As I write this, I’m watching a film in which Daniel Day Lewis portrays Abraham Lincoln during his effort to pass the Thirteenth Amendment. It’s only a movie, but the events it recreates are a matter of record. Millions of people believed that God created black people to be inferior and to serve white people. This is a matter of historical fact.
In case you think the movie depicts a bygone era, consider the fact that Roy Moore was just chosen by Alabama’s Republican voters to represent them in the upcoming senatorial election. This is the same Roy Moore who, as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, stated that homosexuality is “a violation of the laws of nature and of nature’s God upon which this nation and our laws are predicated,” believes that parts of this country are under Sharia law, and thinks that 9/11 was God’s punishment for our immoral behavior. To Moore, God’s law–no matter how discriminatory, racist, and even unconstitutional–is a matter of fact. It’s noteworthy that he would replace Jeff Sessions (Named after Jefferson Davis, the president of the confederacy), the current Attorney General of the United States (!), who has his own racist legacy.
Knowing that there are millions of Americans–as there were 150 years ago–who justify discrimination and hatred using God’s law or whatever pathetic rationale they can conjure up, how can anyone present a cogent argument that America’s minorities, particularly African-Americans, aren’t opposed (if not oppressed) by huge swaths of our population? Multiple independent studies demonstrate that African-Americans continue to be unfairly targeted by police. The African-American unemployment rate is about twice that of white people. Black men make 22% less than white men in the same jobs. Black people make up over 13% of the population, and 2% of corporate leadership. In short, black people aren’t paranoid; someone is really out to get them. If you look at these stats and come up with any other conclusion, you must be a flaming racist.
Recognizing the systemic racism that continues to exist in America–and blessed with the platform to call attention to it–Colin Kaepernick took a knee. Then Trump demeaned the presidency by calling him and his ilk a bunch of SOBs who should be fired, and white America got all pissed off that black football players aren’t respecting our veterans (What?). BTW, that’s not what they’ll tell you, so let’s pretend Colin Kaepernick wasn’t a black guy and he wasn’t protesting police brutality against minorities; would anybody really give nearly as much of a shit?
We live in a country where racism lives on, white nationalism is rearing it’s ugly head, and most of us are sitting and watching. Instead, Colin Kaepernick has probably sacrificed his career performing an act of nonviolent civil disobedience that forced us to shine a light on an ugly, undeniable truth. If you think that his silent protest wrecked your football game, I’m sorry, but get over it. Would you turn it off if some defensive lineman put a confederate flag in his waistband during the anthem? I didn’t think so. Kaepernick is not shaming our veterans, but he is shaming us. Good for him, and yes, shame on us.
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