Should We Still Take the Knee?

Some seem to think that because we score goals, run fast, shoot basketball well, sing and rap beautifully that it will make people stop being racist. Racism is not a fickle emotion expressed by fans because their team isn’t doing well. It is a type of mental illness that causes one set of people to undervalue and undermine the worth of another set of people. We don’t cure it by marching, writing, preaching or taking the knee.

When slavery was abolished, it was because of economic and political reasons. The revolts in Jamaica and Haiti destroyed entire plantations. Several parliamentarians opposed the Emancipation Act. People were forced to emancipate their slaves. This was not a willing, loving act by slave owners. As a matter of fact, they demanded compensation for loss of property. It was completely legal to request such payment and they were paid. 

IMAGE Credit: University College London

There was no change of belief but a change in government policy and law. A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still. So we should not be surprised that the racist ideology persists even 400 years after the emancipation act. It’s an insidious, narcissistic behaviour that stems from a warped view of the world and one’s self. 

It comes back to identity. Such people identify themselves as better than because they have been taught to believe so. This racist attitude didn’t start in a vacuum. This was deliberately designed to subjugate all other races of people. The Asians, American Indians, Aztecs, Mayans, Caribs, Tainos, Inuit, Aboriginals, Mayori and Africans among others, have suffered at the hands of these people.

Inuit people, IMAGE Credit: Forks over Knives
IMAGE Credit: United Nations University

What we saw on social media last night, meted out to Saka, Sancho and Rashford, comes after thousands marched for Black Lives Matter protests and football teams taking the knee all season long in the Premier League. It proves the point that such actions are meaningless in the grand scheme of things. The disgusting behaviour continues. Their minds have not been changed.

Major accomplishments, whether in academia, politics or sports doesn’t magically change attitudes. The only thing they respond to is economic pressure. Mohammad Ali won Olympic gold and was still barred from dining in a restaurant because he’s black. Sterling was castigated for buying his mom a house! Black army veterans, WWI and WWII vets were given similar treatment.

“We can’t ever do enough to make them like us.”

It’s painful. It’s painful to think of how these people regard us. What did we ever do to them? Were our ancestors unkind to them? Our people welcomed them with open arms. All we gave them was love but all they give us is hate and ridicule. This has been our lot for 500 years almost. How long must we endure this?

I say this to my brothers and sisters, whatever we promote will proliferate. Do not give these people the time of day. Don’t screen shot their comments and broadcast them. Don’t tweet it, don’t post it. Block and report them. End of story. It is needless to get upset and quarrel with them, a waste of energy. Let’s celebrate our accomplishments and highlight the positives. 

Teach your children to love and respect all other people groups. But let them know that the world may not reciprocate this love and that’s fine. The universe returns whatever energy we put out. Encourage them to strive to be the best version of themselves while you exemplify this. We were great, we are great and we will be great!

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