1. We are NOT living in a post-racism society. Not even close.
I continue to be blown away by the racist response to this. From a thread on Facebook:
“Sorry, this isn’t 1950s America. Today, you can sit anywhere on the bus you want. Oppression is a strong word. Are there problems, yes. Do blacks have separate water fountains, have to use the back door, and cannot vote? No. There are a lot of issues within that community itself that keeps them a step behind as well. He can protest all he wants, but he’s way off base thinking that this country oppresses the African American community.”
Here is my response:
So … Racism is over (as far as you can tell) and they should be happy with what they get and pipe down?
Because that’s what it sounds like what you’re saying.
2. If you have a “gut feeling,” examine it closely.
As I said earlier to someone who admittedly didn’t know or bother to learn any of the relevant facts but “just had a gut feeling” that Kaepernick was doing this for attention:
“There is a word for it when you have that “gut feeling” that causes you to take a position that a black man exercising his first amendment right to protest is somehow offensive to you.
That gut feeling is called racism.”
3. Criticizing the status quo is not un-American. If we can’t even talk about racism, how do we address it?
From my friend, Tracy Carrothers:
“So… Staying seated during the pledge is not an acceptable protest, and protesting in the streets is not acceptable, and the speech Jesse Williams gave isn’t acceptable, and wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt isn’t acceptable.
Perhaps what we are really saying is don’t express discontent with the racism that exists in our country.
4. Patriotism? Let’s look at what that really means. Hint: It doesn’t mean draping yourself and flag while shutting down free speech.
People who wear American flag pins and get offended at protests are faux Patriots. And don’t understand America. Or at least my America.
The spirit of the nation is not some song or some flag. It’s the right to voice protest and seek social change when things aren’t right.
Here we have American citizen silently and non-violently protesting a situation in his country and he see as unjust. And – not for nothing – but he’s right! There is nothing more patriotic than that.
If you think his act/speech is saying “I hate America” I think you’re missing the point. To me, his act is saying “If we really value equality and liberty let’s pay attention to this issue and fix it.” Let’s aspire to a truly Great America. Not one where we just sing about it in a song or dress ourselves in the flag. But it’s core. It’s values. A place we can be proud of for being just and good. We’re not there yet. But we can get there.
5. Let’s not confuse our symbols with what this country should stand for.
Ignorance is elevating a symbol – a flag, an anthem – to such a degree that you forget or ignore what its supposed to stand for – free speech, the right to protest.
Or is that right just for white people?
6. Speaking up and pushing for change IS the American way. Starting uncomfortable conversations is Step One.
No one is saying you have to support him, but to seek to demonize him for exercising his right to speech by protesting is to misunderstand what this country stands for.
Being American isn’t wearing a flag pin on your lapel, or draping yourself in the flag.
That’s not being a patriot.
Being American is speaking out when there is a social wrong and seeking to fix it. So take whatever stance you want, but don’t pretend your stance is that of patriotism.
7. Presented without comment:
8. Have lost the ability to speak rationally about this and leave you with this:
Photo Credit: Associated Press/File
“Social is circulating the protest meme which puts Kaepernick deep into negative territory but he is getting some support out there. This is one that will be interesting to follow to see if the tide turns or the vitriol continues into the season.” – Howard K. 30dB