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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

NFL Players Muhammad Ali Moment

The owner of the Dallas Cowboys has made it clear.  A player who kneels during the national anthem will not play in the game for his team.  Their was no discussion or mention by the owner regarding the issue of black men being killed by police in questionable situations.  He apparently doesn't care about that and doesn't want his players to care about that.  Just stand for the national anthem dammit and give your total allegiance to his God, the flag of these United States of America.

Now we will see how his players and other players around the NFL will react. Shades of slavery days!

I attended the public ceremony and farewell to Muhammad Ali in Louisville, Kentucky last year.  Ali took a stand in the 1960s by refusing to report for duty and "service" in the Vietnam War.  That decision resulted in him being banned from boxing until the Supreme Court overruled the ban.  He lost prime years in his career and suffered financially for his stand.  Now NFL players face a decision, especially those who are members of the Dallas Cowboys.  Your Muhammad Ali moment is upon you.  The same for millionaire athletes in other professional sports.

Is the issue of black men being systematically killed by police with no subsequent changes in policy or training worth protesting by players taking a knee during the national anthem?  We will find out during the NFL game Thursday night and the upcoming games of Sunday.

We all know that playing the national anthem and parading the flag is not necessary before sporting events.  It forces us to become junior soldiers who blindly support events and actions occurring within the country, even if the actions are wrong.

Now the players on the Dallas Cowboys and other NFL teams will face a dilemma  Muhammad Ali faced in the 1960s.  NFL players, now comes your Muhammad Ali moment.  In the past thankfully not all black people accepted being enslaved.  Thankfully there was support for slavery in the United States being ended.  The challenge of stepping up and demanding that the issue of blacks being killed by police is here.  It demands action.  It doesn't deserve the issue being swept aside and robotic standing to a flag and a song.  Show us what you have Dallas Cowboys and other NFL athletes. It is your Muhammad Ali moment.

Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

There was a documentary on the PBS network in 1987 titled "Eyes On the Prize". It was about the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.  The content of the documentary is still applicable to events occurring today.  It's still available and those of you 35 years and younger should definitely watch it.

Recently politicians, owners of professional football teams, and others have attempted to change the issue of black people being killed by police into an issue over protests during the national anthem.  It is a well crafted attempt to deflect attention from the real issue of black men being murdered by police, just because the police allegedly "feared for their lives".  This fear was even being justified by the police when the person they "feared" was unarmed.  That is the reason for the protests.  It's not about the flag it's about having discussions and then efforts to stop the "MBP" Murder By Police.  Videos have been shown in the past years documenting the murder of numerous black men by police officers.  No mass nationwide call for re training of police has occurred.  The city of Indianapolis has talked about starting Implicit Bias Training of policeman.  Otherwise apparently it's business as usual for the majority of police departments in the United States.

It is very cunning to attempt to cover up the real issues under the umbrella of "patriotism", respect for the military, and "respect those who have lost lives in Wars".  No one is attempting to disrespect veterans, so stop the lie that the protestors are purposefully disrespecting those who have lost their lives in past wars.  The attempts to cover up the issues with patriotism and the symbolic playing of the national anthem shows that those who condemn the protest really could care less about the lives of black people impacted by MBP.  Thank you for your honesty regarding your feelings towards black people.  I would rather you go further and just come out and say "you could care less about a policeman killing a black person" rather than hiding behind a flag and a national anthem as you are doing now.

You are artfully attempting to get our eyes off the prize.  You want to have the real issue ignored.  Just know that we will not let the real issue be ignored.  We will continue to protest, march, speak out and take action regarding the real issue.  We will put a stop to the practice of police killing us because they can hide behind the "fear" card. 

It is amazing to see how the patriots and anthem lovers never acknowledge that enslavement of black people, lynching of black people, racism against black people, MBP and other atrocities against black people really occurred in this country.  Playing a national anthem before sporting events and having people stand for a symbolic flag does not wipe out the past or change the present. Fix the issue that is causing the protests.


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Beneath the Flag and the National Anthem – Symbols, traditions, and human made laws.

What do the national anthem, the flag, and the pledge of allegiance mean to me as a 60 year old black man?  In these United States, they are all symbolic creations aimed at demanding blind loyalty and devotion to the beliefs and values of European Americans. That devotion is demanded regardless of what atrocities have occurred in this country against black people. European American institutions attempt to impose these symbols upon us to define who has authority over us.  The symbols start in the school system at an early age.  These symbols and customs have found their ways into our sports entertainment. The NBA, a league where over 74% of the players are black, created specific rules to dictate how players must behave when the national anthem is played.  The motive for the creation of these rules apparently is to ensure the majority of the fans who actually attend the games, those being European Americans, are not offended by protesting black athletes.
I have no reason to be blindly devoted to a country that supported the kidnapping of my descendants from Africa to perform hard labor for European Americans.  I have no reason to be blindly supportive of a country that still to this day fails to acknowledge how it carried out the annihilation of the Native American people who were originally here.
For dialogue purposes I would like my fellow European Americans out there to answer these questions:
1.     Why should current day black descendants of enslaved people stand to honor a country where a black man can be murdered without cause by the police?
2.     Why should a black person pay respect to a country that allowed the lynching of black people and continues to allow discriminatory practices solely based on the color of a person’s skin?
3.     Do you acknowledge that your majority status in this country is based on the total obliteration of Native Americans by European Americans via illegal appropriation of their land and resources?
For me that is the starting point of any discussion on race and the protests against the flag and or the national anthem.
Does the national anthem need to be played at sporting events or any public event?  No it does not.  Sports are supposed to be a distraction from our everyday lives.  We go to watch athletes play a game that provides us entertainment.  The introduction of flag waving and national anthem playing is not why people pay to attend events. If you see someone not standing when the national anthem is playing or refusing to face the flag, understand that they have a reason for doing so.  You do not have to accept their reason, only respect it.
If military institutions want to play the anthem at military events, feel free to do so.  But stop using us non soldiers to visually show support for a country by making us stand at any event you feel demands a support of loyalty.  If democracy is about freedom then give us that freedom and do not impose loyalty tests on us at various social/entertainment events.
The issue of people protesting against the playing of the national anthem or protesting the flag of the United States of America is not a new event. In 1916 the President of the United States and then in 1931 the US Congress authorized the “Star Spangled Banner” as the official national anthem of the United States of America.  Only the first verse is traditionally sung. 
In 1892, the pledge of allegiance, which we all may have recited in elementary school, was written. It was modified in 1923, and 1954 to add specific reference to the flag of the United States and reference to God.  Prior to World War II, students in school would salute while reciting the pledge in a manner that was very similar to the German Nazi salute in World War II.  So the “Nazi” salute was replaced with a hand over the heart stance.  Actor Louis Gossett shared the story of how he would recite the pledge in school but instead of reciting the line “…for which it stands..” he would say “.. for Richard Stands…” not knowing what he was really saying!
Protests against the national anthem are documented well back into the 1900s. The reasons were many.  Anti nationalism, anti war, civil rights, even a protest against spending money on building a sports stadium rather than for a drug treatment program.  The protests were by people of various races and beliefs.
As a black man I understand fully why Colin Kaepernick said enough is enough and no longer robotically stood during the playing of the national anthem.  It was a time when month after month a black man was being killed by police. European Americans need to put themselves in our position.  How would you like it if you were systematically stopped for no real reason other than your skin color?  Would you stand for a system where the police are not trained to deal with their biases and not taught how to diffuse a situation to avoid killing someone?
Being “patriotic” always seems appropriate especially after such events as 9/11.   Patriotism that turns into blind loyalty is dangerous.  Blind loyalty fails to see the truth.  As a 60 year old black man, I recall the events of the 1960s and the civil rights era.  I still firmly believe that the protest at the 1968 Olympics by Tommie Smith and John Carlos was a courageous action.  Many people died during and before the civil rights years of the 1960s.  They died in pursuit of having the same rights as European Americans in this “land of the free”.  They spoke up against and protested against racial discrimination.  Unfortunately some of the civil rights struggles that existed in the 1960s continue today.  That is why people like Colin Kaepernick take a stand.  That is why a black man like myself does not feel obliged to stand and place my hand over my heart as the national anthem is played.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

"45" and Kim Jung-Un Do Battle Using Elton John Songs

The nuclear test drama between leaders of the United States and North Korea entered another chapter this week.  "45" called the North Korean leader, Kim Jung-Un, "Rocket Man" and then continued speaking about Kim Jung-Un as the song "Rocket Man" by Elton John played in the background.  Secret service men could be seen in the background mouthing the lyrics of the songs while scanning the crowd.

About half an hour later, Kim Jung-Un responded by calling "45's" remarks those of a barking dog as the Elton John song, "The Bitch is Back" played in the background.

Fifteen minutes later, "45" sent the White House Press secretary to remind the press of his "rain of fire and fury" comments to the sounds of Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road".

Kim Jung-Un quickly responded by playing the Elton John song, "Tiny Dancer" with a photographic close up of "45's" crotch area.

Not to be outdone, "45" had the song "Saturday Night's Allright" blasting onto Pennsylvania Avenue through the exterior White House speakers.

Minutes later the airwaves in North Korea were filled with the strands of the song "I'm Still Standing" by Elton John.

"45" then went off his scheduled speech at a luncheon as he started singing the Elton John song, "Bennie and the Jets" as he pointed to a hand held map of North Korea.

The back and forth came to an end and the parties called it a day after Kim Jung-Un played the song "Don't go breaking my heart" as he ordered another missile test over the country of Japan.

We understand that both leaders will be moving to the play list of the Rolling Stones in the next volley of musical exchanges.

Monday, September 11, 2017

My NFL Boycott Due to the Blacklisting of Colin Kaepernick

Prior to Colin Kaepernick being black listed by NFL owners, I purchased tickets to go see the Cincinnati Bengals play the Baltimore Ravens. For a period late this summer, Baltimore looked at signing Colin as a back up quarterback.   During that period I anticipated going to the game in Cincinnati to see protesters against Colin being on the Ravens team.  But the signing never happened. The Baltimore Ravens owner made sure that wouldn't happen by not agreeing to bring Colin onto the Ravens squad.

Yesterday around the NFL the play of a variety of "starting" quarterbacks were simply atrocious.  The Indianapolis Colts were a prime example of where Colin could have played if he were not black listed by the owners.  The Colts starting quarterback had a horrid game which assisted in the Colts losing by a score of 46-9 with the starting quarterback throwing for a total of 128 yards with 2 interceptions. So has Colin's phone rang to bring him in for a tryout?  Of course not.  That would be too easy.

The Bengals game I attended was mildly entertaining, but I had already decided that if the NFL continued to black list Colin, I would no longer spend my time or money on the National Football League.  For those black players in the league, even those stars who refuse to jeopardize their careers by joining any political protest, good luck.  I hope you get the biggest contracts you can from your team's owner and subsequently use some of those funds to assist others in escaping poverty and to gain an education.  As we all know for some education is the great equalizer.

If a qualified "brother" like Colin isn't allowed to pursue his career, I feel the least I can do is not support a "professional" football league that will not give him a job.  There is plenty of college and high school football to fill my football watching void.

I don't expect many fans to boycott the NFL.  We've been enslaved for years in many ways to the point that it's hard to not be enslaved.  We were probably better off when we had the old Negro League in professional baseball.  We didn't need European Americans to give us jobs in sports.  We made our own jobs and entertained ourselves.  We've moved past those years of self sufficiency into a pattern of wanting to be a part of the culture and businesses owned by European Americans.  We somehow believe that brings us the total freedoms and choices we didn't have before. Such is not the case. We don't need European American institutions that do not value our opinion, because our opinions conflict with theirs.

I'm sure there are some owners who proudly say that they would never hire Colin because of his past protests.  I hope you enjoy your 4 win 12 loss season!  I"m sure if hiring Colin would guarantee you massive profits this year you would change your mind.

There are plenty of alternative choices to watching professional football.  Yeah, I'm sure I'll miss some exciting games.  So what?  It's still a game that I am not enslaved to.  I have choices and I'm making mine regardless of what friends, family or others do.  It's great to not be a enslaved!  I do what I do and make the decisions I do to honor those who came before me who did not have a choice, and who never enjoyed any type of freedom.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The North Korea Missile Saga Continues

The latest in the continuing mini series that is North Korea and its quest to upgrade its military arsenal.  The North Korean goal apparently is to join the nuclear war club of which these United States of America is a charter member.  It was reported and not denied by North Korea that another  "test" missile was launched by North Korea with the missile traveling over a part of the country of Japan.  Not exactly an act of friendship by North Korea or a show of concern that something could go wrong as the missile traveled over part of Japan.

The antics of the North Korean leader cannot be seen as being responsible.  Missiles are not toys.  Testing weapons of war in or over populated areas is not something that you would expect from a caring leader.  Yes, in this uncivilized world of ours a country does have the right to test weaponry as long as their is no adverse impact on others.  People forget that the United States had extensive above ground and underground nuclear weapon testing for years before finally stopping the practice.

It would seem prudent for all the nuclear club members to call for a meeting with North Korea to work out a humanistic solution.  Telling North Korea to cease and desist is not the solution.  They have no reason to stop their efforts.  In this world those who possess nuclear weapons command much respect.  Nuclear weaponry does serve as a deterrent to others.  Just because the nuclear club already has one Asian member does not mean another cannot join the club.

Maybe one day we will no longer have nuclear weapons. But unfortunately that day will be the end of our world as we know it today.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Why Are Flags, Anthems, and Monuments So Important?

Last year a professional football player chose not to stand when the national anthem was played.  In response people were upset with the player.  This year owners of professional football teams refused to hire the player to fill open spots on their teams.  The player's resume includes leading a team to a Superbowl.

Some people are upset because statues honoring the Confederate era in the United States are being taken down.  The fact that the Confederacy supported maintaining the institution of slavery in these United States apparently is irrelevant to those people.

Refuse to hold your hand over your heart when the flag of the United States is raised!  You will be treated as if you are Satan himself.

People historically have been emotionally enamored by flags, anthems, and statues.   We post our flags, stand for our anthems and of course love to honor certain events and people by creating monuments or naming streets, buildings, etc. for them.   Not everyone who deserves a statue or some form of honor has received one.  We all know that.

How many monuments to Native Americans have you come across lately?  Until 2016 there was no national museum honoring the contributions of black people in these United States of America.  The textbooks in schools have historically only covered the accomplishments and events surrounding European Americans.

What would happen if we stopped having flags, anthems, and creating monuments to human beings?  Do we really need flags, anthems and monuments?  No we don't.  These symbols and instruments of "honor" are all reflective of how we as people love to focus on our human nature and create our human idols.  We love to self promote our greatness as people. We want to take time to look at the flag of "our" country and sing a song about "our" country.  It's all just misplaced adoration.

I'm reminded of one "monument" that I would see while driving westward through the state of Indiana.  It is a large cross constructed near highway I-70 near Effingham, Indiana. It speaks for itself without having any words to explain its purpose.  The large cross lets all those who see it know what really is important.  It lets us know who created us and what we should be doing in terms of our behavior.  But, we have gotten far away from the message that cross gives us.  Instead we have become enamored by our own human importance as displayed in the flags, anthems, and monuments we create to ourselves.  These self honors may have good intention, but they present barriers to our understanding what is really important.

Why do we need flags representing countries?  Is it because if we are traveling we don't know where we are at unless we see the country's flag?  I don't think so.  Flags support the development of boundaries between people.  Flags help to keep us divided. Is it not enough that we all exist on the same planet?  No, we have to create a symbolic flag that separates us by the land we live on.  Then we have to create an anthem to go with the flag.

We are far from reaching the potential that our Creator intended for us.  Instead we're arguing about the "things" we as people have created.  Flags, anthems and monuments; our idols and man made Gods that we have been taught to adore and honor.  If I never saw another flag, heard another anthem or viewed another statue my life would be just fine.  Maybe one day we'll stop all the focus on our selves.  Until then it's up to each of us to break the cycle of devotion we have placed in our flags, anthems and monuments.