Let’ s talk change…
A several of weeks ago I was training a new guy at my job. He caught me looking at an article about Colin Kaepernick and decided to tell me how sad it is that Colin isn’t getting signed. “He’s a decent football player. He should’ve found another way to protest,” he said. Of course, being the professional that I am, I didn’t react to his comment initially. Although, I have to say, his comment did rub me the wrong way. I simply asked him,” what would’ve been a better way to protest?” He froze, and I could tell he hadn’t thought about an alternative way to get Colin’s point across. Of course, he hadn’t, from what I can see, everyone in opposition is more concerned with the method than the reason behind. The reason behind isn’t pertinent. I followed my question with examples of alternative ways that black people have protested and how badly those ended. (Usually with gunshots, beatings, or imprisonment) I pointed out how Kaepernick kneeled quietly while the national anthem played, he didn’t stop anyone else from exercising their rights, and was basically non-verbal unless directly asked about his kneeling. He replies by telling me that it’s 2017 and the race issue should be dead by now. I have to inhale and exhale at this point, because, I know that anything I say out of line could land me in the unemployment line. I’m not about that struggle…lol I reply by saying, “You’re right, it SHOULD be. I bet Sandra Bland, Philando Castle, Mike Brown, Alton Sterling, Freddie Gray, and young Tamir Rice along with all of the other black men and women who have lost their lives as a result of racial bias, or fear of black people wish it was a thing of the past.” Obviously, the conversation ended after my comment, and I was thankful it did.
I’ve always felt that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, so I can’t fault the guy for having his. I’ve never been one to impose mine on anyone. For sure I’ve never allowed anyone to force their opinion on me. That’s the beauty of living in a free country. We all have the right to live the way we choose, as long as it doesn’t go against our laws and doesn’t bring harm to others. But where exactly does that limitation come into play and who gets to decide?
A little while ago in Charlottesville, NC a group of people where exercising their right to protest. Although I don’t agree with their perspective, I have to respect their right to do so. These people showed up with torches, sticks, and weapons and chanted “We will not be replaced” with anger in their hearts that could be seen on their faces. What bothered me initially was that they were not met with any force or the riot gear that all of the Black Lives Matter protests have been. These men were allowed to show their discontent openly without being beaten, threatened, imprisoned, etc. In spite of the fact that they were carrying weapons and torches. Why were these men seen as non-threatening? Why are unarmed black protesters automatically the opposite? And why does the media continue to use their influence to criminalize minorities when they may or may not have committed a crime and victimize Caucasians even after it’s been proven that they have? James A. Baldwin once said, “To be a Negro in this country and to relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.” What I believe he forgot to note was that the constant rage was accompanied by the constant struggle to compartmentalize and hide that rage for fear of retaliation. The minority isn’t given permission to call out the majority in regard to oppression and injustice. The fact that we need permission to point out injustice and oppression from the same group of people who benefit from said oppression is insanity.
Let’s evaluate…. When Kaepernick decided to not to stand during the National Anthem to protest the murders of black people at the hands of law enforcement he was met by all of these critiques. “He shouldn’t sit during the National Anthem! That’s disrespectful to our country and our soldiers!” “It would be more respectful if he kneeled instead of sitting.”… and so on. What stand out the most about the whole ordeal is the fact that the critiques weren’t coming from the black community. You know…… the people he was protesting for. The critiques came from whites, for lack of a better word. This man was taking a stand for black people and white people somehow had the authority to tell him how he should or should not protest oppression. What I find even funnier is the fact that some black people jumped on their band wagon. Outside of the one man arrested in North Carolina protest who decided to run his vehicle into a crowd of peaceful people, none of them were deemed threatening enough to warrant any retaliation from police. Yet Colin can’t seem to find a team that wants to sign him…
THERE IS NO POLITICALLY CORRECT WAY TO PROTEST WHITE SUPREMACY, OPPRESSION, POLICE BRUTALITY, MASS-INCERCARATION, OR ANY OTHER INJUSTICE MINORITIES FACE!
Why you ask? It’s simple the point of protesting is to shine a light on injustice so that we can come together and fix said injustice. Shining a light on racial injustice criminalizes groups like the police and the entire judicial system. It points out unfair hiring practices, shines the light on unfair housing programs that date back to the mid-20th century basically forcing blacks into inner cities. These practices victimize the same groups of people that the media has spent so much time painting as violent, lazy, criminals, that are sucking the Welfare system dry. That narrative doesn’t benefit the majority at all now does it? Why would the majority allow that narrative to travel without opposition? Colin could’ve protested at the 7/11 on Saturday before the game and he would still be in the same predicament. He’s supposed to take the money they give him, shut his mouth, and look the other way while other minorities continue to be misrepresented and mistreated.
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but the time for looking away and letting things slide has passed and honestly, it’s about time. No one is looking for a politically correct way to protest, for any approval, or an ok from the majority. I’ve been happy to see other players following in his footsteps. They’re a season behind, but it’s never too late to join a movement towards something better. The NFL blackout was an interesting idea. It’s definitely a step in the right direction, but not really well thought out. I’m all about progress so any step in the right direction is applauded. I’m just happy to be taking steps at all. I’m anxious to see what’s next and praying this movement of black people loving, supporting, and fighting for one another on an open stage doesn’t end anytime soon. Coming together is long overdue, and not coming together against a common enemy… we know that’s easy and doesn’t last. What I find more beautiful is the act of coming together in support of the positive, supporting one another’s businesses, building up our communities, raising our children in communities full of people who know and love them. I’m not saying that all races coming together as a whole isn’t the goal. Of course, it is the end goal. What I’m saying is black people have spent a long time not loving and supporting one another. We’ve been seeking validation from those who once oppressed us for most of that time. I’m happy to see that validation is no longer needed, nor is it wanted. The love of self is powerful beyond measure. It’s beyond time for us to experience that power…
Can I just say that standing for the national anthem has never been optional UNLESS someone decided to just stay sat or dropped to a knee. I agree that peaceful protest is better than violent protest and that standing up for black lives does not make anyone anti white.
I hate the white man and his plastic excuse, for I hate the whiteman and the man who turned him loose.
Those words were written by a white Englishman and a lot of my friends know the meaning behind them and agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment they express, even though we are white. Black men are still being victimised in the US and race SHOULD not be an issue in the 21st century and the sooner it is condemned to the past the better we will all be.
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