Not that another black body needed to be put down with unnecessary force by police to substantiate the protest of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Mr. Colin Kaepernick, but one did recently in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and now the action of Mr. Kaepernick refusing to stand for the national anthem has a more current context, one that’s quite difficult for his critics to dismiss or argue against.
It’s sad that the many acts of police violence afflicted upon black men and women in the 21st Century weren’t perceived by his dissenters as egregious enough to warrant a protest from Mr. Kaepernick, though the killing of Mr. Terence Crutcher, a 40 year-old black father who last Friday night was shot once with his hands in the air by officer Betty Shelby, has, at least for the moment, silenced said dissenters and offered an unnecessary validation to the football star’s resistance.
The truth is, though, that Mr. Kaepernick decision to protest needed not any validation other than the reasoning which sparked it: the long-standing oppression of black people in America and the lack of consequences for police officers who take their lives without cause. Despite the facts which established Mr. Kaepernick’s protest being indisputable, many Americans aimed to convolute his message by weaving in anti-police and anti-veteran rhetoric, asserting that sitting or kneeling during the national anthem was disrespectful to veterans – this coming from people who’ve likely never advocated with rigor on behalf of vulnerable veterans.
Of course, in his statement about his protest, Mr. Kaepernick never denounced either the police or the military. What he did do was acknowledge that “there are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder,” which by all accounts is true.
As was the case two years ago with Mr. Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Mr. Crutcher, who prior to his interaction with police was traveling from a music appreciation class at a nearby community college when his vehicle broke down, was left in the street bleeding following the single gunshot from a white officer whose husband, also a police officer, was in a helicopter above and described the now deceased man as a “bad dude.”
A form of oppression is a mis-perception of a people perpetuated in society until its falsehoods are normalized and accepted as fact. The idea that a black man could be perceived as a bad dude from an aerial view is germane to the despicable notion that blacks are both prone to violence and more than likely aren’t innocent in any given moment. It’s that attitude and more which called Mr. Kaepernick, and soon thereafter other football players, celebrities and elected officials, to resist saluting a country that appears to find this level of bias and violence acceptable.
Today Mrs. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee for President who visited Philadelphia yesterday to appeal to millennial voters, addressed the shooting of Mr. Crutcher – which now has the attention of the Department of Justice, who’s looking to see whether the deceased’s civil rights were violated – and said “we’ve got to improve policing, to go right at implicit bias.” Mrs. Clinton, regarding the fatal incident, also asked rhetorically: “How many times do we have to see this in our country?”
No one knows for how much longer injustice will endure. But for as long as it does, it’s my hope that Mr. Kaepernick, and all those individuals who are conscious enough to understand the serious problem of racism we face as a country, continue to agitate the public with various forms of protest; for the demonstration, no matter its manner, is warranted and substantiated by past and present circumstances.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
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