I don’t believe in worshipping a piece of multi-colored fabric, but I believe in honoring God and loving people unconditionally. People have blood in their veins and a life-sustaining heartbeat. Mere cloth, however, cannot nourish life but rather symbolize the struggles of a divided nation.
Caramel and milk chocolate-colored people have a history of being told they were created as subservient to the chosen majority. Their homes and land were stripped away by the very people they befriended when their land was “discovered”. Their families were separated and sold into slavery. They were lynched and their homes and churches were bombed. Their music was stolen and sung by mainstream artists. They were denied jobs and an equal education. The list goes on and on.
Martin Luther King died in the spring of 1968 trying to bridge the racial divide in the United States. Almost 50 years later, I cannot in good conscious believe his dream of equality has been fully actualized.
Sure, Black and Brown people can now purchase homes in wealthy subdivisions, move their way up the corporate ladder, and even become President of the United States. Yet, these opportunities are not present for all because racial tension is still there, every step of the way.
It amazes me how even today, there are White men and women who freely call a person of color “n*****” to his or her face. They carry on secret meetings and parade around in white hoods--all while serving in positions of authority in our local communities. With their lips, they claim to be children of the Most High. Their daily actions prove otherwise.
It amazes me how a friend of mine and his family were denied the right to eat at a restaurant--here in the United States--in 2017. I guess 50 years of having to legally provide food services to Blacks isn’t long enough to break the racial barriers in our country.
Yet, how can I be amazed when a commander in chief refers to athletes as “sons of b******” and thinks it’s okay to use his political power to lie, demean, and threaten the livelihood of others? How can we as “one nation under God” be united when the leader of the free world cannot condemn the violence of an individual who willingly drove his vehicle into a crowd of peaceful protestors? How can I be amazed when the President preys upon minorities, including those whose ancestors fought for rights in a country they didn’t have themselves?
When a group of people is singled out and given harsher treatment than others, someone must cry out for justice. When a group of unarmed Black men and women are shot before proven guilty because they “look suspicious” or ask questions, we must demand justice. When a White male plans and shoots nine innocent people (of color, mind you) and is given a bulletproof vest to protect him from the bullets that would have been fired had he himself been a person of color, we must raise our voices and pens for justice.
Leadership sets the tone for a nation. When said leadership encourages vulgarity, racist behavior, and the denial of basic human rights, we have a problem.
So, forgive me if I do not worship a flag or place my hand over my heart as the anthem is sung. Forgive my fellow brothers and sisters who choose to kneel or to not be present at the singing of an anthem that did not liberate us all. Forgive us for using our platforms to draw attention to the truth that we are still not united, but instead are a nation who would rather turn its eyes away from any injustice that doesn’t affect us.
Many would rather dictate how, when, and where peaceful protests are acceptable because they don’t want to care about the struggles our brothers and sisters encounter. They don’t want to be inconvenienced or made to think about problems they don’t have.
Black and Brown people are not all bad. On the flip side, neither are all White people. I know this to be true because I have good-hearted friends of all colors. Friends who I know speak out against injustice. Friends who from the beginning saw through our President’s tactic to reach the generation who wants to make America White again. Friends who understand that athletes like Colin Kaepernick choose to use their platform to help create systemic change--not as a way to disrespect service men and women in my family or yours.
We are “one nation under God” yet we are far from Him. If we really knew Him, we would do as Jesus commanded in John 13:34-35 and prove our discipleship by our love for one another. Instead, we choose to discriminate and tolerate behaviors used to close the mouths of people of color--whether temporarily or permanently.
I am thankful for every opportunity God has presented me as a law-abiding citizen of the United States. However, I will not throw away my chance to rock the boat and use my pen to speak out against the injustice that occurs daily in this great nation.
Someone has to use their voice for change.
That someone will be me.
How do you use your voice to speak out against injustice? Do you write about it? Organize rallies? Tell us in the comments below.
*Remember to be respectful in your comments, please. I reserve the right to delete all disrespectful comments.*