The bravery of white people

I’ve spent the past few days wondering why everyone (i.e. white people) was so upset about Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest to the unfair treatment of people of color by a nation.

How brave, to call out from your armchair that nothing is wrong in America. To call from your ivory tower of sports commentary or Facebook status that Kaepernick is a “fucking idiot” or that “real heroes stand.” By the way, your clapping? Poor etiquette for the national anthem.

You’re right. Real heroes do stand. They stand up for what they believe in, and sometimes, that means sitting. Sitting during a ritual that we were trained and ingrained to respect. A flag and an anthem are nothing but the people behind them. Seems to me like speaking up, even as silent as sitting, is far more respectful that demanding respect.

Respect, after all, is earned.

We seem to have no problem supporting and vindicating black athletes as they destroy their bodies and minds for the love of the game, while they are disproportionately underrepresented in management of the game. Yet, when one of them speaks up about a belief he feels strongly in, he is rebuked, quite visibly, and quite violently.

This is a teaching opportunity; both positive and negative. If you haven’t done already, ask yourself two questions: one, why does Kaepernick have his belief, and two, why do you have yours? Really dig into that. (And who do you think has been doing more thinking lately on those questions?)

Do I understand what is happening in regards to race, religion, politics, and all the other crazy stuff happening in our world? No, absolutely not. I do know that I can’t remain silent in a world when we mourn a gorilla and black individuals are killed on a daily basis with no commentary. I can’t remain silent when I meet young black children and hope they don’t end up like the others.