By Gary Norris Gray, Staff Reporter
Former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick stated five years ago America had to change the paradigm on race relations, justice, and equality. African American athletes took the lead last week in the recent work stoppage because of Kaepernick’s true statements years ago.
The Baltimore Ravens backed up Kaepernick’s statements this year with a list of possible cultural- political improvements, like legislative acts, encouraging African Americans to vote and a massive prison reform program.
The sports world has finally garnered the attention of the growing social racial agenda that the United States. African Americans are getting tired of the American double standard and are now pushing the question how will this country correct and change the racial disparities? How will Americans solve this ever present racial conflict?
TIME TO STOP
Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers hit it on the head. “We (African Americans) keep loving this country but this country does not love us back.”
Shannon Sharp states, “O.k. we’ve (Black people) turn the other cheek over and over again with 400 years of slavery, 100 years of apartheid, 50 years of Jim Crow. How about you, (America) stop smacking me in the face. My head is turning like I’m watching a tennis match. Taking our kindness for weakness and that has got to stop. We are a very forgiving culture and that’s got to stop too.
Boston Celtic guard Jaylen Brown added “Stop telling us every cop isn’t bad; tell them every Black male is not a threat.”
What these brave athletes are saying is enough is enough it is time for a change.
My father fought for and loved this country. We (my family) might not be here if my wheelchair were not on top in the trunk of our car in 1968. My parents driving through the state of Alabama at night to get to New Orleans, Louisiana for summer school the next day were stopped by the Alabama State Police.
The Trooper had been following us for at least ten miles. We were told to get out of the car which I could not do. My father opened the trunk to prove to the officer that the wheelchair was there. Only The Almighty God knew what would have happened if that chair were buried with our bags.
The officer told us to get back in the car and do not stop in our state again. Now think after that are we suppose to love a country that continues to intimidate its own residents?
Question when was the last time a white father talked to his son about the “TALK” Black fathers have to give to their sons before they become teenagers or young men. The “TALK,” of survival, living Black, The TALK, about possibly being pulled over by the local police force and how to react.
The TALK, about dressing, talking, acting, in public. The TALK, about being racially profiled in local stores. Young white males do not have to worry about these issues growing up. It is 2020 and this country still cannot come to terms with these social behaviors.
Pete Carroll head coach of the Seattle Seahawks spoke on social justice last weekend “Some white people need to be coached up on racism in America, They need to be educated on what’s really going on, Black guys cannot do any more, bear any more, they have done all that they can, Black people know the truth white people are just finding out.”
Again, The United States could be at the crossroads of history just like 1968-1969. What will be the results this time?
On Wednesday, August 26th and Thursday, August 27th, the sports world grounded to a halt, they suspended playoff and regular season games. The (NBA) National Basketball Association, The (WNBA) Women’s National Basketball Association, The (MLS) Major Soccer League, The (NHL) National Hockey League and some teams of (MLB) Major League Baseball also stopped playing. Baseball also was the last major sport to comment on the issue at hand.
Tennis star Naomi Osaka also joined the fight. The former No. 1 player walked off the court at the Western and Southern Tournament in which she moved into the semi-finals and stated she would not be playing Thursday afternoon.
She ended the weekend with an injury in the championship round, but she took a stand against racism. Sports Bombs were going off all over the world and athletes were taking charge, led by African Americans.
INNOCENT NO LONGER
Americans can no longer be silent with the current social justice or injustice in this country. Americans can no longer say they did not know. Athletes are highlighting the problem on prime time television.
Here is another incident were an African American male is confronted by the local police. Jacob Blake came to a friend’s house to break up a fight he ended up being shot in the back seven times by the police while his three little boys in the back seat of his car in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Mr. Blake’s three little boys will never forget this event just as I have never forgotten the 1968 Alabama event. Now you are telling me that three officers could not subdue one unarmed suspect. Question: why did one police officer pull out his firearm while the others did not for a domestic disturbance issue? So that police officer wanted to get their man, it could not wait? REALLY?
Was the arrest that urgent that they had to draw guns? Next question would the officers perform in the same manner if the person were white? We all know that answer.
The answer always comes back time after time the officer’s fear for their lives. These trained officers fear an unarmed Black male, yet these men and women that are trained to apprehend people daily, these same officers do not fear armed white males, HMMMM!!!.
This young white male tried to give himself up in the same Kenosha, Wisconsin streets, he was ignored. This 17 year old male had just killed two people and wounded two more (Allegedly). First Question, why would a 17 year old, owned that AR-15 rifle? Residents were screaming on both sides of the street that this young man used his AR-15. The police drove by as the young man had his hands up.
Now think real hard, if a 17 year old Black male walked down that same street with an AR-15 rifle trying to give himself up, what would have happened. He would either be dead, in jail, or in the hospital. This is our American justice system and it is broken. It needs to be fixed and these young athletic men are trying to do just that.
Meanwhile, the young Mr. Rittenhouse had time to drive himself 60 miles home to Illinois, sleep in his own bed, and eat breakfast with his mother the next morning before turning himself in to his local police station.
Sound familiar, it should
Dylan Roof shot nine people in an African American church in Charleston, South Carolina in June 2015 after praying with them he got in his car and started driving home. The arresting officers took Roof to Burger King because he was hungry.
THIS IS WHAT THESE ATHLETES ARE TALKING ABOUT.
This is what number seven; Colin Kaepernick was trying to inform our country, the playing field is tilted.
Friday August 28th Major League Baseball celebrated Jackie Robinson Day and African Americans returned to Washington D.C. for the 1963 March for Equality and Freedom Parade. Raising the questions how far have we come and how far do we have to go. This pasted week’s action by all of the professional athletes might be a new start.
WHAT YOU-ALL WANT MOMENT
The Baltimore Ravens told the sports world what they thought should happen in the United States. The Ravens threw out the first salvo in another fight for freedom and justice.
Though we cannot right all the wrongs of our country’s history, we can:
- Arrest and charge the police officers responsible for Breonna Taylor’s killing and the shooting of Jacob Blake.
- Demand that Senator Mitch McConnell bring the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 to the Senate floor for vote.
- End qualified immunity; require body cameras; ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants; hold police accountable in court; establish a framework to prohibit racial profiling at federal, state, and local levels
- Support state- and federally-mandated CALEA Accreditation and national standards of care in policing.
- Encourage everyone to engage in the political process by registering to vote on both the local and national level. (www.risetovote.turbovote.org.)
- Demand prison sentencing reform that is fair and equitable.
- Encourage every citizen to act with respect and compliance when engaging with the police. If you feel there has been an abuse of power, we encourage you to contact your police department’s internal affairs unit.
We will use our platform to drive change now – not just for our generation, but for the generations that follow, for our sons and daughters and for their children.
I believe that we can go one step further to improve this great nation and move forward in history by erasing some of the stains of our past.
We are a great nation that can be better if we just initiate these small steps.
- Eliminate the Three-Fifths Compromise from the Constitution
- Eliminate the third stanza from our National Anthem
- Elimination of the Electoral College
- Automatic registration to vote at age 18
- Change the flags of those five states that still have the Confederate flag imbedding in their state flags.
- A public and national apology from the United States government to African-Americans for the institution of slavery.
- Education for all of those who want to go to college no matter what their social or economic status.
- Reparations for over 400 years of free labor during slavery.
- Equal job interviews based on the quality of skills not their sir name or family lineage.
- Racial sensitivity training for all employers, all public figures, city, state, and federal.
- Reach out to other communities to exchange information and cultures. Create diversity on their own
- . Putting supremacist and KKK-Ku Klux Klan members on the FBI list as a terrorist group.
- Outing police officers that are members of these same supremacist groups.
- Putting police officers in jail for shooting, killing, or injuring Black citizens without just cause, with the loss of their pension.
These 14 steps would put this country back on the right track of racial healing. Question: The United States of America do you have to fortitude and the will to accomplish this?
The next step would be for all sports teams to actively search for African Americans that are qualified to be presidents, general managers, CEO’s, and Owners. The immediate implementation of The National Football League’s current Rooney Rule for all sports to improve Black leadership in the sports world.
We are at the crossroads of history just like 1968-1969 will we repeat this horrible time in America or will we be better. Time will finish this story.
GOD BLESS AMERICA
END OF PART I
Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian, Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston, Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove, Soul Tree Radio In The Raw, and The Batchelor News Radio Network, Disabled Community Activist. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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