Allow me to preface this by saying I absolutely love and respect those who have served, are serving, and will serve in the future. I love my country, and the people who fight every day to preserve the freedoms that I enjoy.
Yesterday afternoon, there was a demonstration on Wright State’s main campus involving a white man standing on the American Flag. This act obviously drew the attention of a lot of people, from students, to faculty, to campus police, to the local press. The protester, when confronted by a man in uniform, was not rude, even apologetic if he thought he was offending him. What the protester didn’t want to get lost in the hoopla of what was transpiring was that African Americans are still the under privileged, the disenfranchised, the scapegoats of this nation. His message, while I cannot speak for him entirely, seemed to be centered on getting those witnessing to be more aware of the African American plight, that the government, who the flag represents, did not support this plight.
As a journalist, it would be hypocritical of me to condemn him for his protest, or how he protested. The Supreme Court has ruled time and time again that this is protected under the first Amendment in the constitution. The same section that gives me the power to write and report the news without having to worry about the law, is indeed the same section that gives KKK members to rally, Eminem to write about smacking women or using homophobic slurs and yes, even people stepping on or burning a flag.
What I find intriguing is that a lot of the people I’ve seen, wanting to ream this guy for him doing something completely legal, no matter how distasteful, are the same people who argue with liberals about gun control. “Don’t let them take your right to have a gun away,” they’ll say. “It’s our CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT,” they’ll shout. See the hypocrisy? And it’s on both sides. I’m not bringing one side down to bring another up, I’m just trying to make a subtle point.
Everyone has some agenda that THEY want served, and once someone doesn’t want to conform to that agenda, you get everyone pissed and ready to go rip someone’s head off.
I watched a decent chunk of the events from yesterday, and I must say, what I saw, not from the man protesting, or the young African American male trying to get people to understand the plight of the African American male, it was the reaction to what they were saying.
People blatantly argued with this black kid, trying to tell him, in a way, he didn’t really matter. The kid, understandably pissed, told a woman she has yet to feel the struggle he has. “When was the last time you were forced to learn African American history,” he asked. His question, an obvious rhetorical question, was aimed at how our history gets pushed aside, again, leading to this dialogue of no one caring about us.
Another thing that I witnessed was when one of the men in uniform stepped forward to the man on the flag, understandably irate at what he saw, the police, who stood 3-4 feet from me, did nothing. I believe one African American male stepped forward into the center of the crowd, near the protester. The moment he stepped forward so did campus police. THIS IS WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT! Are we really that threatening?
What happened last, at least while I was there to experience it, was the protester talking about unarmed African Americans dying at the hands of police. He wasn’t attempting to start a white vs. black issue. How could he, seeing that he’s white? It was to get people to understand and recognize that stereotypes and institutional racism have played a huge part in what’s happening in America. It just so happens that these officers are white. In his soliloquy, the protester asked a man in the crowd if he cared about those African American’s who died unnecessarily at the hands of someone sworn to protect them. The man replied “I DON’T CARE ABOUT JOHN CRAWFORD” each time he was asked to repeat himself.
So was he talking about John Crawford, the person? No, because that’s not what the protester was asking him. This man, the same man who is all over the news, kneeled over the flag, wanting to take care of it, was saying he doesn’t care about black lives!
But what is the media doing? He’s celebrated for him showing love for his country, but NOT his fellow countrymen. Now, I won’t COMPLETELY blame the media for not getting both sides of this story, but can you see how this can make someone feel? How small, insignificant, and useless this can make someone think they are? To have the message that attempted to be conveyed minimized by those who were upset at this man expressing his constitutional right?
How is it that standing on a flag creates SUCH a reaction from patriots and pseudo-patriots, but when it’s time to talk about the killing and mass incarceration against minorities, there’s silence and shoulder shrugs? Why can’t there be healthy dialogue on both fronts?
Those who are not intellectually challenged will understand what I’m saying if you haven’t had the misfortune of living the life of “Black in America” others will remain ignorant, both black and white alike, and misinterpret my words because, well, the truth hurts.
A part of me fears that by posting this, I will have opened myself up to unnecessary criticism by friends and foe alike (I mean I don’t have any enemies, but I may after this) or potential employers, but the other part of me fears that if I DON’T say something, I’m a part of the problem created by the media that reduces, hushes, and silences the black population every time we want to speak out about the injustices we suffer. I hope someone can help explain how and when the life of a black man will become valuable again…