have roles to play in the version of society that has served you so well. For your part, you'll be a rich, white man, and for Black people's part, they'll continue to be victims of state-sanctioned murders– but hopefully more quietly, hopefully in a manner that doesn't make you uncomfortable?

When you say, "We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution," what you mean to say is that POC and their allies are at fault. Sure, you probably agree that Derek Chauvin took it a bit too far, and you probably feel a little self-conscious that he's brought all this "Black rights" stuff up again. But when you say "all," you place blame on the victims who are dying under a broken system. And what, exactly, do you expect POC to do differently, Drew? Ahmaud Arbery was just out jogging, and still he died. George Floyd was just trying to pay a cashier, and still he died. POC and their allies try to peacefully protest by marching in the streets or taking a knee at a football game, and still white people condemn and criticize. Still the police shoot.

After much criticism, Brees did attempt an apology on Instagram, where he posted a hilariously corny stock photo of a Black and white hand clasped together. His caption, though possibly well-intentioned, made it even clearer that his understanding of the movement for Black lives is thoroughly lacking.


Highlights of the "apology" include his immediate attempt to exonerate himself from culpability, claiming that his words were misconstrued, saying of his previous statement: "Those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character." Unfortunately, Drew, white people like you are the "enemy," as you put it, because by default you are at the very least part of the problem. No one is accusing you of being an overt racist, Drew; no one thinks you actively and consciously detest Black people. But your lack of empathy, your apathy, and your unwillingness to unlearn your own biases are precisely what has persisted in the hearts and minds of well-meaning white Americans for centuries.

Next, you say, "I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the Black community in this movement." No, Drew. Just no. Black people don't need white people's savior complexes to interfere in their organizing; what they need is for us to shut up and listen. What they need is for us to get our knees off of their necks.

Finally, you say, "I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy." This, Drew, is suspiciously similar to saying, "But I'm one of the good whites!" The fact of the matter is that feeling the need to prove your allyship is not about helping a movement; it's about feeding your own ego. Not only that, but your emphasis on "ALWAYS" does a pretty good job of making it clear that you don't think you have a racist bone in your body and that you have taken great offense at any accusations to the contrary. I have some news for you, Drew: Every white person is racist. Sure, the levels vary, and while you may not be actively and consciously discriminating against POC, you have been brought up in a racist system, and your implicit biases are as strong as any other white person's. Your job now is to unlearn those biases and confront those subtle prejudices in yourself and in other white people. Maybe the first step in doing so is just shutting your f*cking mouth about kneeling at football games. Maybe you should even consider taking a knee yourself.

For other non-BIPOC trying to be better allies, check out one of these 68+ anti-racism resources.

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Mipso's "Moonlight" Is Perfect for A Summer Chill Session

Mipso recently released the official music video for their hit song "Moonlight" along with new summer tour dates.

If you aren't a fan already, you must check out the tasty twang and soft palpable poetry of North Carolina's hottest indie-americana band, Mipso.

You know the sort of music that takes you back to sweet youthful summers and warms your heart with the echo of the past? Yet still, you recognize that its only an echo and that those times are over. Mipso's "Moonlight" does exactly that. North Carolina's indie-Americana darlings Mipso have released the official video for their track " Moonlight," from their critically acclaimed new album Edges Run.

The video illustrates the familiar and all-too-human emotion of feeling alone, even while surrounded by those you love the most. Songwriter Joseph Terrell explains, "I wrote 'Moonlight' after a breakup while I drove all day back to North Carolina from where I'd been living in Boston. I was sitting in summer traffic on the worst highway in America in a rented minivan full of all my stuff, and I kind of just had to laugh. There's that voice in your head that wants to tell the world, 'I'm totally fine!' when you're anything but."

The video release accompanies the band's announcement of a run of additional summer tour dates this August. Venturing to the Western mountain states, Mipso bring their captivating live show to Montana, Colorado, and Utah.

Giphy

They can also be seen playing festivals this summer, including the Blue Ox Music Festival in Eau Claire, WI, Clearwater's Great Hudson River Revival, the Calgary Folk Festival, and Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh, NC this September.

MIPSO EDGES RUN ALBUM RELEASE TOUR – SUMMER 2018

6/14/18 - Blue Ox Music Festival - Eau Claire, WI

6/16/18 - Clearwater's Great Hudson River Revival - Croton-On-Hudson, NY

7/13/18 - Red Wing Roots Music Festival - Mt. Solon, VA

7/14/18 - The Down Home - Johnson City, TN

7/28/18 - Calgary Folk Music Festival - Calgary, Canada

8/1/18 - Yellowstone Brewing - Billings, MT

8/2/18 - Top Hat Lounge – Missoula, MT

8/4/18 – Sweet Pea Festival – Bozeman, MT

8/5/18 – Mishawaka Amphitheatre – Bellvue, CO

8/6/18 – Chautauqua Auditorium – Boulder, CO

8/9/18 – Urban Lounge – Salt Lake City, UT

8/11/18 – Lake Dillion Amphitheatre – Dillon, CO

8/16/18 - Narrows Center for the Arts - Fall River, MA

8/17/18 - Green Mountain Bluegrass & Roots - Manchester,VT

9/6/18 - Hopscotch Music Festival - Raleigh, NC

9/15/18 - Whale Rock Music Festival - Templeton, CA

Mipso's fourth album, Edges Run, has received praise from critics and fans alike. The album's first two singles - "People Change" and the title track "Edges Run" have received over 5 million streams on Spotify so far, with placement on prominent Spotify Playlists.

Mipso has always been a creative democracy, and on Edges Run the band takes this ideal to greater lengths than ever before. "We'd all seen a lot of change in a short period," says Sharp of the time between the band's recent 2016 release, Coming Down The Mountain, and Edges Run - recorded in early 2017. "Three of us moved out of the Triangle area and into other places. We had relationships end and deaths of friends and family members." Those events alone could account for the deeply introspective themes on Edges Run, recorded during the dead of winter in Eugene, Oregon. "We were beginning to feel, probably for the first time, that youth was more behind us than ahead, and so I think we were all feeling different pressures closing in," says Sharp. So the band took a step back to consider their songs-in-progress — and took a leap of faith in traveling far from their North Carolina comfort zone to record in Oregon with producer (and bassist) Todd Sickafoose (Ani DiFranco, Andrew Bird, Anaïs Mitchell). They carried with them into the sessions a desire to stretch themselves beyond previously known roads of composition and performance. For the first time, Mipso came to the studio with sketches of songs rather than fully-fleshed arrangements and decided to co-write songs together, also a first for the band. Call it a new level of confidence or a developing collective consciousness, but with five years as a band and hundreds of nights on the road together, with the release of Edges Run Mipso retains its traditional roots while becoming thoroughly modern, intuitive musicians with the ability to transcend conventions and embrace what lies ahead. "We have a better idea of what we can do, and how we want to do it," says Sharp.

Praise for Mipso's Edges Run

"Best New Music" – American Songwriter

"Mipso defy boundaries and limitations on " Edges Run," the entrancing title-track from their forthcoming record…" - Americana Music Association

"Mipso has discovered that rare chemistry of four people coming together and uncorking bottled lightning with every tour and trip to the studio." - Cincinnati City Beat

"Catchy and radiant, moody and meditative, [the songs will] touch you on many different levels." - PopMatters

" Edges Run...pushes the boundaries...while maintaining everything Mipso do really well. It's honest and... asks you to listen closely. The instrumentation is rich, while still convincing you that it's simple"- Red Line Roots

"...showcasing the group's tight harmonies and musicianship…[and] venturing further intoalt-country…territory." - Washington Post

"[Mipso's Edges Run] balances heavy heartbreak and introspection with poppy, good-times acoustic pop. It's a good spectrum for the quartet, in that it allows for a wide sonic and emotional range." - No Depression

"Mipso's stellar use of harmony and deep layers of sound bring out a level of maturity comparable to Neil Young, Fleet Foxes and Fleetwood Mac." - Triad City Beat

"'Artist You Need To Know' The quartet's winsome Americana is as catchy and easygoing as ever." – Rolling Stone

"[Edges Run] solidifies Mipso's position in the modern folk movement." - Amplifier Magazine

"Mipso separates from the pack with an introspective, at times dark set of songs that emphasize atmosphere over monolithic strumming and draw from folk, old-school country and modern pop with equal enthusiasm. It's the sound of a band embracing adulthood and finding its sound." - Bend Bulletin

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Megan Oots is Popdust writer based in New York City. She loves the sun, cooking, and playing with dogs.


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