Take a Knee
I wrote the column below three years ago on Sept 17, 2017 right after Bruce Maxwell took a knee before a baseball game. Sadly, three years later it is still relevant and since I can’t seem to write about baseball right now, I’m going to leave this at the top of my queue.
You can’t equivocate on this issue, our country has tried to sweep it under the carpet ever since the Black Panthers stopped having a voice, but instead of black Americans getting hanged they have simply been shot at an alarming percentage compared to their Caucasian brothers.
I was disappointed last year when Colin Kaepernick took a knee but did so by himself. Where was the Pee Wee Reese moment where his Caucasian teammate would kneel next to him? A year later the movement has spread as President Trump galvanized the players by making a typically anti-constitutional comment. It must drive him crazy that he is not a monarch and that our country has a whole series of checks and balances that he still trying to figure out ways to dodge.
Just as he dodged the draft, he has never served anything but himself, so when the blowhard tweeted that people should be fired for protesting, just proves once again, that President Trump has no idea what this country is supposed to be about.
His henchman Mike Huckaby had this to say:
The former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee said on Fox News, “I wish that some of these players who get on one knee would get on both knees and thank God they live in the United States.”
Seeming to ignore the entire history of the African American world. The world in which they were kidnapped from their country to work as slaves in our country. The country which continued to hang them for a myriad of reasons, most of which were simply because they were black.
Most of my life I’ve felt the people who died in the Civil War is the price this country paid for slavery
Roughly 2% of the population, an estimated 620,000 men, lost their lives in the line of duty. Taken as a percentage of today’s population, the toll would have risen as high as 6 million souls.
and that should have closed the book on the Caucasian guilt of what they did to the people of color but the book never closes. Whatever lessons we should have learned we did not as we progressively moved through each segment of the color chart of the human experience, Native American, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, South American. You name a color the United States has smeared that color rather than embrace it. First, we brought you here to do the worst jobs we had and then hated you for doing them. Almost a psychopathic display of non-Christian attitudes.
The ongoing protest is now about the percentage of people of color who are being murdered by the police force of the United States but it could just as easily be about all of the inequity of our system. I’ll even admit that for most of my life I assumed every shooting was for just cause, but seventeen years ago the Los Angeles Police Department shot a black American at a Halloween Party and the reason behind it did not hold water. Ever since that incident, I have had an open eye to the victim of a police shooting.
I won’t pretend to understand the pressures a police person goes through to do their job, but I do know that if you are going to take the job as a police person you can’t simply kill the people you have been hired to protect every time you feel you are in danger. It is obvious that major training needs to happen, and that some of the police people involved in shooting unarmed people of color need to be held more accountable for their crime than simply losing their jobs.
Should an athlete who has made it thank God they live in the United States? He should thank his athletic skills because without those skills he would have had a 10% chance of being incarcerated in this great country of ours.
I can understand a Caucasian person taking a knee and thanking God if they happen to believe in God for being born in the United States, I don’t believe that holds true for people of color, and until it does, taking a knee during the National Anthem is a very pacifistic way of protesting the gross inequities of this nation between people of color and us white folk.
Last year after Colin Kaepernick took his knee I was at a Clipper game, I really wanted to take a knee but didn’t. I lost a little bit of respect for myself that night.
The 2000 Census counted 14,128 people living in Cullman, Alabama, a city in the northern part of the state, halfway between Huntsville and Birmingham. Forty-eight of those residents were black. Baseball took Bruce Maxwell an hour down the road to Cullman that year for a tournament. He was just shy of 10 years old, mature enough to understand that almost nobody there looked like him, innocent enough to believe it didn’t matter. His father was African-American. His mother was white. He couldn’t control who he was.
“We won the tournament,” Maxwell said, “and a man stood up in the stands. And he threatened to hang me and my dad.”