I will rarely express my political views about anything because I find them to be utterly useless in any social arena. I find it equally useless to talk about social issues because ultimately the discussion breaks down into a left vs. right argument instead of a discussion that yields problem solving techniques and solutions. But, today will be a little different.
First off, let me say this: I don’t have all of the answers nor will I attempt to justify or articulate the reasons why for all of these things that are happening in America today. However, I will say that as a child from a military family, a former athlete, and a man who has had to deal with some consequences of being a minority, I feel that I should speak on some of them.
1) Racism in America: First off, let me define through a practical application of what racism is. Racism is the isolation of an ethnic group by either denigrating single or multiple groups by another in an effort to improve the status of another. For example, Adolf Hitler was a racist. The KKK, at the time of their establishment, was racist. You folks get the idea.
Part of the problem is that everyone in the NFL who is kneeling to activate themselves in the face of oppression isn’t helping their cause. They’re actually being more divisive. What these men don’t understand is that their objection is cultural and not legislative. The problem isn’t the senseless killing. The problem is that the protests are by men who embrace their heritage but don’t condone the negative images that it portrays. You see these men mimicking the mannerisms and behaviors of their successful peers but don’t pay attention to what brings that success especially with regards to music. Some of the elements include drugs, guns, violence, and the open resentment of authority. Now, I understand that some of these people don’t have the luxury of living in an environment that don’t produce a better opportunity at a life where one doesn’t have to worry about things like that. I totally get that. But, those things don’t necessarily make you obligated to “be about that action” as Marshawn Lynch would say. The sad thing is that if one wants a better life for themselves, they would be accused of “selling out.” You can’t act the part and live the life and not expect to be treated as a degenerative influence. Now, some of the shootings were bad. I talked with a Canyon PD officer who shared his thoughts and opinions and I found myself to be in agreement. His ethnic background is irrelevant as it compares to his objectivity within the situation. He said that some were bad and some were justified. I agreed with him. It doesn’t mean I’m an “Uncle Tom.” It doesn’t mean that I’m an enemy of my race. It means that I can’t sit here and condone the actions of people just because they refuse to be accountable for their individual actions or choices. You can’t act a certain way that promotes antagonism and expect to be treated fairly. Simply put, you get what you give. If you offer a reason to be mistreated, the odds are you will be. You can’t stand around and disrespect authority and seek a fair and just response. Now, I get that this isn’t always the case but in my experience, I get treated much in the same way I treat them.
Finally, if you want to work towards a solution for racism, here’s one: Work to end it across the board because black people wanting equal and fair treatment for themselves is inherently racist. Equality isn’t something you can take from someone and add to yourself. It isn’t a finite resource to be fought over and coveted. History is replete with examples of people warring over such a thing only for the victor to be given more avenues to further subjugate and marginalize each other. It’s unfortunate but as a people, we are incapable of demonstrating the necessary ability to not commit acts of ethnic patriotism, for lack of a better way to put it, against one another.
2) Protesting the Anthem: As a military child, I will always support the American Flag and National Anthem. This country we live in isn’t perfect but the total disrespect being shown by athletes during the ceremony is contemptible. Men and women have died so you can sit there and demonstrate your discontent with the social climate. You can express that all you like; however, there are places in this world where you would be executed for such things. You have a problem? Okay, power to you for offering a solution. But, you’re not offering solutions. You’re using your profession as a platform for political and social reform. You’re being paid millions to play a game. If you want to affect change, do it through affecting policy or the climate in your community. You won’t do it through your demeanor at work because some people would rather fire you than have to deal with your personal circus in the workplace. If you ever doubt that, you can ask Kaepernick, Terrell Owens, Greg Hardy, Ray Rice, or any other person who has red flags because of their personal behavior or politics. Honoring your home, despite its flaws, speaks more about you than complaining about the injustices you do not suffer. You don’t have to be a patriot. Just don’t be a divisive influence because it makes your hypocrisy more evident when you protest and do nothing to promote positive changes.
I get you don’t like the state of affairs. Nobody is accusing you of being oblivious or ignorant of them. What you are being accused of is being an idle force. If you’re protesting, you can also be active in the community and use your voice productively. If you’re not, you’re merely an inert element in a turbulent situation. Which sadly translates to being a part of the problem by not being part of the solution. Sorry athletes, you’re not doing much of anything unless you’re promoting change. Donating money doesn’t mean you’re doing anything, either. You gotta be in the field living out the kind of behavior you want others to show.
3) Trump’s Comments: Oh boy, did he drop a bomb here. But, his comments are indeed fair and here is why: If any one of us walked into our workplace and started a movement that was clearly divisive and disruptive to the integrity and quality of the product, we would be fired for it. Plain and simple. The hitch here is that the players are ultimately accountable to the fans and the owners have a responsibility to the fans. The players are entertainers with no podium other than Twitter and Facebook to express themselves. Trump used his podium, as the elected head of this country, to express his thoughts as to the social climate of the U.S. Calling them a “son of a bitch” wasn’t wise but he did raise a good point. They want to agitate an already inflammatory situation without dealing with the consequences. As a result, they are angry for him expressing his discontent with their actions. For better or worse, Trump has to bear the consequences of what comes out of his mouth just like we do. Unfortunately for him, the spotlight is a lot brighter for him than it is for an athlete.
His comment wasn’t racially motivated. If anything, it was patriotic and in defense of the sacrifices the military makes daily to preserve the American way of life. Or, at the very least, what we hope it one day can be. Furthermore, any person who has a problem is welcome to go somewhere else. There’s nothing saying they can’t go anywhere that is more amenable to their sensibilities. But, since they would rather stay and voice their issues, it isn’t as big of a problem as they want to lead others to believe. As evident as it is, keeping quiet just isn’t an acceptable option. You can ask Dez Bryant about that.
As always, these are my thoughts and opinions. I welcome discussion and your thoughts.
Until next time…