The hysteria that ensued when Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players chose to kneel looks extra foolish right now. So, let’s not make the same mistake yet again, and spend all our energy on the reaction and not the reason for it.
Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics, who has led protests on the ground, tweeted something that I think illuminates that point.
I want to be clear, the vast majority of what is transpiring now is peaceful as well—and with legitimate questions about who is instigating when it is not.
Still, we all have to understand why frustration and heartbreak is at the level it is. And empty corporate statements aren’t going to suffice when it comes to addressing it.
Think about it. In the NBA alone over the last several years, we’ve seen hoodies worn to honor Trayvon Martin, I CAN'T BREATHE shirts for Eric Garner, and now, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, the Los Angeles Lakers have taken to saying “If YOU ain’t with US, WE ain’t with Y’ALL!”
And how can you blame them? Nothing has changed. Black Lives Matter isn’t supposed to be just a hashtag. How can we all not empathize as human beings?
Simply posting on social media about change hasn’t made any. Because here we are again. Michael Jordan called for a unified voice to put pressure on leaders to change laws and votes to create systemic change.
Clearly we need better leadership, genuine police reform and to address the legal system. The things a knee was originally taken for. I don’t want black people to be alone in that fight. And while of course I want peace, I also want justice.
We do need to all be in this together, but that requires everyone to genuinely care about why we’re here in the first place.