This past Sunday myself and millions of people tuned in to see their favorite players jog out onto the field and play some football. On that Sunday most people found themselves picking their jaws back up off the floor after a very loud thud. Either teams did not go out onto the field for the national anthem or took a knee or locked arms with their teammates. After this happened there were scorch marks on social media sites from quick moving fingers. People outraged by what they had just witnessed. People applauding what they had just witnessed. People who wanted to point out that there were other things to focus on.
It would be so easy for me to say, “Not my prob, Bob.” I am a white housewife. I live in a higher middle class. I live in New Hampshire, a very white occupied state. I own my house. I am married to a man. I have a beautiful blonde haired blue eyed little girl. We are the poster people for the American dream. I’m one step away from taking NyQuil shots of being Ms. Doris Day. I could ignore what I saw and go on with my life. After seeing all the articles, opinion articles, editorials, news casts, social media rants, pointing of fingers I realized something. I’m a mom now.
Eva is only 16 almost 17 months old. She doesn’t speak yet and honest to god has no idea what happened Sunday afternoon. Just like she doesn’t know what happened in Charlottesville, VA last month. Part of me is glad that she is still in that blissful innocence age. Her biggest concern right now is how to move that empty laundry basket into the play room when it is clearly bigger than her. The idea that one day I’m going to have to sit down with her and explain racism in our country, boggles my mind. It’s going to be up to me and Tim to explain what is going on around her. Explain to her what the other kids were talking about. At some point that innocence is going to be taken away and there is no amount of Gorilla Glue or duct tape I can use to cling onto it.
We as parents need to have a dialogue because here’s the cold hard truth. We the parents, the adults, are the ones who raise these children. We are the ones that give them the first views and morals of the world. We are their appetizers into a confusing utterly infuriating and frustrating buffet line of life. We have to talk to them about racism so they know how to avoid it. We need to talk to them about what ninja racism is because I’m sure you’ll hear many people say that it isn’t as bad as when our parents were young because at least groups of black people aren’t being beat in the street every day. Which, sure, that’s not happening every day. It still exists though. The black community still fights to go to Walgreen’s and not be followed because of their skin color. They still fight to not have horrific names scribbled across their garage doors and cars. They still fight to drive down the highway without a heart palpitation because they realized they were two miles over the speed limit.
Sunday was not an isolated incident. It wasn’t petulant children walking out of a test at school because they think the teacher is mean. It wasn’t a violent act that ended in arrests, tears, and the perpetual fear that we as a country are still fighting a civil war that supposedly ended 152 years ago. People are screaming that it was the definition of disrespect because there are men and women who fought for that national anthem and that flag that waves. A flag that represents freedom, passion, fight, blood, sweat, and tears. An anthem that still makes grown men weep and brings a sense of pride to the most non patriotic person.
Our country is phenomenal at selective memory. As much as our ancestors fought for that flag and as much as our friends and family still fight for that flag, we have to remember that the black community fought for it just as hard. “Well, Amy, wouldn’t that make it so important that they stand and respect the flag?” No it isn’t. People are arguing that kneeling is a slap in the face of military personnel and their family and friends. We don’t know what they go through on a daily basis and we don’t know the wars they fought to protect that flag. We are forgetting that in the same respect most of us in this country don’t know what it is the be black. We don’t know what the black community goes through on a daily basis and we don’t know the wars they fight every day. I can say with full confidence that I as a white housewife with a Prius will NEVER know what it means to walk into Walgreen’s and be followed because my skin is darker than theirs.
Colin Kirkpatrick wasn’t a spoiled NFL player who was stomping his foot and sassy walking away from his parents yelling at him. He was a black man who was tired. Tired of his family and friends being called thugs. Having every stereotype thrown his direction because his Afro was bigger. Tired of turning on the TV and seeing another race motivated story splashed across headlines with a angle this way or that depending on how conservative that news organization is. I have to be honest. I get it. People think he doesn’t understand what it meant to get that flag to wave but I have to ask, do you understand what it means to keep it waving? This country is a place of freedom. It’s a place where our crown jewel monument says, “Give me your weak, your poor, your hungry”. A woman with a torch to welcome any and all those who need that help. We fought to make that monument an testament of truth not flourish of language and I think it’s a disgrace we’ve let that ideology die.
We need to have conversations about race because it’s still relevant in this country no matter what overlaying issue you have. If you live here as an American citizen you have every right to stand or kneel and say, “I have a problem with the way I am being treated.” I desperately want to look at Eva and explain how things used to be here but how they’ve improved drastically. I want her to go into the world looking at every person for who they are, race and all. Now look, I’m not a political analyst. I am not a politically correct person. I’m not a part of the military and I’m not black. I’m a white housewife that has to raise her children to be better members of this society than what we are seeing right now. They have to be the change because there has to be a change. It’s starts with them, WE need to give them the push.