“Food, Inc” is an amazing documentary that will scare the hell out of you. It examines our food system and how unhealthy our food truly is. After watching it I only ate grass and tree-bark the next three days. But since that time I have frequented many drive-thru windows. Why? Simply because I did not continue watching “Food, Inc” each day afterward. How fearful would we be of fast food if we watched that film daily? Fear is an animal which can only live if fed. Fear of black men lives on because the nation watches the equivalent of “Food, Inc” daily, only the subject is not food but black males–call it “Black Man, Inc.” We have been conditioned each and every day by the media to fear our darker brother and that “we” includes the police who always “fear for their lives” when shooting black men, even if unarmed.
Dear white people: this article is not for you. Continue to dig deep within your souls to find racism and perhaps we’ll connect later. Yes, racism exists. It has and continues to shape outcomes from housing and employment to police shootings rooted in white fear of “the darker brother.” Still, we should pretend Weezy is a genius and adopt his fantasy. Screaming about racism and posting articles on Facebook about the subject has never made you one dollar. Further, the most brilliant scholarship on the topic has seemingly not changed one thought in the collective conscience of white America. Toni Morrison said it best: racism is just one big distraction that “keeps you from doing your work.” The work is to ensure that our children no longer have to beg white people to be nicer to them.
Denver’s Brandon Marshall kicked off the NFL season Thursday by kneeling before the Anthem in protest. Marshall said that he “prayed long and hard about it” and he “felt it was the right thing to do.” His prayers did not stop him from losing an endorsement deal with Air Academy Federal Credit Union (AAFCU). Marshall knelt to protest injustice and police brutality in particular but AAFCU made it clear they didn’t give a damn about that. This is what happens when you protest but don’t own anything–your fate is always in the hands of someone else. We can stay angry about it or actually correct the issue at the root.
“Is this the nigger right here?” My grandfather was in his 20’s but if that white woman said “yes” his life was over. “No, he’s too tall,” she answered the policeman. Having grown up in Mississippi grandpa knew that encounter could have been fatal. Indeed, he knew a long history of black men who were lynched based on the mere (false) allegation of a white woman–no criminal trial needed. U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe chose to take a knee Sunday during the National Anthem in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick; now the 49ers quarterback is learning what my grandfather did years ago in Mississippi. White women have long possessed a unique value in mitigating black suffering and legitimizing black pain to a white world.
On Saturday Donald Trump visited a black church in Detroit. Trump’s visit made this much clear: the black church is a weak shell of itself. In an age where churches struggle for relevancy and politicians only stop by for votes, black pastors are willing to give Donald Trump (or Hillary Clinton) the floor for camera time and the illusion of access to circles of power. Rather than an institution that terrorizes the powerful with its message of truth and justice, the black church has been reduced to chasing the spotlight of “whosever will” come through the doors. Dr. King would roll in his grave.
Plenty of people are still mad at Colin Kaepernick and as I wrote before, they are quite hypocritical. More importantly, the entire ordeal has shed light on this ugly truth: racism doesn’t really bother the majority of Americans. In theory we all denounce the idea of “racism” but when confronted with it directly, it’s not a big deal. In 2013 NFL wideout Riley Cooper was caught on video using the “N-word” specifically to threaten violence against black people. Most of the country was embarrassed but not terribly offended.