To those offended by the ‘Taking of a Knee’ movement

SUSAN K. SMITH | 9/17/2018, 12:17 a.m.
I listen with interest and anger to the people who say athletes – African American and those in solidarity with ...

Those who balk at the athletes taking a knee, respecting the flag but protesting how, in spite of the freedom that flag represents, forget – or perhaps they never knew – that prior to World War II, 2.5 million African Americans were enrolled in some branch of the military, and 1 million of them served.

For the Vietnam War, at a time when Blacks made up about 11 percent of the total American population, they were 12.5 percent of the soldiers on the field.

Regardless of how hard African Americans fought for this American democracy, full human and civil rights were denied them once they returned. They could not get the loans for housing and education that White soldiers got, nor many of the other benefits. The discrimination that is being protested now is police brutality meted against so many African American males. It is not right in general; it is even more troubling as it becomes clear that the forebears of these young people were soldiers in the military, fighting for a country which has not ever respected them.

One has to wonder what White people would do and say had this been their narrative? Would they continue fighting for a country which treated them so poorly? The miracle of African American citizenship is that Blacks have always fought for this country, in spite of the racial discrimination. To hear White people say that kneeling before a flag to protest police brutality is maddening, even more so when those same White people say that Black people should be “grateful” for the treatment they/we have received in this country.

In the present political atmosphere, it is even more troubling to hear the criticism against those who kneel when the national anthem is played even as the president is acting against the interests of this country as he works to become “friends” with our enemies, completely ignoring the now well-established truth that Russia interfered in our election.

Who is the greater or lesser patriot, the African Americans who kneel respectfully as the national anthem is played, exercising their First Amendment rights, something their forebears fought to protect, or the president, who would shut them down even as his policies put America and its democracy in jeopardy?

When will the masses of White Americans wake up and own America’s sordid history when it comes to race? African Americans are not obliged to respect their oppressors or take their discrimination lying down. I am sure not many White people, who really do understand the need for human beings to receive justice, would have been much more vocal in expressing their anger over the violation of their rights. It is what we do in America. It is what humans should do when justice is denied them.

Rev Dr. Susan K Smith is available to preach, and give workshops or hold seminars on the issue of how religion and politics have been ineffective in destroying racism. She is working on a book on the subject at this time. To book her, visit revsuekim@sbcglobal.net, or visit http://www.crazyfaithministries.org.