With the backdrop of consistent unrest throughout the U.S. for months stemming from the masses of people expressing their fatigue at seeing repeated terrorist police shootings of unarmed African people, the NFL played its first game. The players for the Houston Texans remained in the locker room during the playing of the so-called national anthem and the “Black” National Anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” (performed by artist Alicia Keys). The Kansas City players, ironically still sporting a racist mascot name against the Indigenous people’s of the Western Hemisphere, took the field during the playing of each song. Once both teams were on the field, the teams joined hands for a moment of silence against white supremacy. The NFL, unlike Major League Baseball or the National Basketball Association, chose to permit fans to attend games this season. Approximately 16,000 fans were present during this initial game. And, when the moment of silence took place, many of those fans were heard, on national television, booing that expression.
For people who’s eyes are wide open to what this country represents, what its always represented, and what it will always represent, this reaction in Kansas City was no surprise. It was actually a welcome sight because we prefer to deal with concrete reality in life. Too often, so much in this bourgeoisie society is muddled in confusion and subterfuge. The booing of a simple moment of silence, not a protest of any kind. Not a rally. Not a demonstration. Not urban unrest. Just a simple moment of unity and silence. And, it was widely booed.
That reaction further confirms what some of us have been telling you for centuries. There is no space or time in the last 500+ years when our cries for justice haven’t been meant with contempt, dismissal, and often violence. During chattel slavery, from the late 1400s through the mid to late 1800s, every single effort to express opposition to the brutal and inhumane treatment that represented our day to day experiences, was routinely met with a chorus of voices who were quick to deny and refute any effort to confirm our humanity. In the proceeding 100 years of legalized racial discrimination called “Jim Crow” or so-called “separate, but equal” (untrue), the moment any of us challenged the morality and legality of a system that institutionalized racial discrimination (while enforcing it with state sponsored terrorism), there were always plenty of voices who dismissed and denied our suffering. And, today, when we still simply cry out for justice, there are more than enough voices who continue to deny the legitimacy of our quest for the right to exist.
If you are reading this and you are a person of any level of integrity, there is absolutely no way that you should ever let anyone say again in your presence that they oppose the protests because of any reason they can conjure up. Clearly, they are not opposed to “rioting” as they claim. If they were, they would have to oppose everything in this country since the country was looted from the Indigenous people. They certainly couldn’t ever sanction the existence or visiting museums since those places are nothing, but celebrations of the European looting spree of the entire planet. They cannot claim to support “peaceful protests.” Even if you know someone who believed that lie when Colin Kaepernick carried out “peaceful protesting” four years ago, the fact these barbaric people booed a quiet show of unity does everything to shatter that myth about the issue being the type of protest.
The truth, which has always been the truth underneath all the horse manure that poses as honest dialogue in this backward society, is that this society depends upon our oppression for its very existence. As a result, any expression we wage to exhort our dignity as human beings is a threat to the existence of this empire. Consequently, the people who identify with the empire, no matter who they are, understand consciously or unconsciously that in order to protect this oppressive society, they must oppose any statement we make asserting our rights. And, by booing a moment of silence, they simply confirm this. Also, this reality proves regardless of what the athletes, including Kaepernick say, that the protests (even if the athletes don’t fully realize it) have always been about the flag and the military as well as police terrorism. The truth is you cannot separate any of that. The flag is the symbol of the country that denies our oppression and continues to manifest that exploitation. The military is the instrument that protects the interest of the empire. Trying to separate the flag, anthem, military, etc., from police terrorism is like trying to separate love from a relationship. You may have something that fools people on the surface, but in truth, there can be no substance to that equation.
By booing a simple act by players from all nationalities to express unity in silence, it should be clear that there is a large segment of this society who have never wanted justice for us and who never will. Its obvious that in professional baseball, basketball, football, etc., we are seeing plenty of European (white) athletes who are having no problem standing in solidarity with their African teammates against police terrorism. I would imagine they do this because they live in close proximity to large numbers of Africans on a daily basis. They hear the stories of police abuse and terror and they come to understand it on a human level. There are millions of Europeans on the streets who are growing into this consciousness every day. Yet, there are still millions of people, primarily, but not exclusively, European who continue to hide behind dismissing and denying African dignity by claiming that their opposition is process related. This was the very same argument racist segregationists in government always used when opposing civil rights legislation in the 50s and 60s. Those “people” always dismissed our suffering, arguing that their issue with proposed changes was timing, the type of resolution being demanded, etc. This is a classic tactic of elevating the process above the pain. And, this is done because the people doing it care nothing about our pain. All they care about is maintaining empire. They booed a show of unity. A silent show of unity. They did that because they don’t want unity with us. They never have and they never will. And, the moment we finally recognize and respect that undeniable truth is the moment we begin our long awaited march towards freedom and justice.