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OPINION | Kandy Whitley-White

I am extremely disturbed by the mindsets of many white Americans that justify their views about how black people decide to protest in a country that feels that time is better spent arguing over football players kneeling then calling out true racist.

Since Colin Kaepernick first took a knee during the national anthem last year, people judged him, made a mockery out of his stance, but failed to really listen and understand what was really going on and why he decided to take such a risk.

Kaepernick started this protest in the wake of a number of police officers who have been acquitted of shooting and killing unarmed black men and women. The American flag and the national anthem is supposed to represent a country that prides itself for justice for all but fails to even acknowledge how hypocritical these sentiments are to black Americans.

A protest is not designed to make the oppressor feel comfortable, good or proud. Why would you need to protest? The point is to bring awareness to the wrong that is being perpetuated so that the very things were protesting will change! It’s to shame the oppressor!

When hate organizations can use the American flag as a symbol of white supremacy and not be called out for it, isn’t that disrespectful to the flag? But if black athletes choose to kneel peacefully while the national anthem is being sung before a football game, they’re called SOB’s and being disrespectful to the flag? What kind of sense does this make? And by the way, to worship a flag in the way American is expecting us to do is idolatry. God is not pleased!

If high school students decide to make a similar protest during a football game, they’re considered disrespectful, mislead, hateful and whatever other words white people want to call them. Parents, teachers, and administrators are wrong to allow such things to happen. How dare they be forced by black people to let this happen at a school that won’t even accept students from its own community to attend, but makes certain white students attend and push out all the history of this school… But my son was ushered to the principal’s office at his south Tulsa high school by security for wearing a #justice4crutch t-shirt after my cousin was murdered by the Tulsa police? What was so offensive about this? He was wearing a shirt!

Why do white people get to decide what is the right protest? The fact of the matter is, you don’t want black people disrupting your favorite past-time, black people entertaining you! You simply want us to shut-up, be glad we live in America despite the hate and discrimination we endure on a regular basis. Sure you say, well I didn’t own slaves, I wasn’t enforcing Jim Crow laws, but yet you do nothing to address the same systemic discrimination that still exists.

My son is one of the most popular kids in his school. Yes, he’s smart, plays sports and is an all-around good kid. Always invited to parties, friend’s houses etc. But while those very friends who want him over their houses every weekend, they never come to our house… Why is that? Could it be because he’s black? Could it be that he lives north of downtown? What could it possibly be? He’s okay to go to their house, but their kids are too “what?” to come to his?

You can’t tell me racism doesn’t exist. When you’re so busy making excuses for the president and why he was so quick to call these athletes SOB’s for kneeling, but yet he finds it in his heart to say neo-Nazis are some fine people, but you see no problem with that? Why? Open your mind, try to see things from someone else’s point of view and not from that 1 black friend that agrees with everything you say and they live in a whiter world then you… With a white wife or husband, white neighborhood and basically have nothing to do with black people. Please. White people NEVER want to and NEVER will take responsibility for the wrongs this country did to black people. Maybe it wasn’t you personally. But the system of this country was designed to keep black people down and subservient to whites, period. When you make a mockery out of our pain, our outcries, you’re essentially saying you don’t matter and you better be glad you’re here (in this country) and to get over it!

What’s even sadder is the church. The Christian church never seems to confront issues of race. This alt-right ideology for some reason believes nothing is wrong? How can you not see this? There has never been an equal playing field for blacks and whites in America, and if you think so, you’re the problem. Yes, Jesus loves us all, but I know Jesus would not be pleased with you burying your head in the sand and pretending like these issues aren’t real. America, we need to wake up and confront these issues. Now! They might not affect you directly, but they affect someone. Please don’t tell me how I’m supposed to feel and how I should express my feelings. If you don’t like it, change the system! Come out of your lily white world and see what a mess your politics, red-lining, so-called law and order and greed has corrupted this great land. You did it! You stand by it every time you expect us to bow down to a flag and sing an anthem that doesn’t include us, don’t think of us as human and prefer us as slaves and entertainers with no soul and no voice.

Yes, taking a knee during the anthem is on purpose. It’s to say loud and clear these words aren’t true. The men and women we pay to serve and protect its citizens only take that position when it comes to everyone else but black people.

As a mother of 3 black sons, my husband and I have raised our boys to love God, and to treat everyone with dignity and respect. But also as a mother of 3 black son’s I have to explain to my boys that you’d better be on your p’s and q’s when approached by a police officer because it could end up deadly. Be careful befriending a white girl because she could try to accuse you of rape. And above all don’t wear a hoodie because you are guaranteed to be viewed as a gangbanger, thug or worse. This is just sad. But some whites refuse to see this as reality. Sure it’s not your reality, but it’s mine, and until you walk in my shoes, please don’t tell me what my reality is.

The Black Wall Street Times is a news publication located in Tulsa, Okla. and Atlanta, Ga. At The BWSTimes, we focus on elevating the stories of our beloved Greenwood community, elevating the stories of...