Ok NFL players you showed your unity this past weekend with varying displays of so called anthem protest but now is the time to bring the narrative back to its original intent. Yes you should continue to kneel, continue to lock arms or whatever form of protest you feel is appropriate. No you should not allow this President to deter you. But when a microphone is placed in front of you and you are asked about disrespecting the flag and the servicemen and women. Do not allow the narrative to be changed. Tell them emphatically NO I will not play that game. Tell them I kneel to protest social injustice. Tell them I kneel to protest police brutality. Tell them I kneel to bring to light the way people of color are treated in many aspects of society today. Tell them you love America as much as anyone and as such you demand it lives up to its promise. Tell them you respect this country’s servicemen and women and as such I kneel because the 40% of the military made up of ethnic minorities should not have to return to a country where they or their family may be subject to police brutality or discrimination based on the color of their skin. Tell them I kneel not as a sign of disrespect to this country but as a sign of respect for the values that it was founded on, the concept that all men are created equal. Tell them I kneel to force those who would choose to turn a blind eye to these injustices to feel uncomfortable to the point that they will finally open their minds and begin a dialogue on how to truly make this country great. Tell that this is why I kneel.
The narrative has been lost. It was never about the flag or patriotism it was about social injustice and police brutality. But the fact is that topic makes people uncomfortable and no one likes to be uncomfortable, they rather close their eyes or change the narrative then confront the ugly truth and look for ways to improve it. But since our current President has decided to change the narrative, because social injustice is an issue he appears to be squarely on the wrong side of the debate on, and make this about patriotism I thought I remind him of the words of James Baldwin. If he can somehow grasp the meaning of Baldwin’s words then maybe he will understand what it really means to be a patriot.
Another shooting. Another unarmed person of color killed. Another night of unrest. The racial divide continues to grow. Yet here’s what the dimwits who dismiss the protests taking place in the NFL and other places as nonsense and disrespectful or who say to those who do protest if you don’t love this flag get out, still don’t get. It’s not about respect for America it’s about demanding America live up to what it is suppose to be, what it was founded on. In theory if not practice in 1776.
I’m a 50 year old African American who:
Loves both humanity as a whole and America as my country.
Who respects and is grateful to the police and the job they do everyday to keep me and those around me safe.
Who has never been in any kind of trouble with the law.
Yet anytime I see a police car in my rear view mirror there is a sense of anxiety that comes over me as a person of color because at that moment I don’t know who’s in that car and what their intentions may be. That’s a feeling if you are not a person of color you nor your children will ever have to deal with and if you’re not a person of color is something you should be grateful for because the reality is it’s something people of color and their children always have to deal with.
Until we stop telling people to turn a blind eye, chant USA, wrap yourself in the flag and assume that 100% of the police shootings in America are justified.
Until we understand that it’s the principle this country was founded on, we hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal, not the flag itself that is what is worth defending and worth dying for.
Until we understands there is a problem with race in this country that isn’t going to get better by ignoring it but rather by having an open and honest discussion that leads to real solutions.
Until we stop pushing the false narrative that by calling for justice and the removal of the few rotten eggs that smear the reputation of the hundred of thousands of men and women of all ethnicities in blue who put their lives on the line to keep us safe is not an attack on the police but rather on those racist individual who simply put on but do not deserve to wear the uniform.
Until we start to do these things we as a country will forever be divided.