Tired of Derailment: #TakeAKnee Or Take A Seat

24 Sep

Black Lives MatterIf I had a dollar for every time a white person derailed a conversation about why unarmed Black men, women, and children should not be shot and killed by police officers and fellow citizens, and what it means when we say Black Lives Matter, I would not be sweating so much over how I am going to pay for my older daughter’s college next year.

I know I’ve said this before here, but it’s as if all of these people are reading from the exact same script. And, we know not be incredulous anymore. We’ve come to expect it. We’ve gotten good at knowing exactly what they’ll say next.  Any of these sound familiar to you?:

“But what about black on black crime?”

“Well, if only they had complied with the officer”

“He was no angel…”

“Why must they riot?”

“Why must they quietly kneel?”

“Taking a knee is showing disrespect for those that served this country for your right to be free.”

“Stop with the excuses. Everyone has the same opportunities. My parents came to this country and were able to make something for themselves through hard work and sacrifice.”

“I don’t see color.”

“Why do you make everything about race? That just divides us.”

 

I could go on and on, but I’ll just share one more concrete example of what happened last night on social media. I make poems out of my friends’ Status Updates on Facebook. Last night I created a poem which reflected sentiments on the President’s comments calling NFL players that “disrespect the flag” “sons of bitches,” of course, referring to Colin Kaepernick. Here is the poem:

facebook poem a day (made from your status updates)

#TakeAKnee

saturday seriousness: trump goes on
yet another nationalism rant
“if you don’t
condemn this
divisive rhetoric, you are
condoning it
“very fine people”
“sons of bitches”
guess that makes me
a proud bitch!
u bum StephenCurry30
already said
he ain’t going
so dreadfully wrong!
every nfl player,
coach,and owner should
take a knee sunday,
monday, and thursday to
stand up against
damnable unpresidential disgrace
I’m one of
countless military veterans
taking a knee. do not
exploit our service
to silence black americans
and endorse racism
white america,
it’s time to take a knee
kneel so hard sunday
the earth shakes

Poem contributors: Colette Phillips, Richard Sherman quote via seattletimes.com, Teresa Kaepernick (@b4lleaveu tweet) via Shaun King, LeBron James tweet via ShaRhonda Knott-Dawson, Kirk Byron James via Jim Vincent, @cmclymer tweet via Woke Folks, quote via www.johnpavlovitz.com, Kellie Salome quote via rettweet via Jeffrey Wright

 

Then, this thread happened:

Him: I stand to show my pride in being a veteran. I take a knee in prayer or proposal. I let everyone else do what they want.

Me: but do you support the reason why Colin Kaepernick is taking a knee, and his right to do so?
Him: Absolutely. Colin is free to make any statement. The NFL will make their decisions, based on their contractual expectations with regards to his employment. I do not support anyone’s privilege of getting compensated, for playing any game, to the tune of any 6 or 7 figure number of dollars per year. That is just disgusting. They are playing. Games. Kid stuff.

Me: payment of sports figure is not related to the issue at hand–it deflects from the seriousness of what people are fighting for.

 

Him: I believe Colin K. has a legitimate disagreement with how he and others are being treated. It’s his right to protest. If it interferes with his contractual obligations, he can protest on his own time, or he can go get a 5 figure job, like this hard working US veteran has. Better?

 

Me: again, when you tie in his salary or use the term to describe yourself as “hardworking US veteran” which no one is saying they don’t support veterans in this–that it’s a deflection from the real issue–it’s like saying but what about black on black crime. Why can’t it just be good enough to hear the cries of pain and outrage and say “we hear you. we support you. we believe racism is wrong too” and leave it at that instead of adding side opinions that don’t have anything to do with what Black people are fighting for.

 

Him: I know what black people are fighting for. It’s not anything I took or take away from them. It’s not something I owe them any more than I owe anyone else. In fact, I don’t look at it like an us or them situation. I don’t oppose what people fighting racism do, as long as they don’t blindly label me a racist, because that happens too. I’m one of the good guys, but I’m not “peaceful protesting” or marching with hundreds of like-minded people, when inevitably someone decides peaceful is not really working and it turns into a riot and we’re all labeled as rioters, or worse. My final point is…I do not listen to the opinions of disgustingly wealthy sanctioned sports players any more than I do the average person, because to me they are not celebrities at all. I do not celebrate their accomplishments as having any distinguishable merit, as in, for comparison, the merits of a teacher, a doctor, a warrior, a cancer researcher, a truly good-hearted politician, a lovely Jewish mother of two who dedicates much of her personal and professional time standing up for the people’s rights.

 

Me: there’s so much in here that I can’t get with, xxnamexx. and I Know you are capable of understanding all of it. By the very fact we were born with white skin, we live with the privilege and power that comes with it, even when we claim we aren’t racist, or we weren’t a part of slavery–that was years ago–we still benefit from the racist structures of oppression and inequities that impact people of color, and allow us to glide through life without the same obstacles–and it has nothing to do with the myth of the individual and pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. People of color never got the straps, and sometimes not even the boots. I understand you don’t want to give a celebrity more merit than any other voice. So, can you hear your neighbor who is Black and crying out for the same things Colin is, who happens to have more of a platform? And are we really one of the “good ones” when we keep the status quo and don’t act to break down these systems of oppression and inequality?

 

Him: In my opinion, he has no platform. You don’t see that. I never liked sports, only fitness and strength. I don’t watch sanctioned sports, never did. I don’t think they build character. I think they cause a mindset of privilege starting in High Schools all across this country. I was Class artist and it begins in HS. Didn’t matter what color you were. The “royalty” is always football. It’s BS. People of all colors have been born in rags and have become rich later in life. Inventors, scientists, teachers come from all races and walks of life. I see most people making one absolutely horrendous mistake, whether rich or poor, drugs. The majority of people don’t even consider alcohol to be a drug, and that is sad. In rich neighborhoods almost everyone is doing drugs, and it doesn’t really show, because they can afford to get an education, drive nice cars, dress nice, keep themselves clean AND afford their (fake luxury) drugs. So they can still seem respectable to most and get good jobs, but they still do really stupid stuff. Most poor people I know want to live the luxurious life too and so they do the drugs (fake luxury) that they can afford, with most of the other things being out of their reach. Trying to blame others for your poor choices is not for everyone, but it’s common for most everyone. I have no vices. I live like a monk. I do not celebrate human inebriation as a norm, nor the idiocy that it entails. The NFL is a HUGE proponent for people who like to get goofy headed with whoopty juice on the regular. I don’t believe in white privilege. I believe that evil is trying to take over, and drugs are a tool of the Devil. Not even a little glass of wine to relax. It’s just another drug. Plenty of rich black people out there who only hire their own. Plenty of poor whites nobody wants to hire are out there. All of them standing in line at the package store on Friday night. I don’t care if you’re guzzling MD 2020 and smoking crack, or snorting coke through a rolled up $100 bill and sipping champagne. It’s all drugs, and I HATE DRUGS. They keep people down. And they grant privilege. Nobody wants to hang with me and give me a good job because I won’t have a beer with them after work. I have lost jobs over that. Drugs grant privilege. I’m not one of the cool kids. We see the world through very different eyes.

Exhausted by the major derailment and denial of the existence of white privilege all I had left was this response:

train derailment gif

 

And, if I’m exhausted, think of how exhausting and disheartening is is for Black people who have to deal with the oppression, and systems of white supremacy, and be on the receiving end of this never ending invalidation of their experiences, and call to have their humanity and right to freedom and equality heard, and enforced.

I try to practice grace in all facets of my life, and I want to be able to have it when I enter into these conversations about racism and anti-racist efforts. I went to the “How White People Can Talk About Race With Other White People Who Don’t Get It Without Trying To “Win,” Or Fight With Facts, Or Try To Get Them To See Things Your Way, And, How To Not Be All Smug And Self-Righteous And Call Out, But Call In, And Don’t Think You Can Convert Someone, And Just Listen To Their Concerns And Fears” talks, and still this Jewish gal is going to have to atone this weekend on Yom Kippur for lacking grace during many of these conversations.

A fellow writer and activist, ShaRhonda Knott-Dawson, posted today on social media something to the effect that anti-racism is a verb.  It is my job to keep going.

I grew up in a household where my Dad had sports on continuous loop on our television, and Sundays were about pizza from Bacco’s and whatever game was on. I have not watched football since I left home at eighteen. Tonight I will turn the game on with hopes that our country will do something historic to show solidarity. That all of the players, coaches and owners and fans will take a knee. I have no time for derailment today.  Please, either #TakeAKnee or, take a seat.

 

_________

Sources:

tenor gif – train derailment

 

 

2 Responses to “Tired of Derailment: #TakeAKnee Or Take A Seat”

  1. Sherry Gordon September 28, 2017 at 4:45 pm #

    Dear Wendy Jane,

    Well, hi, there, Wendy Jane, and greetings and salutations to you and to you and FOR VERY ESPECIALLY FOR YOU, my and our so, so very sweet, loving, kind, caring, goodhearted, goodnatured, friendly, and sensitive soul sisterfriend, so, so very right on, wondrously wonderful white woman as a diligently conscientious and steadfast white anti-racist ally, writer, thinker, advocate, and educator who you’re For Always so, so very much!!!!!! WOW, my and our absolutely FANTASTIC sistah and friend, WOW, sistah!!!!! You have just gone straight to this black woman’s very, very heart, and very, very heart, mind, soul, and spirit with this beautiful, absolutely BRILLIANTLY BEAUTIFUL, lovingly heartfelt and sensitively caring blog post article straight from the very bottom of your heart from the deepest depths of your very heart with all that you have with all of your very being, Wendy Jane!!!!!! 🙂 <3 WOW, I so love this very beautiful title to this very special and endearing, engaging blog post article here, Wendy Jane, which is quite fitting and applicable to the great themes and topics of this very heartwarming and deeply sincere blog post article, sisterfriend of mine!!!!!! WOW, sistahfriend, I so, so very much love the beautiful, absolutely BEAUTIFUL photo of you here which you have as usual as always very graciously and generously featured and included with this very empowering blog post article with the great sign accompanying it which so validates, acknowledges, and recognizes us as your so, so very dearest and darling black sisterfriends and brotherfriends and how you just so, so very much love and cherish us in your very dearest and special, precious heart and spirit, Wendy Jane!!!!! WOW, sistah of mine, YOU have just so, so very much brightened this black woman's very day adding even more great cheer to my day and my very life and I just so, so very much love and cherish YOU, sistahfriend of mine, Wendy Jane, and how you as usual as always have our backs and how you stood up for us like in writing back and forth to your friend on Facebook who just didn't really understand as well as we would have liked him to with more clarity and sensitivity along with greater and more keenly aware racial awareness!!!!! YOU stood up for us, sistahfriend of mine and ours, Wendy Jane, and YOU and all you do just mean the world to me and mean so, so very much to me!!!!! I love how you have so, so very graciously and generously featured and included the empowering Facebook Status Update Poem here and a good part of the exchange you had on Facebook with the friend who just didn't seem to grasp it all and who we disagree with, sistah and friend of mine and ours, Wendy Jane!!!!!WOW, how very empowering for us as your so, so very dearest and darling black sisterfriends and brotherfriends with how you stood up for us and had our backs!!!!! I thank-YOU, thank-YOU, thank-YOU, Wendy Jane, so, so very profusely, dearly, kindly, and deeply, sistah!!!!! 🙂 <3 I just know how exhausted you are in dealing with, challenging, and confronting other less aware white persons yet YOU persevere, Wendy Jane, and you just keep on keeping on just being such an undaunted anti-racist ally and YOU, sister and friend of mine and ours, with your indomitable spirit you keep on trying and doing very effectively in such a productively proactive manner!!!!! I appreciate YOU, so, so very much, sister, and we ALL APPRECIATE YOU, sisterfriend, as your very special heart as your black sisters and brothers!!!!! Thank-YOU, thank-YOU, thank-YOU, Wendy Jane!!!!!! 🙂 <3
    It is so, so very right on, wondrously wonderful white women like YOU, sistahfriend, who just keep this disabled, indigent lesbian black woman keep on keeping on in keeping my very faith and hope alive with such a sweetly abiding and enduring positive optimism, Wendy Jane!!!!!! 🙂 <3 Sister, the picture which you have very graciously and generously featured and included of the train derailment with the woman in the photo is just perfect here, absolutely picture perfect, and just perfectly adds to, complements, and highlights how you are making your great point about being exhausted as you are so weary with how some white people come out with such major derailment and denial of the existence of white privilege as you have very wisely said here, my so, so very dearest and darling friend, Wendy Jane!!!!!!! I just so, so very much love, like, enjoy, and appreciate how you have shared and declared here, and affirmed us as your black sisterfriends and brotherfriends in the struggle with constant, ongoing oppression, racism, and discrimination and how we are exhausted as black peoples from all of this, my and our so, so very sweet white sister, Wendy Jane!!!!!! 🙂 <3 You truly as usual as always affirm, acknowledge, validate, and recognize us, my and our so, so very dearest and darling friend, Wendy Jane, with all of our struggles and with all of what we face, endure, and experience, Wendy Jane!!!!!! I am YOUR Christian ally, my and our so, so very sweet and absolutely AWESOME Jewish sistahfriend, and YOU, too, face, endure, and experience such vile antisemitism,oppression, hate, and discrimination!!!!! I love you so, so very much, my so, so very sweet white and Jewish sistah and friend, Wendy Jane, and I'm here for YOU as your Christian ally!!!!!! 🙂 <3 We all as Jewish and Black peoples share very much in common and YOU, sistah, and other wonderful Jewish persons in the past and continuing to the present have such a lovingly strong history of being there for us as your black sisterfriends and brotherfriends like with the Civil Rights Movement but also throughout all of history!1!!!! And as a white woman, my so, so very sweet sisterfriend, YOU are oppressed as a white woman via vile and perniciously pervasive sexism, misogyny, and patriarchy, Wendy Jane as the woman and white woman who you are for sure very much indeed!!!!!! 🙂 <3 YOU really do have such grace, sister and friend, and your deep grace manifests itself in all of your life, Wendy Jane, and with all of the folks you come across and with whom you interact with, my friend!!!!! You are exhausted dealing with less aware and less enlightened white persons but you are still such a tireless anti-racist worker, advocate, thinker and doer, writer, and educator, my dear, dearest and precious, Wendy Jane!!!!!! 🙂 <3 I so, so very much love, like, enjoy, and appreciate your powerful conclusion to this awesome blog post article here by absolutely AWESOME YOU, Wendy Jane, and, in fact, I so love all of this great blog post article in all of its astounding entirety. The last two sentences just say it all and I so, so very much love, like, enjoy, and appreciate your very powerful and uncompromising no-nonsense approach here!!!!! WOW, Wendy Jane, YOU are just the very greatest and the best and such the very, very epitome of such overall awesomeness, my sweet friend!!!!!!! YAY for YOU, Wendy Jane!!!!! YAY for all you do in doing your absolutely very best striving so much and so hard with your anti-racist allyship and in your unwavering solidarity!!!!!! YAY for all of your outstanding blog post articles and other very fine and excellent writings, and with all you do so well in such magnificent fashion!!!!! YAY for our very sisterhood and friendship, Wendy Jane!!!!! WOW!!!!!! YAY!!!!!! YAY YAY YAY YAY!!!!!!! 🙂 <3 Please have such a thrilling and totally terrific Thursday, a wondrously wonderful weekend ahead, and may all of your very days be so, so very especially blessed, Wendy Jane!!!!!! A Very, Very Nice, Special, Blessed, and A Very, Very Happy and Holy Yom Kippur coming up this weekend, sistah!!!!!! 🙂 <3 Sistahfriend, YOU have our So, So Very Sweet, Good God's Holy Spirit, and I am just so, so very immensely blessed by YOU, sistah and friend, Wendy Jane, as I know that very many other people are as well!!!!!!!! 🙂 <3 Sisterfriend, God so, so very much loves and cherishes YOU, Wendy Jane, and so do I, so do we all A WHOLE BUNCH!!!!!!!!! 🙂 <3 Sister, YOU have just made my day even brighter with such even more added cheer, Wendy Jane, as usual as always!!!!!1 Thank-YOU!!!!!!! 🙂 <3

    Very Warmly and Sincerely For Always, my so, so very For Always awesomely precious and dearly special soul sisterfriend Jewish and white woman who you're For Always so, so very much, Wendy Jane, sister of mine, and with My and the Holy Spirit's Very Peace and Love For YOU FOR ALWAYS, friend of mine, and with Such Blessings and Such Very Even More Blessings For YOU FOR ALWAYS, sisterfriend of mine, 🙂 <3

    Yours For Always soul sisterfriend black woman and For Always in the very great spirit of unity and solidarity, Sherry Gordon in Iowa City, Iowa 🙂 <3

    • Wendy Jane October 6, 2017 at 10:16 pm #

      Hi Sherry,

      As always, thank you so, so much for reading this post, and for taking time out to so thoroughly comment, and for encouraging me, and supporting me, and for recognizing that we do have a shared history of working together for civil rights..I still do wish I had as much grace as you have, and I just can’t put into words how much your encouragement and acknowledgement of me trying to put some things into words, to make sense of the ugliness that abounds, but that I will not let break me for trying…well, it means the world to me.

      Love your sisterfriend in solidarity <3

      Wendy Jane

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