COLIN KAEPERNICK, KNEELING, AND BEING DISRESPECTFUL PART 1

I come from a hyper respectful culture. What I mean by hyper respectful is that, in my opinion, they take respecting elders and those in authority to an extreme. I am just going to give a few examples: Girls and women in general are supposed to bend a knee in greeting elders, while boys and men bow on the ground (the one for boys and men is becoming less common nowadays. They now just bow their torso as a sign of respect).  How you call people is also important. Any one that is older than you by a certain amount of years can never be called by their first name. You must call them auntie or uncle. To call them by their first name is seen as a sin. So when we see westerners calling people who are much older than them by their first names, some Nigerians shake their heads in disbelief at the rudeness of westerners. “No respect culture people”, some of them think. Oh yes, I know that some people in my culture and probably in other African cultures view westerners as people with no understanding of respect. (This is not my opinion as I grew up around some westerners and was exposed to some of their cultures. I am just stating a certain mindset)

So when I hear people saying that Colin Kaepernick and any American who kneels when the national anthem is being sung are being disrespectful, I shake my head. In what culture is kneeling considered rude? All over the world, we have different people groups, different cultures and customs, different mentalities, different beliefs, and different histories; but please name one culture where kneeling is considered rude? From what I have seen,   most cultures view kneeling as a form of respect. Even ancient religious texts agree with this. So I can say that kneeling is not disrespectful at all, but then why are some people so upset about this as a form of protest?

One reason given for the disapproval is that people who kneel when the anthem is being sung are being disrespectful to the American military that have fought for them to have the freedom to kneel. (Did that last sentence sound as contradictory to you as it did to me?) That’s like saying my daddy bought me a car, but I am not going to drive it so that I can be respectful to my dad. Did that sound warped to you as it did to me?

Another reason that’s given is that: The American military have sacrificed for their freedoms and not protesting when the anthem is being sung is a way to respect them. This is according to whom exactly? When did this custom of standing in attention for the anthem as a form of respect for the military begin? It certainly hadn’t been created when the American swimmer Michael Phelps won a medal in the last Olympics in Brazil, and when the American anthem was sung, he was seen laughing (he later explained it was due to the particular way his state of Baltimore sings a part of the American anthem). However, before this fact was known,  nobody accused him of being disrespectful to the military, in fact a Time magazine article termed it as: “Phelps let everyone else in on the joke ”, not ‘He explained/apologized that he wasn’t being disrespectful’ .  Hang on, maybe this rule had been created, only that it wasn’t applied to Michael Phelps nor was it about the military. I remember that African American gymnast…. Gabby Douglas, who didn’t put her hand over her heart when the anthem was sung, but she stood in attention with a smile on her face. She got flack for this and even apologized that she wasn’t being disrespectful to the country, not the military though, just the country.

It seems to me that this law of the anthem and respect and the military is applied without any rhyme of rhythm, except one: that it is only applicable to black people. So can you understand why they are protesting when the anthem is being sung?

Don’t forget to check out my book Dealing with Your Implicit Racism (For black people and anti-racism activists) Available at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes&Noble, ibooks, and Tolino.

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HARVEY WEINSTEIN, COLIN KAEPERNICK, AND THE FIGHT AGAINST RACISM

 

Those who have been on the internet in the past few weeks have all heard about Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer who was apparently sexually abusing and harassing women for decades. Goliath has now fallen and the floodgates are opening. Women are telling their horror stories of encounters with Mr. Weinstein, and men are expressing their regret and shock. However, what has unnerved me about all of this are the pictures of these women who he did this or that to them, smiling in photos with him. They knew what he was, what he did to them, yet they still presented this image to the public of the happy life. Unnerving, I say ….unnerving. The men also knew, they knew, but it wasn’t their experience so……now, they express regret.

I personally know why some women don’t speak up about sexual abuse and harassment. In my case …(even as I write this I cringe, I won’t go into details…it wasn’t as bad as some other people) it is shameful. It is such a violation. There’s a part of you that is sacred, that is not meant for just anyone to see, and sexual harassment and abuse forces itself uninvited into that area. An area you yourself sometimes haven’t seen or explored. (I’m not talking about your body per se). You are not the one who should feel ashamed, but for some reason you do. The sense of helplessness that one feels, you couldn’t protect yourself; you didn’t even have time to react. The sure knowledge that some people will blame you, yes, they will blame you. “Why did you this……?  Why did you that…….?” So you don’t talk, you keep quiet. Now I understand why people who speak out about sexual abuse are called brave. Once again I am reminded of the importance of speaking up, challenging the wrong behaviors of those in authority.

When I was younger, I used to empathize with some people who mistreated me. There were times when I knew, I knew, that I should report what had occurred, but I felt sorry for these people, I didn’t want to be responsible for them losing their jobs. I didn’t want that on my conscience. I was just tender-hearted, I believed of myself. A few years ago, I realized that I was actually not tender-hearted but an enabler.  By not speaking up about the misbehavior of this person in authority, I enabled them to go and do the same thing to another innocent victim. If I really had a tender heart, I would feel for the next potential victim and do what I could to prevent another abuse from happening. Even if people didn’t listen to me, at least my conscience was clear in that I did what I could to speak out against injustice.

I wonder how many people who wanted to come forward about Weinstein heard this:

“It’s not that bad”

“He’s given you this opportunity, don’t be ungrateful”

“Now is not the time or the place, we have a movie to shoot”

“Oh come on, a few flirtations never hurt anybody”

“You’re suffering…. sure … if it wasn’t for him, you wouldn’t have gotten that movie, that Oscar, that good review”

“If you don’t like working here, then maybe you should move to another studio”

 

This brings me to Colin Kaepernick and all who have joined him in kneeling when the American (or German) anthem is being sung. Kaepernick (Black Lives Matter, and others who have done different kinds of protest) started this to protest police brutality against black people. They have spoken out when people want them to be quiet. They’ve spoken out against the abuse of power, and what has happened to them? The same thing survivors of sexual harassment and abuse fear. Similar words like the ones I wrote above have been leveled at them. “Ungrateful”, “Not the time or place”, “Sure you’re suffering, with your million dollar contract” and other words. It takes courage to speak out about the abuses of power by those in power. Not everyone has that courage. I think a lot of non Americans know the last sentence of the American anthem due to movies and TV: The land of the free and the home of the brave.

Kaepernick, Black Lives Matter, you guys are in your home.

 

Don’t forget to check out my book Dealing with Your Implicit Racism (For black people and anti-racism activists) Available at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes&Noble, ibooks, and Tolino.

 

The dangers of implicit racism

The problem with implicit racism is that you usually don’t know it’s there until you behave in a prejudiced manner.

 

“How  is that possible?”, you may ask.

 

It’s like those times when you get into a discussion with a sibling; and all of a sudden, it turns into an argument, and you end up angry at your brother or sister and start shouting at them. When you calm down,  you wonder how a simple discussion disintegrated into a fight. After searching your heart for some time, you realize that before the discussion, you were still angry at your sibling because they hogged the TV remote the last time you guys were watching TV and wouldn’t even let you check a channel (And they weren’t even really watching anything). So basically, during the discussion, your irritation found an outlet and let loose.

 

That’s how implicit racism works, it enters you and twists your perceptions about black people without you realizing it. Then when you interact with a black person (even if you’re black yourself),  it waits for an opportunity and comes out. Later on, you find out on Facebook that the black person you interacted with felt your behavior/words were racist. They also write an essay giving the historical and cultural reasons why they believe what you said or did was racist. And you’re sitting there thinking, “WHAT?!!!!!”

 
Learn how to find implicit racism in your life by reading my book DEALING WITH YOUR IMPLICIT RACISM (For black people and anti-racism activists). Don’t remain ignorant about this.

Ending racism starts with you

There’s this misconception that a lot of people have : Racism and racists are all out there. We never see racism as something inside of us; we think the battle is all out there in the world.

 

While yes, there is a lot of racism out there in the world, there is also implicit racism lurking inside of us, twisting our perceptions and forming our opinions.

 
In my book DEALING WITH YOUR IMPLICIT RACISM (For black people and anti-racism activists), I show you why and how the battle against racism must first start inside of us.

 

Protecting yourself from racism

As a black person, it’s important to learn how to protect yourself from internalized racism. Not only for yourself, but also so that you can teach your children how to protect themselves as well.

 

Kids can internalize racist messages at a very young age. I have heard of four year olds not wanting to be dark-skinned because they understand that the darker you are, the more discrimination you are likely to experience.

 

In my book DEALING WITH YOUR IMPLICIT RACISM (For black people and anti-racism activists), I give you the simple techniques I used to fight against internalized racism. Techniques that you can teach your children also.

 

 

Racism and fear

Fear cripples.

It can present a small situation as a huge mountain that will be difficult, if not impossible, to overcome.

 
Fear is what keeps most people from tackling the racist mindset they have. It’s not comfortable for black people to think that they themselves are racist towards Blacks. It’s not comfortable for anyone to think that they struggle with racism.

 
When you finish reading DEALING WITH YOUR IMPLICIT RACISM (For black people and anti-racism activists), you’ll be able to confidently tackle your racist mindset without fear.

 

Why most people struggle with racism

A lot of people won’t agree with the title of this post, especially since there is such a stigma around the ‘racist’. Nevertheless, the reason I believe the title of my post is because racist messages are constantly being implicitly broadcasted through the media, society, and our cultures.

 
These racist messages don’t know color, religion, or age. They have the power to influence anyone who is exposed to them.

 

Charity begins at home. So does the fight against racism.
Learn how to protect yourself, your little kids, and your teenagers in my book DEALING WITH YOUR IMPLICIT RACISM (For black people and anti-racism activists).

 

Racism and your mind

How do you fight against racism? As a black person, I know that the battle begins in our minds.

A lot of times explaining anti-black racism to white and non-black people is just not effective. How can black people advice them when Blacks themselves also exhibit anti-black behavior?

 
Let us lead this fight by example. Learn how to fight against the racism within yourself in my book DEALING WITH YOUR IMPLICIT RACISM (For black people and anti-racism activists).

 

What is implicit racism

Implicit racism is when you believe a group of people are inferior or superior, but you don’t recognize you believe this.

And that is exactly the problem with implicit racism:  you may not know it’s there until you behave in a prejudiced manner.

People’s actions reveal what is really going on in their minds.

Knowledge and choice are some of the reasons why people, especially black people, need to learn how to protect themselves from being affected by racist beliefs. Some people make bad decisions not necessarily because they are bad people, but because they don’t have the knowledge to make the right choice.

Not only so, but the thing about racism, especially implicit racism, is that it’s deceptive. It can twist things inside your mind so that someone or something will appears a certain way, when in fact they are not. Nevertheless, you will keep seeing them that way and treating them accordingly until you decide to break racism’s implicit hold on your mind.

In my book DEALING WITH YOUR IMPLICIT RACISM (For black people and anti-racism activists) I show you how implicit racism works and what choices you can make to fight against it in your mind.

Growing up racist

No one is born a racist. So then why do people have racist views about Blacks, black people included? The answer is brainwashing.

Growing up, I was taught a lot of things explicitly and implicitly. I was taught a certain version of what it meant to respect adults, what it meant for a wife to submit to her husband, the woman’s role in the kitchen, and a lot of things about God and the bible.

As I grew older, I was explicitly and implicitly exposed to others ideas about these very issues and much more. These new ideas began to challenge what I had been taught growing up. I saw that in many areas, I had just swallowed certain beliefs because I didn’t know any better, and I didn’t even know that constant exposure to some beliefs would affect my own ideas .

The same process applies to racism. We’ve all been explicitly and implicitly taught negative beliefs about black people. In my book DEALING WITH YOUR IMPLICIT RACISM (For black people and anti-racism activists), I show you how to challenge racist beliefs within yourself.