Why is it that people of color are never given the moniker "Patriotic" when we speak up or out about what we consider to be topics worthy of notice in America? Must one be a military veteran to be considered patriotic? I applaud those who sacrificed their lives and livelihood to serve our country domestically and abroad, but I don't find those who did not less patriotic than those who did.

Someone in my family has served in the military from WWI to the present day. They were not and have not been shy about vocalizing their disappointments with America at various times in their lives. However, I don't consider myself to be less patriotic than them. Don't misunderstand me; I did not serve in the military, but I feel I have served my country by diligently working and serving in my community.

I have spoken often of the things I see wrong locally as well as in and with America. I try to point out injustice when I see it, from the perspective of an African American male, in hopes of creating an understanding of the nature of the diversity in America, which I feel is a necessity. Does that make me unpatriotic? Martin Luther King, Jr. told America it needed to live up to what it said on paper. He, more than anyone else in the last 100 years, made America look at itself in the mirror and acknowledge its flaws. He never served a day in the military, was he unpatriotic?

I hope we have not gotten to the point in this country where asking America to be and do better by all citizens earns one the title of unpatriotic. If that is the case, given the principles upon which this country was built, isn't the one who tries to suppress speech unpatriotic?

Johnny Scott

Hickory, NC

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