White folks have a long history of trying to keep Black folks in check by sowing intra-racial division, whether with money or privilege (think Stephen, the senior house slave in Django Unchained). We’re sure you can come up with some real life equivalencies on your own.
In order to maintain that privilege, some of these Black folks, let’s call them Stephens, have to be willing to sell out their fellow brethren. That is essentially what Martha Firestone Ford, the majority owner of the Detroit Lions, is asking her players to do: sell out Colin Kaepernick‘s protest movement.
If the Lions refuse to kneel during the National Anthem, Ford reportedly pledged last week “to donate both money and her name to community issues at the heart of the players’ cause,” the Detroit Free Press reported. The offer comes after Ford apparently received backlash for locking arms with her players last week during the anthem.
But what she is asking players to do amounts to whitewashing the movement to the point of diminishment. The point of the protest is to address police brutality and systemic racism.
“As a team, we came together, talked to Mrs. Ford, the owners, and we understand the issues for the most part, generally,” running back Ameer Abdullah told the Free Press. “Me personally, I definitely want to be an aid in growing the social awareness in this country, that it is a race problem in this country.
“We do dance around the topic a lot and Mrs. Ford has come forward and said that as long a we compromise as a team and unify and make a unified demonstration, she’ll back us financially,” he continued. “So I’m definitely going to hold her to her word.”
But the problem then becomes holding Ford to her word, not about addressing police brutality and systemic racism. When that happens, the protest has been successfully whitewashed, which is unacceptable. Ford’s front office issues are not same as the issues faced by Black America and the the two should not be conflated.
Players should continue to kneel until White America addresses issues raised by the protests. Anything less, should be met with a loud, “Tch, please!”
SOURCE: Detroit Free Press