Two years ago, Colin Kaepernick knelt during the singing of the national anthem. He did it because he wanted to protest the racial murders of unarmed Black people and the tyranny of a justice system that protected these murders.
Outrage was fast, going all the way to the President. Kaepernick was not supported by the players league and even had the most successful rapper in history undercut him to make a deal with his bosses in the NFL.
Kaepernick was blackballed by the league, vilified by his former colleagues and shunned by so-called patriots. The powers that be had won.
Two years later, all hell has broken loose and we see Kaepernick was right.
George Floyd murdered on TV, Breonna Taylor shot in her home, Botham Jean killed in his own apartment and Jacob Blake shot seven times in the back on video, protests in London and all over Europe, people in every industry having open and hard discussions about race and racism, and as of today, every player in every major sport has walked off the job in solidarity with Kaepernick's cause.
The Civil War has begun.
All of the famous and non-famous people who refused to support Kaepernick's protest will forever have to wonder if many of the dead would be dead if all of us had joined him and turned our eyes to murderous injustice. Just think of this alternative timeline:
- Kaepernick kneels.
- The NFL supports him.
- All other sports follow.
- The cities where the teams play all join in solidarity, then state government, then federal.
- Community organizations all join to apply pressure.
- Police organizations cooperate under the threat of losing their funding and protections and help to root out the bad seeds.
- The police never kill Floyd, Taylor, Jean or Blake.
- Jay Z is still in my music collection.
Sadly, that did not happen but at least now all of America can see what murderous pigs some of these cops are and how we have a racist system that encourages brutality and targets Black people.
But we are also seeing that there is a segment of America that not only does not care about Black Lives, but wants to extinguish them. And I am not talking about just the openly racist Boogaloo assholes, I'm talking about the guy that lives down the street and around the corner, the coworker and that smiling face you see every day. Many white people have no idea the depth of their own racism and many Black people have no idea of the depth of our mental conditioning to accept racism and how this adds to the hate and violence against our brothers.
America has always pitted the races and the classes against one another and even though we know this and can talk and write about it (like I am doing right now) we never seem to do anything about it.
Everybody wants change, but no one wants to change.
And so the Civil War continues only now the war of words, thoughts and ideas had turned into a war of chaos, fire and killing. Once again people demand the equality promised by the Constitution and once again, violence rises up to defeat that demand because as I said before, the nation's promise of freedom is a fraud, a lie and now that we know it, we can finally battle with the truth, and that truth is there are no dominate races, just people who are more evil, violent and willing to murder to live in the comfort of denial and privilege.
Our nation has given aid and comfort to domestic terrorist groups as long as their philosophies are based on race. Not even a Black President and a Black AG would put the Klan on the terrorist watch list. America's investment in violent racism is deep and now we all must pay this price. The men shot in Kenosha were white and their killer was white.
Jay-Z famously said we're past kneeling and he was right, but the path beyond the protest is not a cure, but the fatal and violent consequence of never respecting the kneeling in the first place.
The title of this piece is not just a clever play on words. The movie Captain America, Civil War offers us a metaphor that could not be more potent: In the film, Captain America splits the Avenger's into opposing factions because he refuses to denounce his old friend who has been turned into a murderous terrorist by evil forces. The film puts the comicbook fan in the middle of his own loyalties because this terrorist is a beloved character from the past. Captain America wants to forgive and take back his friend, while Iron man and others want him turned in to the government.
In real life, we have a President who defends racism and racist killers and asks us to understand their motivations or just shut up and behave, and we respond just like Iron Man-- with war.