Archive for Thursday, September 7, 2017

Opinion: Land of liberty and justice for some

September 7, 2017


Steve Loomis is angry.

Loomis, the head of Cleveland’s police union, is using words like “hypocritical,” “ignorant” and “offensive,” and you might, for a wishful second, convince yourself he’s talking about that day in 2014 when two Cleveland police skidded to a stop in front of a 12-year-old black boy playing with a toy gun in a park and instantly shot him to death.

Or about how they failed to render first aid and roughed up and handcuffed his teenage sister when she ran to him.

Or about how prosecutors declined to try them for the shooting.

You might, in other words, let yourself hope you were seeing some belated moral fortitude.

But no, Loomis was just talking about a football game.

In a statement made all the more amazing by the fact that it came from a police representative in the city where Tamir Rice was killed, Loomis told last week that he’s upset that members of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns refused to stand for the national anthem during a recent preseason game. In response, he said, police, who had been scheduled to bear the American flag into the stadium this Sunday during pregame ceremonies, will refuse to take part.

Let us pass lightly over the fact that, in protesting a refusal to participate in a patriotic ritual, Loomis is refusing to participate in a patriotic ritual. It is more instructive to consider this in the context of all that has happened in the year since Colin Kaepernick ignited a wave of mostly (though not solely) African-American athletes protesting America’s inequities and iniquities by refusing to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

As you may recall, his jersey was burned, he was savaged online, and singer Wayne Newton said that if he didn’t like it here, “Get the hell out.” As the new season begins, Kaepernick, who was then with the San Francisco 49ers, finds himself mysteriously unemployed and unemployable. Meantime, Tucker Carlson of Fox “News” recently assured us there is no racism in football. Now, there is this.

And one can’t escape a suspicion that the real offense here is ungrateful black men acting uppity, forgetting their place. In all these protestations, there lurks a furious hiss of aggrievement. “How dare they?” it demands.

How dare they not stand for the national anthem?

(But America bullies us, then says we’re threatening.)

How dare they not put a hand to their hearts?

(But America steals from us, then tells us we’re thieves.)

How dare they not well up with patriotic pride?

(But America lies to us then pretends to be fair.)

How dare they question America?

(But Tamir Rice. But Philando Castile and Freddie Gray. But Walter Scott and Levar Jones. But Charleston. But Charlottesville.)

How dare they? America asks that question, but it never wants the answer.

This Sunday, NFL games will be played in 13 towns. In each, someone will present the American flag, someone will sing the national anthem, and most people will stand to pay their respects. But a few will sit or kneel to show themselves estranged.

And maybe someone will gaze on them and ask, with righteous indignation: “How dare they?”

To ask it is to forget that America is a land of liberty and justice for some. But thankfully, it is also a land where the right to call out wrong is sacred. What we are seeing from these athletes embodies not a trend, but a principle. Because of their station as sports heroes, they have the ability to focus attention on the nation’s sins — and they feel called by conscience to do so. How dare they?

No, how dare they not?

— Leonard Pitts is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Miami Herald.


Bob Summers 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Pitts should show some respect and quit the cultural appropriation fantasies.

Bob Smith 7 months, 3 weeks ago

The NFL is more entertainment than sports. If you don't perform your role to their satisfaction, you'll be on the outside looking in very quickly.

Brock Masters 7 months, 3 weeks ago

They hypocrisy of Pitts is striking. He defends Kaepernick for speaking out but condemns Loomis for speaking out.

Pitts likes to stir the pot but I've not seen solutions from him. Speaking out alone will not solve any problem. We need real solutions.

Blacks were slaves and even after being freed faced discrimination that at the time was legal. This harmed those blacks and had it continued would have harmed others.

America recognized this wrong and has tried to remedy it. The civil rights act was passed, affirmative action and quotas based on race were initiated, hate crimes came into effect and many barriers were removed all in an effort to right a past wrong.

Many blacks have prospered, but many have not. So the new strategy is to blame others, the government and white people. The blame game is not going to solve any problems.

Facing up to reality is the first step. For example, thinking that only blacks are victims of bad cops is counterproductive. Look at the white nurse who was man handled and arrested by the cop because she would not follow an unlawful,order. Reality is there are bad cops and everyone is a potential victim so we should focus on the problem without making it a race issue.

Look at sports - some are predominantly black - how did this happen? How did the players in the NFL and NBA counter racism to succeed at a higher rate than other races in these sports (answer is greed will overcome racism)? What lessons can be learned?

We can look to many other successful blacks for answers too. How did they make it in "racist" America? What lessons are there for those not making it?

It is against the law to discriminate based on race - what more that realistically can be accomplished do the Pitts and others want? Blaming others without offering real solutions will not change a thing.

So what that is constitutional and realistic needs to be done to help those living in poverty, living in drug infested neighborhoods fraught with violence and with no future?

Justin Hoffman 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Another week passed another dozen black men killed in Chicago. Pitts as usual, says nothing.

Brock Masters 7 months, 3 weeks ago

He says nothing because to acknowledge the violence in Chicago and other predominantly black democratic-controlled cities would force him to acknowledge that so-called racist whites and past wrongs are not the cause of the problems today.

Asians who faced past discrimination by our government and individuals do the best of any racial group. Jews who faced genocide, attacks, past and present by the KKK, and victims of hate crimes are doing well as a group. Hispanics are doing better than blacks as a group.

Pitts would rather blame others instead of looking for real answers because the answers are not pretty. Yes, there are those who will judge a person by their skin color, but it isn't discrimination based on skin color that is holding blacks back. It is discrimination based on culture and the failure of blacks to abandon seek an education in fields that are lucrative, to sacrifice to give their children a head start and to demand that their kids go to school. Yes, some will say I am racist for saying this, so be it.

What I mean by cultural discrimination is a business has a culture and many require a certain dress, a certain way to speak, and to act. You are at a disadvantage if you don't fit the model and skin color has nothing to do with it. White millenials face the same issue.

Recent immigrants from Africa understand this and are doing well. Face it, the business world is predominantly white and if you want to succeed in it you must fit in. Don't like the culture then start your own business or seek jobs in one that shares it.

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