I know many people believe this is about NFL players against President Trump; or about disrespect toward the U.S. flag, Veterans, and the nation as a whole. Honestly, it runs much deeper than all that and I want to talk about the issue at the heart of all of it.
I want to talk about race in America.
The President claims his Tweet to fire players who kneel during the national anthem and his decision to call them “sons of bitches” aren’t about race. He says it’s about disrespecting the flag and the country.
I believe most Americans, know in their hearts that it’s so much bigger than that.
Players who take a knee force Americans to acknowledge the divide caused by racism in this country. There’s a deep wound that has festered in the dark for far too long. Kneeling is a peaceful, personal way to acknowledge the wound and force us to shine a light on it. Expose it and face it once and for all.
The only salve that will start the healing is talking about it.
For me this discussion is personal. To illustrate how personal, I want to share what happens on my Facebook profile when I post about my family (especially my fantastic daughter) and racial issues. When I post about my daughter, I receive 70 to 80 likes and multiple comments. However, when I post about race I may get 20 likes on the post. More often than not, it is only the same five people who acknowledge my posts about race.
Many times, I get angry. I want to say, “If you really love my daughter you would read and acknowledge the posts about race, too, because those posts are about her safety and her future!”
The work I do is inspired by her. My greatest fear is what will happen if we don’t begin to have real conversations about race. How can I make the road ahead much less challenging for her and other children who look like her?
That’s why I want to talk about race. The quality of my life and the life of my daughter depend on us having honest, frank conversations.
So, I’ll go first …
I watched Oprah on 60 Minutes last night. The segment was called “Divided,” and it featured Oprah discussing the great racial divide in our country around the table with 14 people.
She asked the question: “How do you think Donald Trump is doing as president of the United States today?”
One man named Tom replied, “I love it. Everyday I love him more and more, every single day.”
Those words were like stabs in my heart. What I heard Tom say was, I don’t care about you or the future of your daughter.
I took Tom’s comment personally.
After the segment ended, I went to 60 Minutes Overtime and I watched another shorter segment of the piece, in which Tom talked about being open minded. One of the women who disagreed with Tom’s perspective did agree that he was open minded. That made me wonder.
I sat with that. Then I decide to stop sitting and start writing.
We are living in a Quiet Storm of Racism in this country. The winds of the storm are silently ravaging us, shifting us right and left, keeping us off balance, afraid, and desperate. Why? Because people in this country are terrified to have real conversations about race.
And the storm rages on.
Talking about it, I mean really talking heart to heart, neighbor to neighbor, about the wound that has never healed in this country is the only way we can slow down the gale-force winds we endure every time the President tweets or speaks in support of white supremacy and against people of color. Are we truly going to continue to allow one man to dictate how we see ourselves and people of color in this country?
Are we willing to hand over our power to Trump and allow him to speak for us?
I, for one, refuse to stand for it. I am ready to kneel for this country, to use my voice to start a dialogue that will calm the storm.
I want to talk about race and I invite you to join me in fair and respectful dialogue.
I invite you to speak for yourself.
I invite you to be brave.
I invite you to be wrong.
I invite you to be confused.
I invite you to learn about each other.
I invite you to change your mind.
I invite you to be in fellowship with other people who want to talk about race.
I invite you to watch until you feel comfortable sharing your perspective.
And if you want to be part of the party, I expect you to acknowledge this post, even if you don’t know what to say.
I expect that you read it and you think about it.
If you want to talk about it one-on-one, call me.
If you don’t want to hear any of this, feel free to stop following me because I will show up regularly and I will not stop talking about it.
I invite YOU to speak up and go next?
What do you have to say?