Take a Knee
To those of you in the US who can’t stop pontificating about the ‘flag protest’ and ‘anthem protest’, can you at least be honest and stop calling it that?
Because we all know that’s not what #taketheknee is. Nobody’s protesting your flag or national anthem. It’s a peaceful action NFL players are engaged in to bring attention to racial injustice that remains all too systemic in the US. If that’s not something you want to have a conversation about, fine. Americans have never been very good at talking about race – I hardly expect you to begin now. But please stop wrapping yourself in the flag as an excuse to avoid that conversation.
In Take a Knee: The revenge of Colin Kaepernick, published in n+1, Stephen Squibb writes:
BEFORE THE COPS BOUGHT DYLANN ROOF a burger after he killed nine people in a South Carolina bible study and before Michael Slager shot Walter Scott in the back after a traffic stop and then planted evidence on his body; before Daniel Pantaleo choked Eric Garner to death on camera and Jeronimo Yanez killed Philando Castile for legally owning a gun; before Sandra Bland was found hanging in police custody and Heather Heyer was run over by the fascist James Harris Fields, Jr., and the police told the media he was “just scared”; before Jeremy Joseph Christian told two young women of color on a train in Portland, Oregon to go back to Saudi Arabia and then stabbed to death two of the three men who rose to defend them—“I’m a patriot! This is what liberalism gets you!” he shouted in court—before James Harris Jackson came to New York from Baltimore for the purpose of killing black men and stabbed 66-year-old Timothy Caughman to death while he was collecting cans; before John Russell Houser killed two women in a movie theater for watching a feminist film and before Robert Lewis Dear, Jr. was captured alive after killing three people—one of them a cop—in a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood; before the police killed Freddie Gray in the back of a van and 12-year-old Tamir Rice in a park in Cleveland; after so many thousands of others but before all of these, officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown when he was standing in the middle of the street with his hands up in Ferguson, Missouri.
Wilson thought he was just killing an animal, an angry beast with the temerity to do something other than what he said exactly when and how he said it. The courts and his fellow officers agreed with him, and he was rewarded with early retirement. But Wilson wasn’t killing a creature like a dog or a pig whose complex emotional lives we routinely torture and destroy without consequence. He was killing a citizen of the United States of America, and these creatures are stubborn.
I posted the first two paragraphs above on my Facebook page where just two people to whom this was directed responded — by, predictably, trying to deflect the conversation to anything but what the protests are actually about. If you care to chime in, or simply read, here you go: