Crazy Faith Ministries
The back and forth over National Football League players “taking a knee” during the singing of the national anthem has shown one thing when it comes to White supremacy in this country: It has rotted out America’s soul.
The conversation has been skillfully manipulated to be a slap in the face of America’s service people who have fought in wars and away from the fact that Colin Kaepernick’s action began as a protest against the disrespect shown to African American men by law enforcement officers in this country.
His “taking a knee” was not to say that he and other African Americans did not and do not respect the flag or even this country; it was to say that African Americans are tired of being disrespected by a country which has a flag which is supposed to symbolize there is “liberty and justice for all.”
What the rerouting of the conversation has done is fed into the spirits of White Americans who have deep resentment toward African Americans, White Americans who feel African Americans ought to be “grateful” for being in this country and, in the case of athletes, making a lot of money.
What the conversation deftly avoids mentioning, however, is how this country has systematically and regularly disrespected African Americans who fought and died for this country. No African American can forget that we, too, sacrificed our lives to fight for this so-called ubiquitous liberty and freedom, only to be cast right back into second-class citizenship once our tours of duty were over.
There are countless stories of African American soldiers returning from war were resented by White people, but one of the stories that sticks out is that of U.S. Army Sergeant Isaac Woodard, who in 1946, upon returning from a tour of duty in World War II, was beaten and blinded by White men. He was on a Greyhound bus and wanted the bus to stop so that he could use the bathroom. The story goes that the bus driver yelled at him for what he considered insolent behavior, and Woodard yelled back.
When the bus stopped, Woodard was met by a gang of White men, including law enforcement officers, who beat him senseless and gouged out one of his eyes, permanently blinding him. His being blinded apparently “opened” America’s eyes, news reports at the time said.
But America’s eyes, when it comes to White supremacy, seem to stay open only momentarily. The late Dr. Frances Cress Welsing noted that “White supremacy is racism and racism is White supremacy.” The fight of America’s Whites is to keep people of color under control, and the system – Welsing says racism is a system – will do anything to maintain that control.
The quest for control has rotted out America’s soul. It has made people blind to how corrupt their spirits are when it comes to racism. Dr. Iva Carruthers, the general secretary for the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference Inc. said recently in a United Nations-sponsored panel discussion held in Geneva, Switzerland, that in America, the movement of mass incarceration has morphed into a movement of mass criminalization. In order to maintain their sick desire to remain in control, those in the White system have resorted to making people of color criminals at every turn in the road, no matter their age or circumstance, and that perspective drives law enforcement to treat African Americans as criminal elements who deserve to be shot down and killed.
That the president of this country could call the White thugs who attacked peaceful protesters in Charlottesville “decent people” while calling peaceful African American athletes who are tired of how law enforcement officers treat Black people, especially Black men and boys, “sons of b—-” speaks to the rotted core of his soul, a soul that knows nothing of compassion and love and decency.
But he is not alone; he is supported by far too many people who believe White supremacy and racism are the will of God. Their skewed theological perspectives make them bring God into situations where there is no God. They wholeheartedly believe that God sanctions their hatred and discrimination of people of color.
Their perspective indicates a rotted soul but keeps them in a state of denial about their soul sickness. Even as the president made his disparaging statements about the NFL and NBA players this week, he insisted that “race (had) nothing to do with it.”
It had and has everything to do with it.
Those with illnesses which they deny and therefore do not get treated end up getting sicker – some unto death.
America, with her rotted soul, is in a death spiral, but she will die denying she is as rotted out as she is.
Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith is a preacher, writer and organizer She is available for speaking. She can be contacted through email@example.com.