About two weeks ago, I wrote about Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the American national anthem, and the implications it might have. Since then, everyone from pornstars (Mia Khalifa) to musicians (Kid Rock) to athletes across various sports have shared their views on it.
While there has been some support for ‘Kap’s actions, there has been plenty of detractors as well. Scrolling down my Facebook feed, I came across this article, in which former NFL Hall of Fame coach, Mike Ditka, says that he has “no respect” for Colin Kaepernick:
I have no respect for Colin Kaepernick — he probably has no respect for me, that’s his choice. My choice is, I like this country, I respect our flag, and I don’t see all the atrocities going on in this country that people say are going on.
Now, I’m not going to talk about Colin Kaepernick anymore. Not directly anyway. I’ve already said my peace on him.
Last week was sad, especially if you are a black or brown person in America, but not just because of the deaths of Terence Crutcher and Keith Scott. Rather, it was the reactions to their deaths that made last week so sad.
I have seen so many people, trying with all their might, to justify these shootings.
People have been trying to use logic to explain why it is fine for people to be shot and killed.
Let that sink in for a moment.
And then, there is another sect of people — like Ditka — who turn a blind eye to “the atrocities” that are going on. I’m not sure how, considering these instances of police brutality happen so frequently, almost as if they are becoming a sad sort of new-normal.
But I digress.
Whenever these incidents take place, so many try to say that race has nothing to do with them. This reveals the real issue: there are so many in America who — in the comfort of their ignorance and privilege — are afraid to talk about race, so they pretend it doesn’t exist.
So here we are, in a time where so many persons continue to choose comfort and convenience over education and understanding;
here we are, in a time when persons proclaim, with such pride that “all lives matter” while turning a blind eye to blacks and Latinos getting shot dead in the streets by police officers;
here we are, in a nation that clings to the ideas of patriotism and freedom for all — until someone tries to question the legitimacy of those ideas, asking whether those ideas are realities for everyone, or just a certain few. And then, they’re told to “get the hell out” of this great country.
But this is America.
The saddest part about all of this is I realized something about myself. When I first emigrated to the United States from The Bahamas and noticed these obvious racial disparities and tensions, I was passionate, full of vigor. How could folks not see that what was happening was wrong, I would wonder.
It just seemed like common sense to me.
It’s been two years now since then, and I am tired.
First, I found out about Terrence Crutcher. I kind of shrugged it off. It happens so often now, this cycle of police brutality and little to no repercussions for the officers involved; I had little hope that things would be any different this time.
Then, I heard about Keith Scott, and I shrugged that off too; just another name in an already long list. America had made me numb, at that point.
And then, the video that showed the last few moments of Scott’s life was released. I couldn’t just shrug that off.
It hurt that even after people saw Scott shot dead, with his hands up, that it still wasn’t enough; it still wasn’t enough to stop people from trying to give reasons why Scott getting his life taken by a police officer was fine.
But this is America, and everything is ok. We’ll just move on; like we always do.
Ladies and gentlemen, what will it take?
What will it take for people to unite and recognize how inhumane this has become?
Will it take another hail of bullets and more shattered dreams?
Will it take more people protesting this anthem that is so cherished and held dear?
I’ll leave you with the sounds of KRS-One, and this question:
What will it take to end this madness?