by S.A. Prince
“If you don’t like it, then leave the country” has to be one of the most insensitive and ignorant pieces of subjective rhetoric I’ve heard spewed from the mouths of the discontent. It completely ignores the context in which something was presented, opting instead to ostracize and ridicule. Undoubtedly, it utterly obliterates any progressive conversation that should and could occur. It is a weapon that draws no blood, yet deeply wounds.
Is there any surprise that the bulk of sentiment emanating out of the black community is not of anger, but exasperation? How long must this continue? Where does the black community draw a line in the sand, choosing to stand firm against what it views as systemic oppression, and what does it mean when they do?
In Dallas, police officers were killed in a senseless act of retaliation. Clearly, that option is nonsensical, immoral and lacks foresight. We can all agree on that. Attacking police officers isn’t the appropriate response. It puts a target on every black person’s back, a target that many blacks feel has always been there.
Another method would be to create a public forum where black voices can be heard and respected, and in the process also show displeasure for the status quo. The problem with this method is that many whites fail to acknowledge the existence of a systemic oppression. From the white perspective all appears fair.
I guess that’s the saddest result of America’s racial conversation or lack thereof. Many whites fail to realize that the system as is, is oppressing them too. That ignorance is a form of privilege, and it is an ignorance that minorities cannot afford to ascribe to. The problem is not your everyday whites, because they too are victimized, less so than minorities, but still the fact remains. The problem is the system itself.
The oppression of minorities has been thrust into the limelight for decades, all the while casting a shadow over the systemic oppression that has eroded the white community. That is one of the greatest tricks ever pulled off by the elite. Use privilege and first-class citizenry to lull whites asleep. It has worked flawlessly.
Back to the aforementioned points. If blacks cannot violently respond to oppression (which I would not condone), nor does a discussion forum exist where sentiments are legitimately heard, and that whites will fully commit to participating in, then what options are left? The black community is on cusp of exploding like a shaken up pop. How many innocent lives, black and white, will be lost if that happens, if we can find no way to dissipate the built up pain and disenfranchisement?
America is suffering from a lack of compassion. Why are people voraciously cold-hearted as it relates to the black struggle? To continually ignore the outcry of blacks, never legitimizing any of their sentiments while choosing instead to respond in jest, is one of the ugliest acts of indifference I have witnessed.
Where is the concern for the treatment of your fellow countrymen? Why is it that so many non-blacks are quick to jump on the bandwagon of opposition against the Mike Browns, but are so hesitant to come out in full support of blacks struggle in instances where a black was unjustly treated? Maybe I am wrong, but it seems to me that every time a black is unjustly treated, you hear damn near complete silence from the same opposition that’s quick to point out black wrongdoing. This opposition, whether they may be individuals or groups, parades itself as an arbiter of justice and fairness, but lacks the objectivity and integrity to strongly stand against the unjust treatment of blacks.
Therefore, I fully support Colin Kaepernick’s right to protest the unjust treatment of minorities, and it isn’t fair for people to marginalize his decision, choosing to do everything except have a discussion about the “why.” I find this especially perplexing considering that its opposition comes from my fellow Americans, the many of us whom have allowed the Pledge of Allegiance to be removed from schools. When was the last time you heard of a parent teaching their kid the Pledge of Allegiance at all, or any stories where rebel children are protesting the system by standing up and saying the pledge regardless?
I get the criticism that he’s gotten. It’s ostracism from the Statist community, which most Americans are. It’s the same spirit that led Brent Musburger to call Olympians John Carlos and Tommie Smith “black skinned Stormtroopers.” You remember those guys, right? The two American sprinters held up a black-gloved fist in protest at the 1968 Olympics.
If you were at a restaurant and the restaurant messed up your order, would you sit there and accept that, or would you speak up? Most people would speak up. They’d call the waiter over, asking them to look the plate over, and voice their concern. That’s common sense, right?
No petition should come forth without fair criticism. There will always be a consequence for our actions, but where is the fair criticism of Kaepernick’s actions, a criticism that can actually help progress the quality of America’s racial narrative?
So my question non-black Americans is this: what is an acceptable way for the black community to express how they feel, a way that accurately expresses those sentiments, but also makes you comfortable enough to engage in a progressive racial discourse?
Please let the black community know, because we are longing to understand how we can have a reasonable racial discourse in this country. And by reasonable I am referring to non-blacks refraining from saying “If you don’t like it then leave,” or “I personally don’t mistreat any black.”
There is a huge difference between treating blacks justly, and standing up for the just treatment of blacks. This is what I believe many non-blacks fail to realize. I’ve talked to numerous white colleagues and friends, and they believe that because they don’t treat black people unjustly, then they aren’t a part of the problem. Yes, it is important to treat black people and all people justly, but it’s more important to take that personal effort to the next level. It is imperative that all non-blacks become actively engaged in the effort to bring to fruition the just treatment of blacks.
I leave you to ponder the words of Dr. King with me. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”