Social Media, Kaepernick, and You

Featured

kapMillions of people are talking about Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the national anthem. But what exactly does his protest prove?

On social media, two basic opinions abound. One opinion is that Kaepernick’s actions are justified; that his protest somehow helps people who are oppressed by systemic, institutional racism and white supremacy. The other dominant opinion is that it’s ridiculous for a professional athlete and millionaire to identify with either the actual or perceived oppression of blacks in America.

Regardless of your opinion, once you log off social media and return to actuality, (if you ever do) you’re left with yourself alone. And what does Kaepernick have to do with YOU?

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who follow sports religiously, you might feel justified in being outraged and  outspoken against the athlete. Whether you believe Kaepernick’s protest is outrageous or outstanding, you have something in common with the opposing side in this debate: You’re discussing the NFL.

You might say, “I’m discussing racism” or “entitlement”–not football. But a discussion about Kaepernick is a discussion about celebrity, wealth, popularity, and yes, football.

How many times, in your ACTUAL LIFE,  have you glanced around the room during the national anthem or the pledge of allegiance to see how many dissenters were present? And when you caught someone “protesting,” did you take a stand and publicly denounce his or her actions? Did you applaud the person and stand in unity and defiance against the corruption that is “AmeriKKKa”? Furthermore, when was the last time you saw or heard racism in an offline environment? Were you the victim or the perpetrator? A bystander? What did you do? Oh. That’s right: You vented about it on social media.

The average reader will be tempted to turn the discussion back to Kaepernick, but let’s focus on YOU for a moment. Do you use racial slurs in private? Do you secretly hate America for its history of colonialism? Do you wish black people would shut up about being “oppressed?” Do you wish white people would shut up about black people needing to shut up about being “oppressed?”

As people engage in virtual arguments about whether racism exists or not, the greater argument is internal and secretive: “Am I a racist? Am I a victim of racism? Am I both? Will racism ever end? Do I care? Should I care?”

Whether you believe Kaepernick’s protest is appropriate or ignorant, arguing with your friends and associates is “taking the easy way out.” (Posting memes supporting either opinion qualifies as arguing.) Very few people acknowledge that the most important argument is against the self: “Am I oppressed? Am I an oppressor? Am I good? Am I bad? Who am I?”

The nationwide outcry about Kaepernick’s protest proves that sports matter. Football matters. Celebrities matter. Whether or not black lives, blue lives, white lives, or “all” lives matter–and to what degree, and in what order, has yet to be determined. In the meantime, football continues to trend.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Wonder Why They Call You Nigga?

     

Black America Shocked as White Atlanta Housewife

Drops N-bomb

by Darryl Gayle

Embraced by an all-black cast as the lone White Chocolate Sister, Zolciack lost her chocolate by dropping the N-bomb.

 

Kim Zolciak, as the lone white woman on The Real Housewives of Atlanta, was once considered a White Chocolate Sister by many.  Embraced by NeNe Leakes, Sheree Whitfield, Kandi Burrus and others, Kim once condemned the ladies for insinuating that she was racist during the fiasco called, “Black Baby-Gate.” Fans of the show  still remember when Kim lashed out at Kandi in astonishment at the assertion that Kim would never visit and orphanage in Africa or hold a black baby. Fast forward a season, and the fans are equally as astonished when Kim, upon her exit from the show, spits the phrase “these niggas” in a moment of disgust and frustration.

Kim poses for a photo with Grammy-Award winning singer/songwriter Kandi Burrus, one of the “niggas” she referenced in her dramatic exit from the show.

So is Kim a racist? Does she think black people are inferior?

“Impossible! She has black friends. And besides, she didn’t say ‘nigger,’ she said ‘nigga,’ right? Black people say it all the time, so Kim can say it too… Right?”

“No.”

“Maybe black people should stop saying it.”

Not so fast.  Despite what you’ve heard from Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and other proponents of banning the word “nigga” from Ebonics (black American language), black people in America have every right to call each other “niggas” if they so choose. Black people in America may flaunt the word “nigga” in all of its power, while whites may not. And here’s why:

Racism against black Americans was once legal.Think about it.

Not only are black people in America the descendents of Africans, slaves, Jim-Crow Era parents and single black mothers, but also, black people in America are the targets of deeply rooted, systematic racism today. Why? Because during the famous Civil Rights Era, two different US Presidents had to use military force to integrate state Universities (less than 50 years ago). In addition, countless blacks were murdered, beaten and otherwise attacked in pursuit of basic human dignity.  For numerous reasons, blacks around the world are considered, by some, to be the lowest human beings on the racial totem pole. And unlike sexual orientation, race can hardly be hidden, unless your into skin-bleaching.

Everyone in America who is older than 50 lived in a time when blacks were openly degraded and labeled as being inferior.

What message did legal racism send to our parents’ parents’ parents? That blacks are inferior. “But look how far we’ve come!” Right. It’s no longer en vogue to reveal your disdain for “the niggers” or “Mondays,” (nobody likes ’em) as blacks are often secretly called. Nowadays, it’s neither wise nor profitable to openly admit that you believe blacks to be inferior. But many racists reveal their beliefs through their actions, which include racial slurs, racial profiling, discrimination, and murdering any dark person wearing a hooded sweatshirt. Racists believe black people to be loud, rowdy, dangerous, violent, drug-related, gang-affiliated people who were created to be hated. Even President Barack Obama is not immune to the hate, as illustrated here :

Dont Renig

Although Obama is both white AND black, he, too is called “nigger” by racists.

“But what about smart, rich and successful black people? What about interracial marriages? We have a black president, so racism is a thing of the past, right?” Wrong. Racial discrimination is now illegal, therefore it’s hidden. Every now and then, it slips out, as in the case of Kim Zolciak. Throughout the bloody history of black Americans, the word “nigger” has been used to degrade and undermine the race for so many years, that hearing it uttered from the mouths of non-blacks instantly produces a charged and potentially volatile situation.

Even blacks who are very rich and successful face racism. After years of being treated as an inferior race, black people sometimes display indignation and disgust, which society calls, “having an attitude.”

In discussing the “nigger” controversy, it’s important to note the cleverness of owning the term, removing its stinger, infusing the word with a new energy, and using it in a new way. The term “nigga,” when used between blacks, not only speaks solidarity and familiarity, but also invokes comedy and adds emphasis in conversation. Sure, it can also carry a derogatory meaning, but most often, it’s used differently among blacks than by others. Changing the term’s connoted meaning and using the word “nigga” enjoyably is a blatant smack in the face to black people’s former oppressor. It’s genius. It’s a defense mechanism and survival tactic in a brutal world. Black people calling each other niggers or niggas is like siblings teaching each other to fight; it’s a survival tactic. It’s similar to saying, “I’m black and I’m proud.”  Not every “black” person in America actually has black skin, but just like blacks embraced “negro,” “colored,” and “African-American,” blacks have embraced, and even celebrated, being labeled as “black,” the least favored color in the crayon box, although most so-called “blacks” are truly brown! Embracing the word “nigga” is no different. Is it fair to throw nigger lemons at blacks and expect them to not make nigger lemonade?

nigger plane

The word “nigger” is still commonly used by racists. But it’s hidden. And few racists are brave enough to utter it on television.

Black people can openly and enjoyably use the words nigga and nigger. White people can not. Why? Because when certain races of people say it, it means “inferior-scum-of-the-earth-monkey-minstrel-tar-baby- piece-of-shit.” Between blacks, the word takes on a totally different meaning. The bottom line is that the word “nigga” is for black use only. During slavery, when blacks gathered leftover scraps from their masters’ farms; turning pig intestines and leafy collared greens into the world-famous cuisine we now call Soul Food, they learned a valuable lesson. Life as a black person in America is all about taking the leftovers and scraps and creating something good. It’s about catching the stones that the oppressors threw, and using them to build a fortress. Certainly, many blacks still love Kim.  And while she is welcome to eat black people’s chitlins and collard greens, the word nigga is not to be shared with the non-black world.