We’re inside the fifth week of the 2017 NFL season and we’ve somehow forgotten about how Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest began. Worst yet, it seems that the narrative has been successfully hijacked by the fake patriots rampant in white America. Let’s be clear, police brutality is not a white nor black issue. It’s an American issue, but blacks are attacked and killed by police in more disparate numbers than others. That’s the reason Colin Kaepernick took a knee last year.
Colin Kaepernick is a real American patriot
Fast-forward to this season, he’s an unemployed quarterback with no return to the field in his imminent future. Kaep’s friends and colleagues continue in solidarity by taking a knee or raising a fist during the national anthem before games. Kaep also took issue with one of the stanzas of the poem which was later converted to a poem and ultimately adopted as this nation’s anthem of representation.
What began as an initiative to draw attention to a cause has been hijacked by those that are unwilling to see change. That’s the nice way to call them racists. Worse than being accused of being a racist is stripping away this nation’s legacy of democracy. The NFL is paid for its patriotic demonstration before games but teams and NFL brass seemingly have the latitude to force players and coaches to stand during the national anthem.
Protest deflectors have risen with so much rancor that they in turn have boycotted the NFL for actually supporting and not punishing protesters. Weird how that works, isn’t it? But wouldn’t it make more sense to actually work to end what is the cause of the problem in the first place? If we could unite for the cause of ending or at least curtailing unchecked police brutality, the need for protesting would actually go away. Just weeks ago, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made news by kneeling with his players before the game against the Arizona Cardinals. Jones again made news this week by successfully deflecting his Cowboy’s abismal start to the season by threatening to bench any player not standing for the anthem.
What has been lost on nearly every American is the fact that the poem was written during the war of 1812 in which slaves fought on both sides of the war. Slaves fought with Britain to overthrow the budding country and ultimately win their freedom. Apologists for Key suggest that those were the slaves referenced in that stanza. Still, when the constitution was drafted and later signed into law, it held the premise that “…all men are created equal…” except the slaves kept by the signers.
From its inception, this country has been flawed. Furthermore, this country has never atoned for what will ever be known as the greatest human rights atrocity in history. Ill treatment of blacks continued as the nation progressed, too. Many have never heard of Black Wall Street in Tulsa,Oklahoma. But events like the destruction of the Greenwood suburb of Tulsa wiped out a thriving economic center of black America in the south. To this date, nothing like it exists, a credit to the pervasive systemic racism that maligns every functioning system in America.
So, when “privileged” athletes who are millionaires decided to shed light on a cause, it’s commendable. In fact, protest is the real “American Way”. We may not have these United States of America without some level of protest. When citizens disagree with policy, they can protest. We still have that right. When citizens took aim at corporate greed, they did so with the Occupy Wall Street movement. The movement wasn’t perfect and while it physically didn’t last long, the conversation has. It was even a part of the 2016 Presidential race and became a talking point for candidates in the primaries and the official vote that ushered in the Presidency of Donald Trump. The Boston Tea Party? Another form of Protest. In fact, in its 2011 Top 10 American Protest Movements, Time Magazine listed it first.
Years later, those protests signify American progress and are heralded as turning points in American history, seldom viewed with the optics of opposition! If history has proven nothing else, it’s proven that opposition nor deflection can withstand steadfast movement. The truth about the deflection is that it’s simply more convenient to fault the protesters for something than to actually take a serious look at their cause. Meanwhile, police killings and brutality have continued while many of those taking issue with flag disrespect remain mum on the issue at hand.
So to that I say again: “When they deflect, re-direct!” We can’t be drawn offsides by disrespect, dismissiveness or dissension of what ails other American citizens. We won’t bow to corporate bullying in order to save face or preserve convenience. This is high time for disruption, it’s the American way!
*I’d written this piece a few weeks ago but hadn’t really decided to share it for a number of reasons. After watching Terence Crutcher be gunned down in cold blood this week because the officer felt threatened while he was on the ground, I feel this is appropriate.*
There’s a lot being said about Colin Kaepernick and his protest which has led to a new movement in America. I’ll share my position as succinctly as possible. No need for a long, drawn out thesis to substantiate what I’m about to say, I’m going just say it:
White people are not better than everyone else! They’re not better than me, not better than you…or anyone else for that matter! There is NO supreme race, and if there were there’s no way it would be white people. The centuries long subjugation of non-whites must come to an end!
There, I said it. But let’s unpack what all that means:
Whether you’re free to admit it or not, you’ve more than likely bought into the lie of white supremacy. It’s been in our textbooks, on the news each night and woven subconsciously into the fabric of this otherwise great country.
‘White Is Right’ is Dead Wrong
I’d have to go back too far into history to trace the inception of this phenomenon and the ensuing shift in world culture from Africa to Europe. Instead, let’s deal with this…in 2016, people still believe and endorse the malignant mantra that ‘white is right’. In church, at school, at work and even at home. Thus us bolstered by the fallacy that declares ‘white’ a supreme race.
In 1936, at Hitler’s Olympics in Berlin, he claimed that his athletes were the best and couldn’t be beat. Jesse Owens and Ralphe Metcalfe had other plans however and shuttered Hitler and his buffoonery right there on the track in both the 100 and 4×100 meter races.
Owens and Metcalfe replaced two Jewish-American sprinters
In 2007 while on a gospel music tour I visited the current Olympic Stadium in Berlin. While there, I took in the history of the building. So much history there, I shall never forget it.
Your slip is showing…
White supremacy is no longer shrouded in white, red or purple hoods in clandestine gatherings in the woods. The fallacy of white supremacy has become a part of the fabric of America and to reject it rips at the seams of Lady Liberty’s robe. This is why America can’t settle its debt. America is indebted to Africans, Native Americans and their respective descendants whose blood is in the soil and foundation of each building erected.
What Is White Supremacy?
White supremacy is what white supremacy does. It asserts that white is the best. Somehow, even Jesus who was born nowhere near Europe is white. Maybe Mary was middle-eastern but that whole Holy Spirit ‘overshadowing’ thing…maybe that means that God is white, too.
As with white supremacy, it’s also time to denounce any salvific ascription to white culture and the non-black race overall.
Have biblical jews been whitewashed?
White supremacy says that black people can’t build anything so ‘let’s destroy Tulsa’s Black Wall Street‘. White supremacy says that blacks can’t handle money so Bank of America denied both jobs and disenfranchised homebuyers. Not to be outdone, Fifths & Thirds banks manipulated auto loan interest rates for black and latino buyers. Speaking of banks, what’s with the absence of bank branches in favor or predatory payday lenders and pawn shops in the inner city?
White supremacy purports that black men are vicious rapists and murderers so they bludgeon a 14 year old Emmett Till for allegedly whistling at a white woman…who fabricated the account and never faced charges. White supremacy as strong as it is, is an unconscionable, fear based principle that says “if we don’t stop them, they will do whatever they put their minds to!” It continues because of the fear of retaliation.
Yep, there’s more!
White supremacy tells you to be offended when called a “nigger”. The epithet has a hurtful past but I have given no single person or group the power to subjugate anything about me. Furthermore, the epithet is a by-product of an idiot’s attempt at emphatic speech that I refuse to dignify with a response, not even a violent one.
Believe it or not, at the root of white supremacy is envy
Oh you think blacks can only run and jump better than their non-white counterparts? Look around the world, what hasn’t been affected by black genius? Time is winding down rather swiftly and the truth is being unearthed.
This is why the black mind is the most challenged and black creativity and genius the most usurped. There’s a saying that those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it. Conversely, those who don’t know their history are also doomed to accept it as presented!
White supremacy has for years put black thought on trial, having to make a case for its innate greatness to minds devoid of that level or capacity of understanding. Though on trial, we have yet to make the case for criminals and suspect of color, who also deserve a fair trail and a jury of their actual ‘peers’.
The “chief cornerstone” is the same stone the builders rejected. What do you have without a cornerstone besides a badly built building. Everything built on white supremacy is on its last legs.
JB said it best
I’m black and I’m proud. I’m also American and proud. In fact, I’ve never felt more American than when I was in Europe and was hated as an “American” and not an “African-American” or a second class citizen or whatever that is. It never felt so good to be hated! There was also a time while in Japan after making a wrong turn into a business we were met with shouts of: “Japanese Only!” What that means, I still don’t know but I’ll chalk it up to my American pedigree and grab a map next time.
Speaking of pedigree, I’m ignorant of my family history beyond my great-grandparents. I mean, where did my great-grandfather’s grandfather come from? Did he fall out the sky as a grown man one day? Did the stork deliver him to us? I say this in jest but for most black people in America, we know that somebody we’re related to was a slave, just about. My generation’s grandparents didn’t have it so well, either. Black babies were given incorrect names and birthdays. Can you imagine arguing with a 70+ year old when their actual birth date is? They know, even though their birth certificate reflects otherwise. I know this case to be true for at least two people in my family.
The United States won’t engage in reparations for the families of African slaves but pay ouf heftily to Jews and even Native Americans. Here’s a fair deal…if you won’t give up 40 acres and a mule to the families of those slaves, do us all a solid and help us trace our families’ origins.
Can blacks have some of that 38 Billion Dollars, President Obama?
I mean, who was on those ships that made it over? We haven’t even begun to delve into the tremendous loss of life on the seas *(moment of silence)*
As long as this country refuses to rectify its original sin of slavery and the multitude of injustices that continue, I hereby refuse any reverence or adherence to this country as a perceived great nation. I should be proud to be a citizen here, because…I was born here? What about my ancestors who weren’t born here, but bled and died here?
When the United States Government issued an apology for slavery, it was done so with all talks of reparations taken off the table. That was the bargaining point…AND our representatives voted in favor of it! Such a shame and with that truth, this country still has made no atonement for the slavery that built this country.
It is evil and its systems are flawed. You don’t have to endorse white supremacy for it to have been your benefactor. That’s simply called white privilege. Blacks don’t get commensurate jail sentences for petty crimes, get to wrestle with officers who are unlawfully detaining them, engage in open carry or any other glaring inconsistent privileges only seemingly betrothed to non-blacks.
Blacks are still searching for answers to Sojourner Truth’s question: “Ain’t I A Woman”? by asking “Aren’t We Americans?” Failure to weave the progeny of slaves into the fabric of this country has sealed its fate.
Because you gave not liberty, you have chosen death. Death to America’s greatness and the perceived supremacy of those lacking the magnanimous gift of melanin.
*We’ve been somewhat unsuccessful burying the word “nigger” but for all intents and purposes, this article is going to help expose and finally bury the lie of white supremacy.*
This essay may initially appear to be laced with hate speech and work as a divisive instrument of liberal propoganda. At least, I think that’s what detractors will say. I’m hoping to at least get Fox News to hate it so much that they read at least a portion of it on air. I can dream, can’t I?!? It’s not hate speech and of course I don’t hate non-blacks. I love all of God’s people. What I do despise is any system that seeks to continue to break the backs and will of people anywhere. In America, I can’t show any love before I first express my hate toward the evil system driving the country and its many influences.
This was a blog post and article I wrote in the summer of 2016 following the officer involved deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. This piece originally occurred in "Threaded" the digest of the SoulProsper Media Group.
Here we go again, another crazy week in the media…and in our neighborhoods. With the highly publicized shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, all forms of media have been frenzied since the first video was uploaded to Facebook last week. Also a part of the frenzy happens to be the millions of viewers, worldwide. In our varied attempts to illuminate the plight of black men in America and the violence many face at the hands of police, we’ve used these videos to bolster our strong viewpoints. These video shares are not without hidden damage.
Last week, after watching the Philando Castile video another video surfaced showing another angle of the officer involved shooting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. After watching nearly the entire video, I had to pause the video. I didn’t look away when the shots were fired, and I didn’t look away when I saw blood…I looked away when I realized that I was watching Alton Sterling die. Literally taking his last few short breaths there on the ground. I was angry, but something else was happening. Rage? Fear? Confusion? All of this happened at once yet pausing the video didn’t wrangle the wild emotions.
From there, I was embroiled in heavy Facebook dialogue, some of which came off the pages and into phone calls and text messages. Some brought severe division between myself and some of my longest standing friendships. Once again, we reminded that I am black and they aren’t. As a journalist, I wrote…unapologetically about how the deafening silence from what should and could be our friends is hindering any possible progress. I chided religious leaders for having nothing major to say…and then, it happened…
The unthinkable…someone declared war on the police! Before the night ended, five Dallas officers were dead and seven others wounded from the attack. Of the five deceased officers, one was a friend. A fellow band nerd, Officer Patrick Zamarippa. My days at Paschal High School were full of self discovery and the struggle of being young, gifted and black. A speech that began as a diatribe in search of empathy towards our community ended with me tragically searching for the words to comfort mutual among perceived enemies. When I say #BlackLivesMatter, I post it to a mixed audience. Last week, I wasn’t met with #BlueLivesMatter or #AllLivesMatter, I was met with…SILENCE!
On Thursday evening, I made a concerted effort to reach out to old friends I’d undoubtedly yet inadvertently alienated by expressing my disdain with the week’s earlier shootings. I had to also re-visit a quandary that plagued me during High School. Many who were quick to memorialize Patrick as an officer of the law and veteran of the US Armed Forces were the same ones that paid very little attention to him in band. You see, we were divided back then, in band and in school. Did we make awesome music? You bet and nobody will ever take that from us. The lines that divided us somehow followed us into adulthood yet we find ourselves drawn together again, by this senseless loss of life.
Can you imagine the week I’ve had? It pales in comparison to any of the families who lost loved ones or even those who remained trapped in a live crime scene last Thursday night. Some were in their cars for hours, a very good friend and colleague Shannon J was in her car for 10 hours while the officers subdued the suspect and continued their investigation into Friday morning.
Trauma. That’s the word for it. We’ve been traumatized, the whole nation. This is the prime example of why so many have been rendered speechless. Some fester in silence; but for many the reality of violence whether at the hands of officers or a trained sniper, has rendered them speechless. What we have uttered is the best we can and even that has taken both a tremendous level of courage and a huge toll on us. A week later and many have yet to understand the gravity of the toll. I reached out to Dr. Kristen Guillory lend her expertise about the psychological ramifications any of the videos and ensuing interaction may have had on us. She had this to say:
“…it’s not about not watching but making sure you’re aware of the possible impact as well as what to do when you’re impacted- counseling, stepping away, prayer, etc and the signs. There a lot of layers and how to identify the signs in a loved one”
This I agree with and want to encourage any of you who suddenly “feel some type of way” following the events of last week to seek help and encourage others to do the same. Human lives matter. Your quality of life matters and help is available if you need it. Not all of us involved are on the front lines, still the effects are there. People like myself have contributed to progress via the various forms of journalism. I hosted a live show on last Friday with Dick Gregory, Fred Sandifer, Reggie Williams, the Rev. Kyev Tatum and Nichole C. Mullen that allowed us to talk about our feelings and what we need to do on both sides of the conflict. I can’t make it to every march or gathering but I am doing what I can where I am. Even so, I experienced trauma last week and will be doing what I can to heal where I am as I help make healing possible for others.
Think of the impact of seeing ones mother get hit, or seeing a child get hit or even what soldiers see in combat. Rosie O’Donnell suffered from depression after the Columbine shooting and she didn’t see anything. I’ve been concerned about those who not only watched but how learning of this information impacts us because many didn’t share deeply with someone how they really felt in the moment. We let it fester. (“Dr. G” Kristen Guillory)
Have you spoken to anyone about how the turmoil in the nation affects you? We need to decompress. Perhaps a moment to breathe, but how can that be so with the image of a dying Eric Garner saying: “I Can’t Breathe” seered into your subconscious? When do we breathe again, where oh where is that sigh of relief? I don’t know…
Calamity surrounds us and if the world remains unchanged, shootings and violence will continue. I urge you take pre-caution when engaging in social media following the events. Cover your mind and your heart, keep your well being in mind. We want to get perspective, we want to know what facts can be derived from video, but we also must remain vigilant against the onset of undiagnosed symptoms of mental illness and directly attributed to the exposure/overexposure to graphic content.
As black people in America, we live under a constant cloud of mystery. As much as historians have been able to trace other phenomena of the world, dark skinned people remain earth's greatest mystery. For most people in America, their understanding of dark skinned people begins with the slave trade.
We now know that there were dark skinned people on this continent before the Europeans arrived. Some in New Mexico may have even been descendants of biblical Hebrews. It was 2012 before I had even heard of Estevanico, the explorer who explored alongside Cabeza de Vaca and is the first non-American/ non-native to enter what is now Arizona and New Mexico.
In the US, most dark skinned people are treated the same, still. It's a thing that just won't go away. Even as more of our history is unearthed, we still can't seem to escape the mythical yet systemic throes of white supremacy. As a dark skinned black man, I still get those 'looks' and my children still find themselves fighting stigmas among their peers.
For many dark skinned people, this has become a problem. For me...it's a badge of honor! James Brown said it best: "Say it loud, I'm black and I'm proud!" While I understand that for some people, that exuberant exclamation is troublesome and even stokes fear, I say so what! As a dark skinned person, my heritage is just as thick as my hair!
Streams in my blood include the genetics of China, New Guinea, and America Indians of the Southern sector of the United States. Cherokee, to be exact. It became a joke that so many black people have Cherokee in their history, but understand that many natives enslaved Africans, too.
The man you see today when you look at me is a man of many colors. In the right sunlight, you can see the red tint in my hue. What you also see when you look at me is pride. I'm proud of my heritage and what the amalgam of the many cultures means to me. It means that somewhere before my time, people needed and chose to do life with someone that didn't necessarily look like them.
It means that, my place in the world today is to continue the trend! I am a BLACK man, only because that's the easiest way for this country to understand my own diversity and make it a part of their own. Today and every day, I am a black man!