Last weekend Mike Ditka dropped a hot take on the NFL player protests — one that I’ve seen many (generally older white) Americans make recently:
There has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of."
It’s 2017, willful ignorance is not an excuse. The internet exists, books exist, documentaries exist, podcasts exist, etc… there’s plenty of opportunity (that doesn’t even require you to actually talk to a person of color - imagine that) to learn and listen.
There’s no excuse to not do the work if you don’t understand what the fuck a large group of people are angry about — beyond a lack of empathy or, at worst, a lot of racism.
The insane part is most of these older, white Americans lived through the Civil Rights Movement. That alone is less than 100 years old — by a lot.
If you find yourself flummoxed by these protests, I’ll help you get started with a quick thirty minutes of work to find some resources (and there are SO many more) for you:
- I Am Not Your Negro
- 13th (on Netflix)
- Teach Us All (on Netflix)
- Eyes on the Prize
- James Baldwin "The Negro and the American Promise”
- Separate and Unequal
- White job applicants get 36% more callbacks than similarly qualified black applicants
- Modern Segregation
- The Return of School Segregation in Eight Charts
- The Racial Wealth Gap: Why A Typical White Household Has 16 Times The Wealth Of A Black One
- The Top 10 Most Startling Facts About People of Color and Criminal Justice in the United States
- Opioid Crisis vs. the War on Drugs: A Double Standard? (mainly audio)
- Between the World and Me
- We Were Eight Years in Power
- The New Jim Crow
- The Fire Next Time
- Invisible Man
Bottom line, do some work to try to figure out what the issues are… no assumptions, no more “hey Black America, pull up your bootstraps and work harder — anything is possible in America, if you do this list of 10 things that work for white people” posts.
Why is economic and cultural anxiety an OK excuse for white America to elect an incompetent, narcissistic, racist liar and sexual predator (OR) an OK excuse for Nazis and the “alt-right” and the Confederate flag, but systemic injustice not an OK reason for black NFL players to kneel in protest? Where are the “hey, stop being so angry — pull up your bootstraps and work harder - anything is possible in America” posts for poor white Americans caught in a changing economy?