by Justin Rosario
As if we needed a reminder about how racist America is, this past week the nation freaked out over mostly black athletes peacefully and quietly taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality. This has once again reinforced the unspoken rule that angry black people are not allowed to protest in a way that makes white people uncomfortable. And since everything angry black people do makes white people uncomfortable, well, you get the idea.
Not for nothing, all the NFL players did was not stand. For this, Donald Trump raged against them and insisted to thunderous applause that they be fired. He even called these players politely exercising their First Amendment right, “son of a bitch.” Later, Fox’s Jeanine Pirro (not a white person but she plays one on TV) foamed at the mouth, demanding black athletes grovel to white America for being so good to them, shouting “Shame on you! Shame on all of you!” This was the general tone of the condemnation across the board.
Remember, the players are protesting out of control police violence against black people. This is what they’re supposed to be ashamed about and fired for? Not exactly. It’s not what they’re protesting, it’s the fact that they’re protesting at all. Colin Kaepernick could have taken the knee for just about any issue of racial injustice, police brutality, wage inequality, the grade gap, anything. Hell, Kaepernick could have taken a knee to protest how the tobacco industry is targeting the black community to sell more cancer-causing cigarettes and white people would have still lost their minds.
White people do not like it when angry black people protest about anything. It doesn’t matter how justified the protest is, if black people are the ones doing the protesting, white people get angry. Protests change things, usually for the better and white people like the racial status quo just fine, thank you very much. White people don’t say that, of course, but that’s what they mean when they start griping. This is why they tend to direct their complaints at the how instead of the what; it lets them avoid discussing the issue at hand and maintain the usually racist as fuck status quo.
For example, here’s a short list of things black people are not allowed to do in protest no matter how justified their anger is:
- Sit in the front of the bus
- Sit at the “whites only” lunch counter
- March on Washington DC
- March in Selma
- March anywhere for any reason
- Stay out of sight
- Speak loudly
- Speak softly
- Be angry
- Be gentle
- Be ghetto
- Be eloquent
- Not fight
- Support black businesses
- Boycott white businesses
- Legally carry guns into the state capitol building
- Talk about black power
- Talk about equal rights
- Not talk
- Make activist movies
- Write activist books
- Sing activist songs
- Create activist art
- Engage in activism
At one time or another, all of these activities (and more) really pissed off white people who just wanted to go about their lives without all this ruckus from angry black people.
White people can point guns at federal agents and take over federal buildings but wearing a shirt that says “Black Lives Matter” is shocking and upsetting to the delicate sensibilities of fragile white people. Any challenge to white supremacy makes white people very sad and blacks should be more considerate of their feelings.
But worry no more black people! We finally have a way for you to protest that white people won’t object to. Heck, they might just cheer you on! It’s really easy. Get some gasoline, pour it on yourself and light a match.
Just not in their neighborhood, please. That would be inconvenient.
Am I really suggesting that black people should kill themselves in protest? No. Of course not. Do I look like I write for Breitbart?
But am I really suggesting that the 62,984,825 million Americans that voted for Trump and clutch their pearls when a black person expresses the tiniest hint of anger would be, at best, indifferent to the death of black people? That’s a definitive “Yes!”
Are you really suggesting they wouldn’t?
Because that’s the entire problem isn’t it? Every time a black person protests against police violence and a white person turns bright red in outrage, they’re explicitly telling the world that they don’t give a flying fuck about that violence. They are explicitly saying that they do not think black lives matter and how dare black people say otherwise?
Yes, they whoop and holler about “All Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter” and pretend what black people are “really” saying is “Black Lives Matter More” but everyone know that’s bullshit. White people simply hate the fact that black people are protesting the racist status quo. You know it. I know it. They know it. The “liberal” media knows it. Black people certainly know it. Everyone knows it. We all play along because of white fragility, that curious phenomena where white people crumple to the ground sobbing about persecution from the mildest of criticisms, but the fact remains: Black people protesting in America for any reason freaks white people out.
If you’re still not convinced, consider the following:
1. White people that complain about how black people protest find it nigh impossible to answer the following question, “How can black people protest in public that won’t make you uncomfortable?”
2. That question even exists.
White people will never be comfortable with black protest because white people fear racial equality more than anything else. The idea of competing on a level playing field and finding out that they’re not actually special fills them with dread. One of the most cherished beliefs of the white “race” is that they are morally, intellectually, and even genetically superior to Those People, especially black people. Even white liberals find the idea of white privilege offensive because they refuse to acknowledge the plethora of advantages they’ve received in life just from not being black.
Sadly for the delicate white snowflakes, that’s just too damn bad. Donald Trump’s abomination of a presidency notwithstanding, the arc of the moral universe is indeed long but it really does bend towards justice. Every year, more horrible old white racists die of natural causes to be replaced by young diverse and tolerant voters that won’t scream “Shame on you!” at black men protesting.
Someday, in the not too distant future, we’ll be screaming “Shame on you!” instead at white people who still insist we treat black people as second class citizens. Maybe they can take a knee in protest of equality.