By Parlee Jones
(my Sun’s birthday. He is a Black Man)
Colin Kaepernick did not stand during the national anthem at a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers in August, 2016. After the game, Kaepernick stated his decision to choose not to stand for the anthem saying, “I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed.”
Colin’s silent protest hit a nerve within me. Since that time, I, myself, and my children have not stood for the national anthem or pledge. I will continue to sit in silent protest for Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and all the other victims of murder by police that look like my sun. I am also tired of police brutality, the school to prison pipeline and other abuses under white supremacy and the present systems that control America.
I am an American. My ancestors on my dad’s side kidnapped and brought to America under the guise of slavery long ago. My mom’s people migrated from Italy.
I understand that some people may have a hard time separating peaceful protest and “disrespect of a flag and song,” but that is not a concern of mine.
Those folks are telling me that they see the value of a piece of cloth and words to a song mean more than the life of a Black man, woman or child. Kind of like a vote for Trump really says to me you are a racist. White folks may see this differently, but trust me when I say a majority of People of Color see you as racist if you voted for Trump. Regardless of your reasoning.
I know many that feel they live in two worlds. Many people of color have two lives. Myself included. Their time in the “business / work / corporate / professional” world (with white folks) and time at home w/ family and loved ones where the “social norms” are not expected and they can be free to live their true culture and way of life. Many people do this unconsciously.
W.E.B. Du Bois wrote over a century ago:
“It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness — an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”
There are many videos online with Fannie Lou Hammer, Marcus Garvey, James Baldwin, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and many others that speak on why Black Folks have been torn with their experience in America.
Some People of Color try to assimilate into “white society” and unfortunately, they are always reminded that they are not white. Some children / people who are “mixed” struggle with this dynamic. But that is another article for another time. One drop of Black blood made you Black back in the day … I’m just saying.
I will end saying this. If you are not a person of color, please do not try to tell People of Color what racism feels like or looks like, how they should react and how you think they should do something. You are not walking in our shoes and really have no idea of what you are talking about.
I say this with love and sincerity.
Peace & Blessings