Archive for Thursday, September 28, 2017

Opinion: Blacks forgetting our place again?

September 28, 2017, 12:00 a.m. Updated September 28, 2017, 3:22 p.m.


Dear black people:

I guess we’ve messed up again. Seems like we’re never going to learn how to properly protest, no matter how hard conservatives try to teach us.

When there was violence in the streets over unpunished police killings of African-American men, they said that was the wrong way to go about it. Most of us agreed.

But when peaceful street demonstrations took place, conservatives didn’t like them, either. Then, last year, NFL player Colin Kaepernick hit on the idea of sitting through the national anthem.

But conservatives said that was disrespectful to veterans. So Kaepernick started taking a knee instead. Many others followed suit.

Conservatives said that was still wrong and Kaepernick has since found himself blacklisted. Then came last week: Donald Trump took time out from comparing missiles with Kim Jong Un and ignoring Puerto Rico to declare that the athlete who takes a knee is a “son of a (expletive)” who should be fired for disrespecting America. He was harder on the athletes than on the neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville.

Meantime, some observers, including television personality Geraldo Rivera, have griped that politics has no place in sports. Conservatives made similar arguments about comic books when Marvel unveiled a black Spider-Man, and about music when Beyonce performed “Formation” at the Super Bowl.

Me, I’d thought politics was woven into all forms of human expression. I’d have sworn it’s been a part of sports since at least 1910, when a black boxer named Jack Johnson knocked out a white one named Jim Jeffries and white people across America rioted in outrage. I thought it had been part of comics since at least 1941, when Captain America decked Adolf Hitler, and of music since at least 1939, when Billie Holiday sang “Strange Fruit.”

I guess I was mistaken. When Holiday sang “Strange Fruit,” she must have meant kumquats.

There were other criticisms, too. Some said that black men who have been “given” the “privilege” of making big money playing sports, should show proper gratitude to the country before criticizing it. Me, I was unaware there was a requirement that rich guys thank America before griping about it.

Does Trump know this? Because he complains about America a lot and he’s rich. Or, so he says.

Newt Gingrich was downright offended at “arrogant young millionaires” claiming to be oppressed. Apparently, there is something about having money — unknown to us, but not to him — that keeps cops from shooting you while juries look the other way. Did the cop who murdered Tamir Rice remember to ask for a bank statement first?

Anyway, in light of their immunity from racist mistreatment, Gingrich thinks these rich black men are, well ... uppity for acting as if they have a right and reason to protest. They’ve forgotten their place.

You know, it's amazing conservatives are still willing to teach us, given what slow learners we've proven to be. They criticize Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. They once criticized Malcolm X and Thurgood Marshall. They even criticized Martin Luther King, who took a knee in Selma. Come to think of it, there's never been a single moment of black activism they did not criticize.

Conservatives seem committed to criticizing us for as long as we are committed to vindicating our human rights. They seek to guide us as fathers do children. That is to say, paternalistically. I want them to know their concern is duly noted.

And to assure them that I, for one, will continue to treat their criticism with all the respect it deserves.

— Leonard Pitts is a columnist for The Miami Herald.

— Because of a transmission error, an earlier version of this opinion piece omitted the final three paragraphs.


Justin Hoffman 8 months, 3 weeks ago

"No matter how hard conservatives try to teach us" Wrong yet again Pitts. Polls show the American people believe overwhelmingly that kneeling during the anthem is disresectful and it's not just conservatives this time.

Greg Cooper 8 months, 3 weeks ago

How overwhelmingly, exactly, Justin? Got any facts?

Greg Cooper 8 months, 3 weeks ago

OK, Justin. I will ignore the fact that the survey was given to a group of "expected voters", which would be a minority of Americans. I will ignore that the survey centered on one thing and one thing only: kneeling at a football game. I will ignore the scientific inaccuracy of this poll in relation to your statement.

Now, Justin, will you tell me just exactly what that has to do with the issue? That a minority of American citizens believe kneeling at a football game is disrespectful means little to me. Remember, a very small minority of Americans used to believe that slavery was unjustifiable and they found a much bloodier way of protesting. It's a matter, Justin, of what's right ans what's not. Of what's defensible and what's not. And, the whole kneeling thing is based, not of disrespect for the country or its flag or anything but bringing to the fore the FACT that many in this great nation are treated, systematically, as second class citizens and can not expect the freedoms and rights that you and I can because we're the "privileged whites".

And, I won't go have a seat but will stand for the ideals of the nation. But, if kneeling is the only way to get your attention, then I'll wear myself out doing just that.

Justin Hoffman 8 months, 3 weeks ago

You obviously have no clue how to read statistical data. Yet another way your school system obviously failed you. At least you know when you've been whooped in a debate.

Brian Wilson 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Greg.....Are you fn ignorant. Why don't you read further into the poll results and see that demographics and percentages of Blacks, Women, Democrats, and other categories they break the info down. Justin is spot on and you(loser) just loses.

Greg Cooper 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Read the rest of the post, Brian. The second paragraph is the pith of the thought. And if you can not make sense of it, that's just too sad.

Now, as to the rest of your reply: I am not ignorant, nor am I a loser. The simple fact that I voiced my opinion and you don't want to understand it doesn't reflect on my intelligence, but your apparent inability to comprehend. I never asked that anyone, let alone you who I don't know from Adam, magically believe what I say, but that those who read my thoughts at least give them consideration. I have not called you names, ever, and probably won't in print or other public settings. That you choose to follow the Chump mode of denigration without refutation is your choice. It also indicates the thought you put into a real debate. Sorry you can't take the time to really think things through.

Brian Wilson 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Spot on Justin. Your link to the poll and the demographics break down shown a few pages later is hard to deny.

Bob Summers 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Kneeling is a sign of subservience.

Why do Liberals promote that among Blacks?

It would be more impressive if everyone broke out in a moonwalk during the anthem.

Bob Smith 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Das Lennypitts has to keep his base fired up.

Cait McKnelly 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Welcome to the GOP (grumpy old people) cheering section. You're in fine fettle this morning.
No, Justin, the majority of the American people don't find it disrespectful. Please try to find your information somewhere other than Fox "News" or Breitbart. Polls are actually running about 50/50 but it doesn't make any difference because it's a 1A right that was determined by SCOTUS a long time ago.
Bob (Summers), kneeling as an act of protest is something that dates back to the '60s and the civil rights movement. It's not "being humble", it's being forced to be humbled by white
Bob (Smith), your Godwin is showing. Go hang out at Stormfront where you belong.

Bob Summers 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Kneeling is used as an expression of reverence and submission.

Kneeling before the King is tradition.

Good job Liberals!!

Cait McKnelly 8 months, 3 weeks ago

You're sorta, kinda half right, Bob. Nate Boyer was the one who influenced Kaepernick to go from sitting during the anthem to kneeling. This is a direct quote from Boyer about it.
"We sorta came to a middle ground where he would take a knee alongside his teammates," Boyer says. "Soldiers take a knee in front of a fallen brother's grave, you know, to show respect. When we're on a patrol, you know, and we go into a security halt, we take a knee, and we pull security."
This is not "submission", it's respect for fallen brothers. But go ahead, keep pounding "liberals" over it. Your cluelessness and inability to accept anything else is all on you.

Bob Summers 8 months, 3 weeks ago

(This is not "submission", it's respect for fallen brothers. But go ahead, keep pounding "liberals" over it. Your cluelessness and inability to accept anything else is all on you).


ps it is submission.

Greg Cooper 8 months, 3 weeks ago

ps it can be a sign of submission.

There. Fixed that for you.

Brian Wilson 8 months, 3 weeks ago's disrespectful. Disrespectful because..... We are TEAM USA and if you are on the team then you stand with your team. Low paid, hard working people, in general, are not allowed to protest during work. People that pledge their lives to defending the flag and their peers deserve respect. People pay for a game to get away from the BS and they are paying the players salary. You shouldn't offend the customer and when you do you should get fired! Our Military wears the Flag on their sleeve Our Military are draped in honor with the flag when they die. The flag has nothing to do with police officers being racist or abusive. The players should donate their money and time to fix the problem instead of whining. ....too many more to mention.

Greg Cooper 8 months, 3 weeks ago

It would be instructive for you, Brian, to really research the reasons behind the protest you so vehemently deride. Too many of your words indicate a complete misunderstanding or refusal to comprehend just what the players are protesting against. And I'll tell you right no it's not the flag or our military. Open that big ole mind of yours to something other than hatred of any opinion other than yours and then argue the real issues rather than the talking points of those who still, in so many ways, support the racially inequitable treatment of some over others. That's truth, Brian, and something you need to become acquainted with before you start making judgments about the protesters or my intelligence. Hope you understand that it's not the flag that's being demonstrated against at all, but specific, measurable, documented actions that happen to specific groups.

Brock Masters 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Pitts provides false information to bolster his point. It is debatable on whether the right decision was made, but a legal binding decision was made in regards to Tamir Rice. A Grand Jury declined to bring charges, hence it is a false statement to say the officer murdered him.

To those who agree with Pitts, I ask this simple question- what is the solution? What will right the wrongs that you and Pitts see with our country? Something tangible, not just rhetoric like we must end oppression. The how that will bring about change is what I am interested in.

At least Pitts put forth an example of police brutality that I think most can find sad instead of those who worship before Michael Brown.

Daniel Kennamore 8 months, 3 weeks ago

For starts:

  • Body cams should be legally required for all police officers.
  • If the camera 'happens' to be turned off during an incident, or the footage 'goes missing' that officer's testimony shouldn't be admissible in court.
  • Investigations into an officer's conduct should be handled by an outside agency in all cases.
  • Any officer found to tamper with evidence (including the aforementioned body cams) should never be allowed to work in law enforcement again.
  • Any officer found to be covering or looking the other way when another officer is lying about an incident, tampering with evidence or planting evidence should also be barred from ever working in law enforcement again.
  • Officers with multiple 'rage/anger' reports against them should be taken off street duty.
  • Non-lethal means of incapacitating a citizen during an arrest should be the norm, rather than shooting them in the chest for pretty much any perceived threat currently.

Also: "A Grand Jury declined to bring charges, hence it is a false statement to say the officer murdered him."

I'll have you recall the conversations around the constitutionality of DACA a few weeks ago. Glad to see you've come around to my point that the legal system gets to decide what's lawful and not opinion bloggers.

Brock Masters 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Daniel, you were doing so well and then you had to close with a snarky juvenile comment. Never disagreed that the legal system gets to decide constitutionality but I can have an opinion when Ian issue hasn't been decided.

With that said, I agree with most of your solutions. Too bad the protesters are raising these solutions.

Daniel Kennamore 8 months, 3 weeks ago

And your opinion on DACA is no more or less valid than Pitt's opinion on the legality of the officer's actions.

And 'the protesters' have been asking for these sorts of things for years. The protests keep getting worse because law enforcers and law makers continue to ignore the issue.

Brock Masters 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Nope, not true. The constitunality of DACA has not been decided. The issue of whether the police officer murdered the boy has. I would support Pitts opinion if he stated it was an opinion but he stated as fact.

Heck even Obama said he didn't have the power to do what he did before he did it.

Daniel Kennamore 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Do I really need to go link directly to all your comments where you stated it was unconstitutional as a fact?

Brock Masters 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Sure go ahead, but let me save you some time. If I said it was a fact that it has been ruled unconstitutional or implied that it was then I was wrong. I do believe it is unconstitutional but that is only my opinion bolstered by other knowledgeable people including Obama 😀

Daniel, You really got me so I hope you feel better now. You can brag on it as long as you'd like

Actually, I feel pretty good about it too. I don't remember a 10th of what I post so it feels good that you pay such close attention to what I post. Kinda like having my own groupie.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I wonder if the Bob's, especially Bob Smith, with his Russian-looking black and white, are part of this group.

Do you suppose they assign trolls to specific areas?

Why do people not understand that this is a statement against police brutality, which most often happens to Black men, but happens to others too. Why aren't we all taking a knee, demanding that bad cops get weeded out? I will. Of course, being an old, fat lady I might need a little help getting up.

Daniel Kennamore 8 months, 3 weeks ago

It would certainly explain their willful ignorance if they were paid Russian shills, but it's far more likely they are just products of propaganda.

Bob Smith 8 months, 3 weeks ago

You're putting too much stock in an avatar. BTW, the vast majority of black people that are murdered are the victims of other black people. That fact doesn't see to bother most of the folks on the port side of the aisle.

Cait McKnelly 8 months, 3 weeks ago

And? Close to 90% of white murder is white on white crime. Big deal.

Brian Wilson 8 months, 3 weeks ago

And....last year there were more whites killed by police officers than black people were killed by police officers.

Did you also know.....Margaret Sanger and PP succeeded last year. There where 29000 black abortions in New York City last year and there were only 24000 black babies born. So, Their goal to control the population is working. How sad is that?

Daniel Kennamore 8 months, 3 weeks ago

This issue has nothing to do with 'respecting the flag/troops/anthem/etc' and everything to do with Trump desperately trying to distract America from his numerous treasons.

And, right on cue, the conservatives take up his divisive (and frankly unamerican) attack on these athletes.

It's no wonder fascists have risen in the past and continue to rise today when conservatives are so easily confused and distracted by shiny objects.

Calvin Anders 8 months, 3 weeks ago

The whole point of kneeling is to draw attention to the issue of police violence against black people. The point is not to make everyone comfortable. The point is to make people uncomfortable. It's a statement that blind allegiance to a country that allows law enforcement to treat an entire class of citizens as less than human doesn't make sense. If everyone were comfortable with the act, it really wouldn't be a protest, would it? If everyone who is so upset about the players kneeling would consider the continued killing of unarmed black people by our police, we might actually come to some kind of understanding. But those upset with the protest don't want to talk about that. Patriotism requirements and loyalty tests are the last vestige of those who have no support for their own argument.

Brock Masters 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Why just focus on black shootings? Isn't it important that other races not be brutalized by the police? More whites, in terms of numbers, not a percentage of race, are killed by police. Significantly more than the number of blacks.

It seems more productive to make this about bad shootings of all by cops than just bad shootings of blacks.

Consider too, the number of encounters cops have with criminals compared to the bad shootings. It is such a small percent. Doesn't mean we should accept it, but even good cops, when things are happening quickly, can make bad decisions.

The most effective way to reduce the number of bad shootings is not to be involved in a crime and obey the police orders. Not a guarantee, but the best defense.

Calvin Anders 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Brock, I will not argue The substance of your point. I believe that law enforcement reform is needed across the board, not just in the way black people are treated. But that is a different discussion. (Granted a related issue). I'm not sure I can speak for the protesters, but I believe there is an obvious double standard. An obvious proliferation of racism and fear that inspires police to treat minorities (and perhaps black people most especially) as adversaries. The "all lives matter argument" is a denial of this double standard. And the admonishment to just "obey" a police officer who may be abusive or at least bias, is pretty hard to swallow, especially if one is targeted primarily based on the color of one's skin.

Brock Masters 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Calvin, I do not deny that police, like most people, have biases. Make it right? Nope not one bit. I do believe because of biases, police tend to react differently toward blacks in certain situations. Not all cops, not lol the time, but it does happen.

We have to work to change this, but it isn't just about changing how the cops react. Keep in mind the brain creates templates and when under stress it shuts down critical thinking and relies on this templates and instinct.

Think of it this way. You're driving at night along and see an animal in front of you. You don't think, I should hit my brakes and swerve. No your adrenaline surges and you do it without thinking to survive. Turns out there was no real danger but just a shadow. It was real to you but you were wrong.

Same with cops. They deal with criminals day in and day out. Templates are built so when the person doesn't just submit to arrest but becomes belligerent and thinks escalate the cop has shut down his critical thinking and reacts on instinct to survive. Bad things happen when this happens. Doesn't make it right, doesn't mean we shouldn't try to fix it, but also doesn't mean the cop is racist.

The all lives matter, in my opinion, is not a double standard. It is a recognition that we should be color blind. We should all work together to solve the problem for all Americans, not just on race. There is no problem experienced by blacks that other races do not experience.

Let's frame the problems in terms of excessive police force, a system of chronic poverty that robs youth of their opportunity for the American dream, violence and crime that terrorize the young, their parents and the elderly.

Let's focus on providing a better education and technical training for all so people can earn more than the minimum wage.

Let's do these things, let's talk about these things without interjecting race, especially let's stop blaming white people. White people died to free the slaves, white people marched for civil rights, white people demanded and voted for the civil rights act and white people can be a part of the solutions today.

Finally, I agree, let's get rid of double standards. Let's end all racial discrimination. No more Congressional Black caucus, no more black only organizations and so on. You can't be for ending racial discrimination if you practice it.

We are all in this bus together. Let's work together as people and leave the labels behind.

Josh Berg 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I just want to point out that Kaepernick is blacklisted because he’s a terrible QB, not because of his protests. He was a backup QB on one of the leagues worst teams. He even made it public that he would stand for the anthem and still nobody signed him. There are plenty of accepting owners out there who would take a chance on a controversial QB if the talent were there. Heck, even Vick had a job after he got out of prison and still has a job as a coach. As nice as it may sound for the narrative of this whole issue, Kaepernick is a crappy QB who no longer has a place in the NFL.

Bob Summers 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Liberal irony at its best.

Players DEMAND RESPECT but, cannot show any respect for the flag.

Cait McKnelly 8 months, 3 weeks ago

One thing about Kaepernick; it's engendered more conversation about racism and white privilege than I've seen in a long time. This is a good thing.

Brock Masters 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Is it? What good has come out of it? We are more divided and more violent than ever.

Cait McKnelly 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Change doesn't come until you start talking about it.

Brock Masters 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Agreed Cait, but how you talk about it matters. Think of it as a married couple and one is highly critical of the other without suggesting ways to fix the marriage and they act in a way that is viewed by the other as disrespectful. What is the chances that the marriage will survive?

Compare that to opening a constructive dialogue without blaming, name calling and collaboratively searching for solutions.

I absolutely support protests and conversations to make life better for everyone in this country, but the protests of late seem to be failing in improving our country.

Mark Pickerel 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Protests always fail until they succeed. Everybody hated MLK back in the 60's, it's been well-documented.

Calvin Anders 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Brock, I think a more appropriate analogy would be an abusive marriage where the abusive spouse refuses to discuss the issue and refuses to acknowledge that the abuse is a problem. So, the abused spouse starts to kneel during the national anthem during football games because the abuser likes football and this is one of the only ways to get the abuser's attention. Constructive dialogue is important, but it's much more important that the abuser acknowledge there is an issue and that the abuse stop. Kneeling at football games happened after repeated attempts at constructive dialogue that have been ignored by law enforcement and government and the public at large. A solution can only come if all parties are willing to acknowledge the seriousness and extent of the issue. Law enforcement attitudes seem to be inclined to respond that they are doing everything right and that anyone they shoot had it coming.

Steve King 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Last National Polls are 49-47 against. But 60% approve of the Players using their platform to bring attention to social isdues. 60% felt Trump was wrong to attack the NFL. In 1990 Trump was banned for Life from the NFL.

Richard Aronoff 8 months, 3 weeks ago

This whole thing started with the "hands up, don't shoot lie. The black attorney general who reported to the black president said it never happened.

Calvin Anders 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Richard, these protests don't stem from a single incident. They stem for scores of documented cases of police shooting unarmed black people. So again, you are drilling down on a single detail of a single incident and trying to reach a conclusion that none of the concern is valid because there are questions about a small detail of one case. That one detail is of little consequence to the larger issue. And I think you know that.

Armen Kurdian 8 months, 2 weeks ago

The real crime here is that LP is still getting paid to write.

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