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If black athletes in the NFL honestly think that African Americans who live under Old Glory are as ‘equally protected ‘as whites, then they should stand up during the national anthem and sing-along. But if they know that blacks aren’t getting a square deal, and that blacks can be gunned down at any time by trigger-happy cops who never face the consequences, then they owe it to themselves and their country to demand change by remaining seated.

I’m sorry that football players have to go through this. I’m sorry they find themselves in a situation where they’re forced to make a political statement. After all, they’re not politicians and they don’t want to be. They’re private citizens like the rest of us who just want to do their jobs, make some money, and be left the hell alone.

But what choice do they have now? The epidemic of cop killings around the country is forcing people to stand up and say “Enough”. So now black athletes are being asked to either stand up, sing along and act like highly-paid circus animals, or follow in the steps of Rosa Parks and Malcolm X and Mohammed Ali and the other people of conscience who put themselves at risk by acting on principal.

That’s the choice they’re faced with, isn’t it? Do I act like a man and stand on principal or take the easy-way-out and go along with the crowd?

There is no third option.

Football players are not going to be able to sweep the whole matter under the rug like the Seattle Seahawks did last week by standing with arms linked (while the anthem was played) to demonstrate their solidarity with the victims of police violence. That was a total bullsh** response. It doesn’t matter if you stand separately or stand and link arms; when you “stand” you are paying tribute to the flag. Period.

In contrast, sitting is a demonstration of defiance. Sitting is an act of protest. Sitting is an act of colossal courage. Sitting is an act of solidarity with the victims of police violence. And, regardless what anyone says, sitting is an act of supreme patriotism, the kind of patriotism that surpasses empty displays of ritual conformity and heel-clicking submissiveness. Sitting is a jarring, thought-provoking way of forcing Americans to look themselves in the mirror and ask the painful questions they try to avoid at all cost, like why are all these young, unarmed black men getting blown away with such maddening frequency, and why do these killer cops never pay for their crimes, and why is it still so goddamned hard for black Americans to get any goddamned justice in this country?

No one wants to talk about these things because they make us feel bad about ourselves, they tarnish our sense of “exceptionalism” and our idiot belief that we are a “post-racial” society.

Post racial, my ass. There’s a large group of people living in this country whose rights have always been provisional and who’ve never gotten a fair shake, and that sure as heck hasn’t changed since Obama got took office, in fact, the situation is worse than ever.

When living under the American flag means that everyone is protected equally from killer cops, then I’ll gladly stand for the national anthem. Until then, forget about it.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at [email protected].

(Republished from Counterpunch by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Blacks, Colin Kaepernick 
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  1. You do realize that more whites are killed by cops than blacks, don’t you? Police have been brought to book for unjustified killings. The woman that shot the guy in Tulsa is up on felony charges.

    The gut that was shot in Charlotte was armed with a pistol, not a book. The man also had a reputation that wasn’t exactly savory. Ironically, the cop that shot the guy was black. But, no0 matter, cops are automatically the enemy and a black cop is an Uncle Tom, a traitor to all that’s “good” and “righteous.”

    Blacks commit a large chunk of the violent crime in this country. It’s not the Police making them do it, they do it on their own. The Police simply bring them to book. What the so called black leadership is doing is cutting their own throats. All they see is a political opportunity and the suffering of boys without fathers, who grow up to be feral men can go hang for all they care.

    Nothing will change until Blacks themselves care. Then they can take the opportunities that are available to them and make something of themselves. But it will never happen as long as the left continues to use them for their own political purposes.

  2. There is a problem with policing in the US no doubt, but it has little if anything to do with racism.

  3. woodNfish says:

    Quartermaster is right that cops murder more whites than blacks every year. The problem is that dumbass whites don’t protest and blacks do. Good for the blacks, they should be protesting cops shooting unarmed men, but they should not be attacking whites for it. The cop who shot the fellow in Charlotte was black, but the black protesters are attacking whites just because of their race. The ones doing that should be arrested and charged with hate crimes. Of course that isn’t going to happen.

    Quartermaster is wrong that cops get prosecuted for murdering people. It is a very, very rare instance when that happens, and the recent attempts at prosecution have only happened out of fear that if the cop isn’t charged there will be rioting. Well, if that is what it takes to prosecute the thug cops, then there will be riots, and there should be.

  4. Max Gibs says:

    Mike, I know you’re a lefty and all, but I’m still disappointed every time I see these kinds of articles from you. So many of your economic and foreign policy articles are great, but using terms like ‘epidemic’ in the face of statistics that show the opposite is just dishonest. The comments from Quartermaster are spot on, and as far as cops going without punishment, what about the woman in Tulsa who was just charged this week? That was an unjust killing, it was obvious, and she is hopefully going to suffer accordingly. Please just stick to covering the Fed and Syria, it’s painful to see articles like this too often.

  5. There is no such epidemic and this rabble-rousing talk is irresponsible.

  6. Maybe you’re right and I’m wrong….
    Here’s someone who agrees with you from the far left, the World Socialist Web Site:

    “Racism exists and, of course, frequently plays a role in police violence. However, those who seek to enforce a racialist narrative ignore basic facts. To a degree unknown during the heyday of the civil rights movement a half-century ago, police departments and state institutions are racially integrated. The cop who allegedly shot Scott is African-American, as is the city’s police chief, who has opposed calls for the release of the video. Many of the political officials who run cities with the most brutal police violence (like Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the mayor of Baltimore who chaired the Democratic National Convention and called protesters against the killing of Freddie Gray “thugs”) are African-American. And is it necessary to call attention to the racial background of the individual who has served as US president during the past seven and a half years of escalating police violence?

    In the final analysis, police violence is a class issue….

    Police violence—like unemployment, poverty and all the consequences of capitalism—affects workers of every race and background. It is this basic fact the purveyors of identity politics seek to cover up. Those who talk about “white privilege,” or claim that the United States is convulsed by racial hatred, are engaged in a conscious political fraud, aimed at concealing the class nature of the state and blocking what is the necessary precondition for any fight against police violence: the unity of the working class.”

    He’s criticizing people like me, and I think he makes a persuasive argument.
    I need to rethink what I’ve said.

  7. Who benefits from race war? Meditate on this and you will become enlightened.

  8. @Mike Whitney

    White socialists want this to be about the color-blind class struggle but as Bernie Sanders learned, blacks want their socialism nationalist like everybody else.

    View post on

  9. @Mike Whitney

    Those who talk about “white privilege,” or claim that the United States is convulsed by racial hatred, are engaged in a conscious political fraud, aimed at concealing the class nature of the state and blocking what is the necessary precondition for any fight against police violence: the unity of the working class.”

    This is spot on Mike. This is what I mean when I say meditate on who benefits from race war. Participants in identity politics are tools whether they know it or not.

  10. A universal Christianity where “neither black nor white” are all equal in the eyes of God is probably the only hope here.

    Utopian socialists think they can unite people, but on the evidence of the last 60 or so years they have whipped up black grievance to gain political power, and in the process have not really cared about the victims both black and white.

    People in a state of grievance who believe they are unjustly treated lose hope and live in despair, this obviously leads to drug abuse, social decay, crime and violence. There is no doubt the black communities have higher levels of violent crime and drug abuse.

    In fact Mike Whitney enforcing law and order particularly concerning drugs and violent crime is doing the black community a great service, it stops the criminals taking over. The left is to blame to a large degree for this crime and violence, instead of enforcing the law they undermine it, instead of encouraging black people to get on with their lives they nurture grievance and anger. Obama should take considerable responsibility here.

  11. Fred Reed says:

    When blacks stop the gang-attacks on whites in the Knockout Game, when they stop using every available pretext to loot the stores of people who had noting to do with what they are complaining abut, when I can walk safely in any part of American cities without checking for race, when they stop running up wildly disproportionate rates of crime, then I will feel sympathy for them. Until then, forget it.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @pancho
  12. stand on principal

    I don’t think there is anything to be gained by interfering with the game’s opening coin flip.

  13. anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Mike Whitney

    I need to rethink what I’ve said.

    Mike, you should also be cognizant that WHITNEY is one byte different from WHITEY. Ron Unz might consider republishing Glen Ford to provide a real black perspective. (Ford’s analyses are excellent, but he seems to be stuck on socialist solutions.)

  14. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Fred Reed

    There are some Hispanics who act like blacks, Reed.

    I mean, chart anyy behavioral trait you want, anything (school achievement, rape, …) and you’ll ever find Latinos halfway between blacks and whites. Mongolids and Jews will be farther on the white people’s side, conversely.

    If “gangs” are the topic, you’ll find tons of Latino-composed gangs.

    Blacks are more violent as 1) it is their nature 2) “Anti-racists” have been pushing them to being so, and rewarding them for being so, for many a decade now.
    Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities recounts this in a fictional form and beautifully.
    Black “protests” and “riots” are wildly encouraged from outside the black community.

  15. TheJester says:
    @Mike Whitney

    Racism, sponsored by the ((( Deep State ))), is another distraction to keep everyone divided so Americans will not focus on who really runs this country and who is looting its wealth. Blacks are the perfect underclass to serve this function since they historically do not know or vote their own interests — no class rebellion here. Blacks are easily manipulated by Whites who claim camaraderie, the MSM that broadcasts the official narrative on all channels, and mulattoes (a.k.a. Black leaders) who are paid by “the Man” to keep the Black community in line or ferment riots as needed. (George Soros is a major funder of BLM and was a key player fanning the flames in the recent Ferguson riots.)

    Indeed, the Clintons have done more damage to the Black community than the KKK could have ever imaged doing … yet, Hillary can count on perhaps 96% of the Black vote. Examples:

    The Clinton-sponsored 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act introduced the “three strikes” mandatory life sentence for repeat offenders, money to hire 100,000 new police officers and funding for prisons, an expansion of death penalty-eligible offences, and amplified the trend toward mass incarceration. The most punitive impact of this legislation landed on the Black community. Hillary is attempting to make amends to the Black community just in time for for the presidential election by admitting that the 1994 bill went too far. She also apologised for her use of the term “superpredator” when referring to a supposedly new kind of (black) juvenile criminal that never materialized; and she has spoken repeatedly on the campaign trail about ending mass incarceration. Her platform promises to make the Fair Sentencing Act retroactive and reduce nonviolent drug crime mandatory sentences.

    Then, there is the notorious Clinton-sponsored 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement. In the WWI era, Blacks in the South began a massive emigration to northern cities to work in industry. NAFTA started the process of outsourcing these industries to first Mexico and then Asia. The progressive deindustrialization of the “rust belt” in the north had a disparate impact on the Black community, creating the urban ghettos we know today that are characterized by massive unemployment, poverty, and crime with slant hope of change.

    The Clinton-sponsored 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act dramatically reduced welfare for single mothers with children. It replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) that had been in effect since 1935 with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The objective was to get rid of “Welfare Queens”, which of course we all knew were Black. The bill again had a disparate impact on the Black community. It was a major force in driving men “out of the house” in Black communities, which contributed to the decline of the practice of marriage and family life in the Black community.

    But, my guess is the Black community will still vote for Hillary for President regardless of the Clinton track record that negatively impacted their community because Blacks they vote as they are told. They have been taught that White (Republican) racism and Whites carrying Confederate Flags are the boogeymen.

    • Replies: @WorkingClass
  16. pancho says:
    @Fred Reed

    Thank you, Fred. There is a reason many of us read you that goes way beyond the enjoyment of satire. Let us begin to examine the dearth of facts in the narrative.

  17. @TheJester

    Thanks for the accurate indictment of the Clintons. And yes, BLM is a tool of the establishment to keep former citizens, now subjects of USA divided. All participants in identity politics are tools whether they know it or not. The civil rights movement should have stopped at equal protection and voting rights. Forced busing and affirmative action set African Americans apart as did Jim Crow and black slavery. Thus African Americans have have been sub equal and super equal but NEVER equal under the law.

  18. @Mike Whitney

    No you don’t, Mike. Class oppression historically is much less intense and vicious than racist oppression. Class oppression occurs within a cultural racial homeland, while racial oppression occurs both within and between homelands. American imperialism historically has exhibited homicidal racism, currently directed against dark-skinned Muslims under the War on Terror.

    The US is currently in an historical stage of transformation from a majority White population to a majority non-White population, most births now being non-White. This tends to elicit a fear and hatred from White identity, and it is exhibited in bigotry blogs. They will not like opposition to White oppression, even the opposition to shooting Black unarmed people in enormously greater proportion to White people. But opposition to White racism is essential to uniting Whites and non-Whites around a consensus against oppressive power.

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