As you’re getting ready for some football today, knowing there will be more players taking a knee during the national anthem, consider:
- Taking a knee began as a means of bringing attention to the ongoing over-policing and over-incarceration of black Americans.
- Protest, in whatever legal form it occurs, is as American as apple pie. Our country was created as an act of extreme protest: revolution.
- 2019 marks the 400-year anniversary of the first black African slaves brought to the Jamestown colony in Virginia.
- No other immigrant minority group has been more excoriated, less enfranchised, less welcomed into the American family than black men and women. They’ve been systemically marginalized by means of slavery, yes, but also by Jim Crow laws, segregation in housing, schooling, and employment, voter registration “tests,” poll taxes, institutionalized domestic terrorism by the Klan and others.
- America was built upon the bloodied backs and labor of black men and women, in the South, North, and throughout Western expansion. This needs to be recognized and dealt with forthrightly at the highest level of our government and culture, as well as at the level of the common citizen.
- That rotten core of our history, unacknowledged and un-dealt-with, is worthy of disrespect. The flag, the anthem, the Constitution itself are symbols of the country, and legitimate targets of disrespect.
Our less-than-bright president, wading into the issue at a political rally early in the season, has turned the spectacle into Trump vs. the NFL. This will expand the players’ activism. It will bring greater attention to it, and more argument and eventually, hopefully, discussion. But first it will be ugly. This is a good thing. Racism is ugly, too.
If this offends you or what you believe, good. Four-hundred years is a lot of offense, too. Maybe it’ll lead you to think past the flag, the anthem, and the multi-millionaire players and owners, and ask yourself why this is happening. Why are protests going on around the country? Why did we see hundreds of white men marching through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, by torchlight this past summer? Why are black men and women sentenced more frequently and harshly for the same crimes as white men and women?
#American #culture #racism #NFL