Take a Knee, or Just Take It
Okay, you know what? I hear you. You feel that it is inherently disrespectful to not stand in reverence during the National Anthem. You feel it denigrates this nation that you or your forebears fought and/or died for. This angers you. This makes you sick. You are spitting mad.
I hear you.
Remember this for later. I HEAR YOU.
With that said, how, precisely would you like people of color to protest what is happening in this nation? Do you have a better idea? If QUIETLY AND PEACEFULLY TAKING A FUCKING KNEE doesn’t work for you, what WOULD you have them do? What will YOU hear?
I am really asking here. I can’t figure out what you WOULD have them do.
I mean, when POC march, rally, or protest, you call them thugs. Trouble makers. Lord knows that when POC are speaking their lived-in truths, you won’t hear them. (Scan your social media friend’s list right now, how many of them are non-white? I’ll wait.) When people take to the streets begging you to listen to the fact that black and brown folx are being incarcerated at unfair and inequitable rates, that they are far more likely to be shot in an non-confrontational scenario with police, that we as a nation are defunding schools and childcare and afternoon programs in areas of color (areas which exist, mind you, due to decades of redlining mortgages for anyone NOT light-beige) you don’t like that either. You call it rioting. You take inherently peaceful movements such as #BlackLivesMatter, and you lambast them as violent and you SCREAM that #AllLivesMatter — as though it isn’t a given that white lives have an inherent and obvious value in this land. You act and react as though taking a HASHTAG meant to draw attention to the grossly unfair treatment of black people in this nation is a personal affront, you attack it and #NotAllWhitePeople it into the ground until you have drowned out and muddied the message so thoroughly that half the damn nation never hears their initial point in the first place.
So, let us recap. To your mind, they can’t march. They cannot rally. They certainly can’t protest peacefully by quietly taking a knee during a SONG. They cannot take to social media and trend sixteen damn letters after a fucking pound sign. All of those things piss you off, make you angry, make you denigrate POC even more than you already do. You continue to other them, get angry at them, work to silence them. You put A LOT of effort into all of that. A whole lot. A phenomenal amount of effort goes into all of that.
So I ask you, I beg you. WHAT DO YOU WANT POC TO DO??
The truth is, I think I know. I’m pretty sure on this one. I think what you want is for them to shut up and take it. I think you want to continue to ignore the fact that a huge proportion of POC are even in this nation because once upon a time a group of white dudes wanted to build a new place— and they wanted to do it on the back of humans kidnapped, beaten, stolen from their homelands and forced to work FOR FREE in the most hellish conditions imaginable. You want to answer me that Lincoln freed the slaves, and that anything that continues today is THEIR FAULT. Nevermind that this flies roundly in the face of all studies, social science, and verifiable statistics. You want it to NOT be the fault of white people. You want to tell me that you are Not Racist. Hell, I bet the term “reverse racism” has even entered your mind at some point in the past three paragraphs.
Here is the issue — it ISN’T fair or equitable or equal in this nation, not by an incredibly long shot. By continuing to other POC, by continuing to deny the actual definition of terms like “privilege” and “racism” you can continue to live in your little bubble and pretend that you don’t have a hand in where things are right now. I am watching a PHENOMENAL amount of effort go into getting Big Mad about people kneeling during the anthem — these are NOT people flipping off the flag, mooning it, pissing on it, spitting on it, singing over the anthem, or even walking off the field. These are people RESPECTFULLY AND SILENTLY TAKING A KNEE. That makes you this angry? REALLY?
But black and brown people cannot be angry about being murdered in the street for the shade of their skin, or for the generations of legacy and white supremacy built upon that skin. How is that even remotely fair? How is what you are claiming not laughable?
Could it be that what is truly, deep down, honestly offending you is the fact that these are black and brown people who aren’t buying into your white narrative? Could it be that what is pissing you off so intensely is that your reality where you Are A Good White Person is being challenged? How many times over the past month has some form of “how dare they” crossed your mind? And, if you are truly honest in the privacy of your own thoughts — are you Big Mad that they are daring to quietly, passively, and peacefully take a knee, or is it that they are daring to challenge what you see as a status quo?
I walk (and roll) through this life with phenomenal privilege. I am white, middle class, somewhat educated. I have an ability to communicate, and carry incredible hetero privilege thanks to my having married a cishet white dude. My only clearly visible lack of privilege is my being mobility disabled, and on any given day that doesn’t stop me from screaming at the top of my lungs how intensely and incredibly unfair and hypocritical so many of you are.
So I scream. Again. But really, it is all shit — the simple and obvious fact of the matter is that I am not who you should be listening to. Not on this. I can’t help but feel that if you would stop your #ReverseRacism-ing and #NotAllWhitePeople-ing and #AllLivesMatter-ing and actually have a conversation with someone who isn’t white — you would maybe have less of an issue with as peaceful of a form of protest as quietly and respectfully kneeling during the National Anthem.
I remind you that this is the anthem of a country that so many never asked to be a part of. But they are here now, across generations of violence and untold pain and intensely unfair treatment which is continuing even now; and yet these non-white people are a monumental part of the successful side of how this nation has gotten to where it is. But you only take them if they exist in a way that YOU find palatable. Tell me, please, how that ISN’T white supremacy in action? How is it that the very fact that you will read my words and not theirs not inherently racist?
So, I will ask once again: what WOULD will have them do? No marching. No protesting. No hashtags. No quietly and respectfully kneeling for less than three minutes during a not-very-catchy song. Tell me what is left for those who are scared for their very lives, for the lives of their loved ones, who are existing in a nation built on their backs but without giving them even remotely equitable treatment or fair representation. Tell me what they can do that you WOULD find agreeable. Tell me what you would be okay with. Tell me what you would do in their shoes. I am, as I mentioned earlier, listening. I don’t think you are, but I am. So tell me. Please.
Here is the catch — it can’t be nothing. You cannot tell them to sit and take it, when you won’t shut the hell up and “take it” yourself over kneeling during the anthem.
#takeaknee #blackoutNFL #Ikneelwiththem #thisisthelasttimeyouseemesayingNotAllWhitePeople