In which I put this on Facebook the other day. Since it’s mine, I’m cross-posting here.
To the many, many white people in my timeline confused about the football thing:
Goodness, you really think these players are kneeling because they’ve been indoctrinated against toxic masculinity and/or wholesome American values?
THEY’RE PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL PLAYERS, for heaven’s sake, they literally embody masculinity and American values, by your own lights. It’s why you watch them. They’ve all experienced first-hand what it is to excel in a masculine endeavor, and what it is to actually “make it against all odds” in this nation, making millions for playing a game on TV.
A very quick bit of online research will show you that they’re peacefully — using a few moments of their time on TV, while you’re actually paying attention to them —
protesting the deaths of Americans.
Unarmed, innocent Americans, black and brown, killed and jailed, systematically, without repercussion, by the machinery of the state. Murdered by police officers (it happens all the time here in Minneapolis; children shot and killed, unarmed men shot and killed, innocent Americans SHOT and KILLED by cops who face no discipline for murder), incarcerated to feed the private prison wealth-generating machine, because of their color, overwhelmingly their skin color, more than any other measurable factor.
These problems are horrific and they exist, and have existed, and your ability to ignore them is wholly due to your whiteness.
If you think more black and brown people are dead and in jail because, well, that’s just how black and brown people are: they’re low class, in gangs, inherently more violent, they prefer ghettos, they’re tribal and ignorant and addicted and warlike by nature: UNPACK THAT. You either know it’s due to systematic economic disparity, or you believe black and brown people are inherently, genetically less civilized than yourself.
To rephrase, for emphasis: you either think it’s fine that people are routinely and systemically disadvantaged due to their skin color, which makes you a racist; or you think they’re lazy, which makes you a racist; or you think they’re fundamentally more criminal than whites, which makes you a racist. You might be a racist, no matter what you think you are, if you believe skin color has ANYTHING to do with how human beings are to be treated by other human beings. Read this paragraph again.
So that, friends, is why they kneel.
If you think otherwise, if you think they’re doing anything else, disrespecting the flag or using their fame to feed some weird form of entitlement, you are wrong, just wrong, incorrect; safe in your cocoon of whiteness, far, far less likely to be murdered by cops or incarcerated without due process like your darker co-Americans because of your skin color.
They kneel, for a few minutes while they’re on TV and you’re looking at them, the ONLY time you’re even thinking about them, to get you to quit being indignant and start being compassionate, to quietly and gently and without lectures encourage you to quit complaining about the so-called violation of your stupid, stupid entertainment and THINK, ask questions, wonder why, and take some time to learn what it means, here in 2017, to be black or brown in The United States of America.