There have been a variety of actions taken during the anthem over its history. Colin Kaepernick’s latest action isn’t the first and it certainly won’t be the last. The arguments are always the same. There’s the love it or leave crowd like Mike Ditka represents this time around. There’s the attacking the messenger crowd who say someone like Mr. Kaepernick has no business spotlighting such issues given his financial well being. Then there’s the crowd that points out his lack of production as a quarterback so we should ignore anything he has to say. Finally, there are those who think his actions are divisive and only further the divide in this country. This last argument is the one I want to focus on.
The reason I want to focus on the divisiveness argument is because it attempts to come across as legitimately caring about the divide in this country but it wreaks of systemic white supremacy. The argument goes something like this: Even though Colin Kaepernick has legitimate points, the way he is going about it is only causing a greater divide and ultimately not accomplishing what he had hoped it would accomplish. In other words, his attempt at bringing attention to a much needed social scar is only causing more problems.
Systemic white supremacy is an insidious psychosis that runs deep across all the demographics it encounters.
- It can infect white folks, people of color and indigenous people as well.
- It infects all genders and all sexes.
- It’s a worldwide pandemic that we don’t recognize as one.
When we do see it, we simply write it off as some bad apples spoiling the bunch. However, systemic white supremacy moves beyond the individual. It infiltrates the very social fabric of our lives. It has become the foundation of many of our institutions which collectively make up our larger systems. Our education system, financial system, political system, and economic system are some of the major players infected by this psychosis. If we look at the leadership, policy makers, board members, hiring practices, monetary practices, and historical records of these systems there is no doubt that systemic white supremacy has and continues to rule the day. How else do we explain after 240 years, a country still divided by skin pigmentation?
Blaming Colin Kaepernick for furthering the racial divide is like me spitting into the Grand Canyon and then being blamed for its continued erosion. It’s delusional and beyond shortsighted. Being born and raised in a country infected with systemic white supremacy warps our common sense. We ignore the overwhelming amount of evidence in favor of a simple minded narrative that fits our comfort level. Blaming Colin Kaepernick takes the responsibility off of us. As a white guy I know this pattern all to well. This is our script and has been for centuries.
Instead of looking at the psychology of the folks who claim Mr. Kaepernick’s actions are divisive, we blame Kaepernick himself. Some claim his statement is an outright lie. This is where the psychosis runs deep. When someone’s narrative ignores or justifies centuries of brutality and murder by white dominated systems upon people of color then the disease is full blown in that particular individual. The systems have influenced, perpetuated and reinforced a narrative that simply devours an individual’s ability to think critically.
Colin Kaepernick is not divisive.
A country that continues to oppress, exploit and murder domestically and abroad and has never seriously addressed it’s racist past is divisive. Colin Kaepernick is just another individual in a long history of individuals to point out the obvious. Unfortunately, those of us riddled with this psychosis will continue to shun the few who stand up against the narrative created by our systems, while the rest of us drink the red, white and blue Kool-Aid it provides on a daily basis.
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