Several people have posted heartfelt stories of police and their families and the incredible danger, fear and risk they face every single day in response to the “Take a Knee” protests.
While everything in every single one of these posts is true and heartbreaking and scary and these people deserve our respect, gratitude and appreciation, they are entirely irrelevant to this conversation.
Nothing about these protests takes aim at the good cops or the fabulous military. In fact, in part, it’s meant to honor them BECAUSE they are good.
The protests are meant to shed light on the systemic injustice black people suffer and the way in which too many bad cops treat black people. It really troubles me that we can’t have that conversation without people saying “but, but, but…”
There is no “but.” The fact that there are thousands of great cops who do a fantastic job under tremendous pressure doesn’t change the fact that not all of them do. It’s the ones who don’t that we’re talking about here. I can’t understand why we can’t separate these facts.
Getting upset that we’re talking about racism and pointing to the instances where no racism took place – to me – demonstrates how incredibly important this conversation is. Those who don’t want their Sunday football interrupted for one minute to consider the plight of black people in America (when, in fact, most people I know aren’t paying attention to the anthem before the game anyway – until now) suggest that people should find a more appropriate place to protest. When and where is that exactly? You apparently didn’t hear it when we did. And you are trying hard not to hear it now.
If this massive national conversation mostly elicits a “I don’t want to talk about this on Sunday, during football, or without pointing out other people’s troubles and sacrifices.” then we need this conversation more than I dreamed imaginable. Changing the subject isn’t going to change it, make it go away or make it any less abhorrent.
Black people are not treated fairly by many cops and it’s killing them in disproportionate numbers.
The fact that good cops and their families also suffer is not the point. We know. Apparently, too many of us don’t know, don’t care, or are unwilling to acknowledge the damage we’re doing to the black community. And we can’t fix it if we can’t talk about it.