Interesting, isn't it? When a black man, no matter his socio-economic status, rises up to shout down inequality and injustice, a dozen whites stand to shout him down, as if to say, "Know your place, negro!" First, they taunt him and label him a spoiled, crybaby who is ungrateful for the hand up that sports provided him and, thereby, democracy. Then, they want him fired from his job for using the platform that we've given him to speak (how dare he use his celebrity status to speak up for what's right and give a voice to those who have no platform!). They somehow twist and reshape the narrative to fit their own racist ideology and self-serving agenda. In this case, they've attempted (and failed, mind you) to make this a debate about patriotism, nationalism and our flag. "How dare they disrespect our flag!"
Well, let's humor that rewritten narrative for a minute and turn the tables on the angry white folks. I often ask my white, nationalist brothers, "Is your sense of patriotism THAT fragile, that someone kneeling during the anthem can shatter it to pieces?"
Despite the fact that hundreds of war veterans have come out in droves to support the freedoms they so valiantly fought for, you still have angry whites making this about veterans and disrespect. Pretty sure the liberties that so many laid down their lives in defense of extend to our brothers of color, or is that, again, a white privilege??? It certainly was a white man's privilege in 1789 when the Bill of Rights was written. But haven't we progressed from the 18th century?
I think what spurs so many whites in counter-protest is not their patriotism, but their white privilege and white angst. For a closer look at white angst, I refer to this blog post or this article about "the primal scream of white America," which echoes what I wrote last March. It's an attack on their sense of superiority, plain and simple, and they don't like it.
|So twist and turn the narrative all you like, the fact that black people are supposed to keep their opinions to themselves and off the playing field and television is the opinion of a majority in white America (at least the vocal majority). It harkens back to the days of slave ships, chains and muzzles. And while that may seem sensational to my white brethren, I remind them, "How many of your ancestors were brought over in iron chains and muzzles?"|
The failure here is of white people to empathize and to understand. Not one of the counter-protesters has taken a millisecond to walk in another man's shoes.
The black conscience bears the scars of centuries-old oppression and outright torture. Don't tell them when and where they can speak or what they are protesting. You've never even tried to listen or to hear their cries or to walk a halfstep in their well-worn shoes.
Stop the hate. And stop hiding behind your white privilege! For once, I implore you to listen...to try to understand. The flag that waves over this country hasn't always represented freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for everyone who stands beneath it.