Ever since people started condemning the protests that broke out into violence saying “you can protest, but this is not the right way,” I immediately thought back to Colin Kaepernick and kneeling during the National Anthem.
Back then, they were saying the same thing about kneeling, “you can protest, but this is not the right way.” Essentially, they were saying “you can’t protest racial injustice because it makes us uncomfortable.” Period.
A particular quoted tweet from Steve Kerr said about everything you need to know about the comparison:
You’ve gotta be kidding me. How do you have the gall to say this? https://t.co/wfJowOaDRe— Steve Kerr (@SteveKerr) May 30, 2020
The man who went to a football game with no intention of ever staying as a publicity stunt against kneeling is now saying he will stand with Americans who peacefully protest. What a joke.
That brings us to the even more recent events of Lafayette Square and to a much lesser extent, Drew Brees’ comments on kneeling when he said: he will “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America.”
I’ll start with the lesser of the two, because when I originally saw the quote from Drew Brees I assumed it was an old recycled quote from 2016/20171. It’s so incredibly unfortunate that this attitude still exists because a) the National Anthem and the Flag do not solely represent the military, they represent the country as a whole; a country that allows people to criticize it for it’s flaws, and b) kneeling is not disrespectful, Kaepernick went so far as to speak with a member of the military to decide how he would peacefully and respectfully protest. Kneeling is a sign of respect, it’s what you do when a fellow athlete, whether a teammate or opponent, is injured; its the position you take when you pray, if you are so inclined. In this case, it’s our country that’s injured due to so many systemic problems that continue to be ignored.
And now we have the President of the United States of America using the military to forcefully remove peaceful protesters so he can have a fucking two minute photo op holding a bible in front of a church. He didn’t read from it, he didn’t pray, he didn’t even speak2.
So I have to ask, what’s more disrespectful to the military? Peacefully kneeling during the national anthem or using the military to clear out a 100% peaceful protest in front of a church in order to stage a photo op holding a bible?
I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.