Three years, nine months, two weeks.
Since August 14th, 2016, professional athletes have continuously knelt during the National Anthem to protest racial injustice / prejudice and police brutality. Although, racial injustice as we know has been going on infinitely longer than just 2016.
We all likely know or at least familiar with the story behind the man who started the protesting…Colin Kaepernick.
His picture is now surfacing again on memes after another case of police brutality ends in death for George Floyd, a black man who was wrongfully executed. All four officers involved in the incident were fired from their positions. One of the officers used a technique (knee pressing head to pavement) that goes against department regulations.
Floyd said he could not breathe while the officer was applying the technique. He eventually passed out and later died once he was in medical care.
Luckily for us, the video surfaced and we saw everything we needed to see, regardless of what led to the incident. As someone said in a conversation the other day, what if there was video evidence to show what happened to Emmett Till? This is why videos are important in fighting a deeply rooted problem of our society.
What we do know is officers pursued an alleged suspect for the non-violent crime of forgery. They had him on the ground in cuffs. It was 4 to 1.
The officers used illegal tactics. We have no idea what led up to the point of violence because of when the video starts. Although it is being reported that Floyd allegedly “physically resisted” orders to get out of his vehicle.
Even so, that doesn’t changed the situation at hand. Which is the officers had the situation under control without using excessive force.
I am not here to speculate the what ifs. I can only formulate my thoughts on the what is. This video brought me back to the Eric Garner incident. Both are equally disgusting and should not have happened.
A man died because of excessive force by officers using a banned technique.
Now of course, the ones who vehemently defend the police officers will likely say something along the lines of “shouldn’t resist” or “officer’s don’t know if he is carrying” or “officers want to go home too.”
You don’t know what happened prior to just like I don’t. It would be insensitive of me to say “well, that’s what you signed up for” knowing it is a hard job to withhold. That would be a slap in the face to my friends who happen to be police officers. Just like saying the former is a slap in the face to my friends who happen to be a different race than I am.
It was easy to see that even if there was some case of resist, George Floyd was face down and in handcuffs as that piece of shit forced him to take his final breath.
At the end of the day, these officers can take off their uniform if they can’t correctly do the job that they are paid to do. A black person can’t take off the color of their skin.
I saw a tweet the other day and sent it to a couple of friends of mine because how hard it hit home for me. I sent this to them to let them know I appreciate them for the races they are running and that I will always have their back. If there is a time I don’t, please put me in check.
“I see no color is not the goal.”
I see your color and I honor you. I value your input. I will be educated about your lived experiences. I will work against the racism that harms you. You are beautiful. Tell me how to do better.
That’s the goal.
It fucking pisses me off to no end that we need affirmative action programs to give black people equal opportunity. It pisses me off that if I am pulled over by a police officer, I don’t have to worry about the same things someone who is black does. It pisses me off to see videos of people calling the cops on other people because of the color of their skin. I hate that white people hide behind alternative words like thug when they really mean the N word. They just don’t have the audacity to say it, not that I want them to.
There was a situation a few months back playing flag football where someone was talking about the amount of deaths during Mardi Gras. I never met this dude before in my life, but one single sentence told me everything I needed to know.
He looked around before saying and then whispered, “well, what do you expect from a bunch of dumb n-words?”
I looked at him dead in the face, chuckled and said “why did you whisper and look around before saying that?”
He went stone cold silent for a second before saying he didn’t mean it like that.
I said, “sure, you only dropped arguably the most offensive word in the English language. How did you mean it?”
No answer. He knew the context he meant it. Not that he should have been saying it to begin with.
Meanwhile, this dude came out there with someone who is black and was buddy-buddy with him no more than 10 minutes prior.
Cue the classic “I have a black friend” defense.
That’s because the goal posts continue to move for racism and racist behavior. People are better at hiding it. Well before I was born, it was common for white people to throw the word around loosely. It was even common to lynch black people in public streets. I am certainly glad I don’t live in those times.
Although, it is equally disgusting to see unarmed black people being mishandled and killed.
Is 2020 better for black people than 1920? Yes. Is it where it needs to be? No. Not even close. We will never see that in our lifetime. Our generation is trying rewrite centuries of oppression based on the color of skin.
We still see that oppression based on the number of black Americans living in impoverished housing communities or ghettos. Concepts such as redlining or mortgage discrimination made it exponentially harder for blacks to obtain quality housing, thus we see what it created in our inner cities. Those areas come with higher crimes, single parent households, poor education and other factors that lead to people playing with a not so full deck.
That is not to say it is impossible to make it out of those situations. It certainly isn’t. But it is improbable. It’s unfair to apply the outliers to the norm and hold them to the same standard of those in better situations.
Unfortunately, many turn to criminal lifestyles in order to live comfortably in their own worlds. I am not saying it is right. I am saying it is a symptom of a much larger problem.
One of the common narratives I have heard regarding those situations is they should apply themselves more and they can better their lives.
In my experience, it usually comes from someone who attended or who’s kids attend private schools. If you really believe that, why are you paying $12,000 per year or more for schooling? Send your child to a worse school if they can apply themselves accordingly. Save that money for their college fund.
The reality is there are significantly more hoops to jump through for the majority of black people than someone like me.
I was raised in a predominantly white community with a quality education and a middle class family. I had the pillars of success on my side (two parent home, education, financial stability among other aspects). I have friends who didn’t and I am proud of them for beating the odds.
It would be ignorant for me to pretend I am running the same race as some of my friends. I am not. Know that I will always be on board with supporting the narrative of racial injustice.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest problems with the fight of racial injustice is the narrative consistently being hijacked. Sometimes warranted, other times not.
A situation where the narrative will inevitably be hijacked is the current state of Minnesota.
After the tragic killing of George Floyd, the officers were fired, investigations will follow and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey spoke out against the actions of the officers. Will a prosecution occur? We can only hope so.
Protests were launched. The protests turned violent and now that is the major talking point today. That sucks. All it does is feed into the false narratives that racist people love to launch. It doesn’t excuse those narratives nor does it make them any more right. However, it does give weight to hijack for that echo chamber.
Instead of talking about law enforcement egregiously killing George Floyd, we will likely hear more about the violent protests in the coming days. As much as some people would like to say the protests are for unjust killing of black people. Those protests are not clear and concise in their messaging.
When you have people leading the charge of the narrative with clear and concise messages, you can win. Not in a sense of the fight is over. But ground can be obtained.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X are two shining examples of people who influenced change for the fight on racial equality. Neither of which used the same methods.
MLK took a more peaceful approach as opposed to Malcolm X who took a more violent approach. Both are equally important and both impacted change for the civil rights movement. Because of that, they are both icons of American History and Black History. They even made their way into pop culture.
X-Men characters Professor X (Dr. King) and Magneto (Malcolm X) were inspired from the ideas and philosophies of the two leaders. Professor X wanted a more harmonious approach to acceptance for mutants, while Magneto because of the violent history in his part wanted to take a more proactive approach.
Another pop culture rivalry inspired by the methodology of MLK and Malcolm X is Black Panther because of the duality of hero T’Challa and the more radical Erik Killmonger.
Both of those narratives gives you reason to sympathize with the more radical approach and not necessarily every method.
I do believe violence has a place. However, that message needs to be concise and clear because of the thin line violence totes. That was something Malcolm X knew well. The Ballot or the Bullet speech was a call for uprising in self-defense by any means necessary, not necessarily what we see today with protests of looting and burning.
When you attack random businesses and buildings, it does not convey a clear message. Thus the narrative gets hijacked. The real message becomes lost in the shuffle.
Another situation where the narrative was wrongly hijacked is the protests of Colin Kaepernick and other athletes. It was also a time where the conversation really began moving because professional athletes are held in high regard in the US whether people like it or not.
Those protests became less about racial injustice and police brutality to mean more about the manner in which the protests were being conducted. Yet, definitive answers on other ways to protest to keep the needle moving are a rarity.
Conversations are still being had all these years later. Protests by design are controversial. It forces the conversation to move. Unfortunately, the reason behind the protests quickly became lost in the shuffle.
The protests became more about the flag than the situation at hand. Thus here we are again and pictures of those protests are re-surfacing as a reminder to say, “this is why.”
Memes are surfacing with side by sides of the disgusting asshole who killed George Floyd and Colin Kaepernick because they were both ironically kneeling. In fact, LeBron James shared it to his social media.
I am happy to see the reminders of why it all started. People need to open their eyes and their hearts.
Unfortunately, Kaepernick himself is a glaring example of why the narrative of his protests was hijacked.
There was a time where I undoubtedly backed Colin Kaepernick tenfold for what he was doing. Those days are gone. I still back the message 100%. But, I find it hard to not roll my eyes when his name pops up.
Kaepernick is a classic case of right message and wrong messenger.
Before addressing the hypocrisies of Kaep, I want to address one major narrative that is completely false. “He is not good enough to be in the NFL.” That is a complete load of bullshit.
If you can tell me with a straight face that he is not “good enough” to be a back up or start, you are high off your rocker. The QB pool has become increasingly deep as most teams have their long term answer for starting QBs, as opposed to when he left the league.
In order to fit the narrative of him not being good enough, that means there are a minimum of 64 QBs out there who are better…wrong. Let’s just look at the back ups ahead of the season last year (2019)…
- Tyrod Taylor
- Teddy Bridgewater
- Nick Mullins
- Ryan Tannehill
- Daniel Jones
- Dwayne Haskins
- Josh Rosen
- Brett Hundley
- Matt Barkley
- Chase Daniel
- AJ McCarron
- Brian Hoyer
- Matt Moore
- Trevor Siemien
- Blake Bortles
- Robert Griffin III
- Mike Glennon
- Blaine Gabbert
- Geno Smith
- Josh McCown
- Josh Johnson
- Matt Schaub
- Drew Stanton
- Ryan Finley
- Jarrett Stidham
- Kyle Allen
- Mason Rudolph
- Gardner Minshew
- Cooper Rush
- Tim Boyle
- Brandon Allen
- Sean Mannion
Statistically, Kaep is better than most on that list and he has more playoff wins than any of them. Let’s just assume you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see that he’s better than most of them, if not all of them.
Is he being blackballed? Yes.
Is he good enough to be on a team? Yes.
However, he is not good enough to overcome the media circus and fallout that will come with him. Those protests led to the NFL suffering hits to their bottom line. It is a private business that has the right to take action as a result.
Let’s just put the “he’s not good” narrative to bed because you’re ignorantly misguided if you believe that.
Where Kaep has gone wrong is his inconsistencies of the narrative he started. He stood on the grounds of racial injustice in the US for protesting.
Meanwhile, he was seen donning a Fidel Castro shirt shortly after. In one breath, he talked about the unjust treatment of black people in the US, but then wears a shirt with someone’s face who was historically repressive to Cuban citizens. Not to be confused with oppressive, but still inhumane nonetheless.
I also find it hard to back people who paint with a broad brush. He did so when he wore socks with cops depicted as pigs. The unjust behavior that happens within the US with our police forces is inexcusable. However, I also don’t believe in painting all cops with that brush. When you wear shit like that, it does.
Now, he is standing on the grounds that the NFL will not give him a fair chance and he himself is fighting injustice. He refused to take a pay cut with the Broncos after he regressed for two seasons. His girlfriend’s tweets prevented him inking a deal with the Ravens to play under John Harbaugh, brother of Jim Harbaugh, who was the coach he played his most fruitful years under.
He recently had a tryout to throw his hat back in the ring. However, he moved it so the NFL couldn’t “skew” the narrative. The reality is, they didn’t have to because he did that himself when he pulled the stunt. Additionally, other football leagues have been interested in signing him including the CFL and XFL.
Once again, it is an example of why the narrative gets skewed. Unfortunately, every distraction that takes us away from the case at hand whether it is inconsistencies in logic or rioting. It is a game of tug-of-war where the right side of history that should win simply can’t win.
As much as we would like to paint every situation in black and white, there are too many shades of gray. One thing is for certain and black and white, we need to reverse the history of oppression toward black people. We need to come together and understand the pain they feel. We need to speak up for them when we see injustice unfolding.
Like the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said…
A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.
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