The Conversation on Race We’re Not Having…
We’re having the wrong racial conversation in America. Or a better phrasing, we’re doing quite well at not having the racial conversations we need to have.
Kaepernick has been at the apex of the news for his decision to quietly protest against the Star Spangled Banner by sitting. His argument is that there is disparate treatment for Black and Brown people in this country, and he can’t stand for an unjust system. But for some reason, people have an inability to show empathy for black and brown people, to step into their shoes for just a minute, look through their eyes and try to align with their pain. Why is it hard for people to show empathy? There’s a ton of reasons I’d imagine, but I think the framing of the discussion is key…
…in the last week, I have read articles with regard to politicians and executives that have taken what i think are racially abhorrent stances. Governor of Maine, after calling all drug dealers Shifty and D-Money and accusing them of impregnating white women on their way home (yes, he got to say that and really nobody said shit), has made the claim that blacks and hispanics are The Enemy, and that you shoot and kill The Enemy…This is followed up by Rudy Giuliani telling people that it’s not cops they should fear, but instead they should fear black children, and it’s the fault of black parents for not instilling more discipline in their kids. We end our Racism Trifeca with the onslaught of NFL football executives who have come out, anonymously of course, to say some of the most hate-filled things- from (simply) being called a traitor to being compared to murderer Rae Carruth- they believe he’ll be cut and never play in the NFL again. For sitting during the National Anthem.
But meanwhile, a Governor can, in the process of over-exaggerating the number of black and brown people convicted for durg offenses (He says “Binder 90% full of black and hispanics”- numbers more like 15%) essentially give a shoot to kill order on black and brown kids. Giuliani telling people it’s black parents faults simultaneously makes people look down on black people collectively, the kids, because they need to be feared, and the adults, who don’t have the moral code to enforce respectability. The NFL execs, behind a cloak of secrecy, help spread anti-blackness against not just Kaepernick, but ends up projecting into other facets- if the owners can hate him, then so can I.
Politicians propagate fear through the society about black and brown people. Police officers respond to the people and their fear by being particularly mindful (profiling) black and brown people. Black and brown people complain to deaf ears. Which is why Kaepernick acted.
The irony is most won’t see the connection.