How absurd is the title of this article right? I admit it is clickbait, but hear me out.
Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy.
9/11 is one of the most horrific events in recent US history. Close to 3000 people lost their lives and millions were impacted by the tragedy of that day. I will always remember that day. I will always remember the terror and tears in my classmates’ eyes after we heard about the crashes in school. I was a junior in high school totally clueless about the magnitude of the moment. I didn’t know how to console my classmates, I didn’t know if America was going to get bombed next, and I didn’t know if we would ever be safe again. Americans should never forget 9/11.
When Colin Kaepernick first sat down during the national anthem a few weeks ago in a pre-season football game, he claimed he was doing it because he didn’t want to honor the flag of a country that oppressed blacks and people of color. Here is a part of exactly what he said:
People are still confused, hurt, and angered by Kaepernick’s protest.
Many that disagree with Colin’s are saying things like:
“Blacks are no longer oppressed. They are afforded the same opportunities as everyone else now. What is this rich black athlete raised by good white people speaking of?”
“Slavery was so long ago! Why are we still talking about it? Can we move forward?”
“Sure America has it’s problems, but isn’t there another way he can express his feelings another way?”
What does this have to do with 9/11 you say? Well the primary problem people have with Kaepernick is what they see as a lack of patriotism. How can this guy sit or kneel and be so disrespectful to a country where he thrives? I mean standing for the flag while the star spangle banner plays before a sporting event is the ultimate display of patriotism right?
Let me add some context to Kaepernick’s statement. My goal is not to get you to agree with what he’s doing, my goal is to help you understand why, and hopefully help you get over it if you are against it.
It is true blacks are no longer enslaved, we can legally attend any school we want, buy property anywhere we want, and get approved for loans. We even are allowed to work with and do business with our white counterparts now. That’s not the issue. The issue is that in very recent history blacks weren’t able to do all those things and more. That fact has caused generational trauma in the black community today that has never been addressed by mainstream America.
Let’s go deeper…
Christopher Columbus was a terrorist and a murderer and he still has a day honoring his name and his accomplishments. Native Americans are still called Indians to this very day, but as a country we always seem to forget to emphasize this.
The Pilgrims and many of the early settlers were scam artists and terrorists that murdered the indigenous people of this land. Thanksgiving is one of the biggest and most celebrated holidays in the country and we always seem to forget that the Pilgrims (or early settlers) were helped by the natives and then they slaughtered most of them. Then there was the trail of tears, but all of that is kind of glossed over.
Have you ever heard of Black Wall Street? The Tulsa race riots in the 1920s? Few people even know about Black Wall Street being destroyed in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Black Wall Street was a thriving black community that was bombed and destroyed by white Americans. Some historians set the casualty count greater than on 9/11, but it’s not emphasized.
Those things are not emphasized with a hashtag #NeverForget or #AlwaysRemember, but they are conveniently swept under the proverbial rug and therefore they could have hashtags like #NeverRemember #AlwaysForget.
The point of this article is not to be divisive, although I am certain it will be. Nor am I the angry militant black man that does not want to honor and remember those that died on 9/11. I delayed releasing this article until the day after 9/11 out of respect. The point of this article is to call attention to why some things in history are emphasized and others are not. I have just grown tired of not saying what a lot of people are thinking and believe.
Nobody would dare tell a Jewish person to forget about the Holocaust, ever. Nobody would ever tell an American to forget about Pearl Harbor. But mainstream American history likes to conveniently brush over atrocities that happened to native Americans and blacks. Then when athletes and others protests about the impact of those atrocities the people that are least affected get upset. Why is that? Isn’t it obvious?
Historically speaking, white American lives hold more value than brown ones do. It hurts to write that, but you would be delusional at best to argue against that point. It’s crystal clear in history.
Let’s return to the original question: How long until we can forget 9/11? My guess is, mainstream America will never let us forget, I know I will never forget, so the answer to that is, there will never be an appropriate time to forget.
But for those of you reading that are not black or native to this land think about this in reference to Kaepernick’s and now other protests. The Holocaust ended in 1945 and lasted about 12 years. How absurd would it be for a Jewish man to pledge allegiance to a flag with a swastiska on it 40 years from now? 100 years from now? Think about that before you go too far blasting Kaepernick and his supporters.
IF we want to live in a more inclusive, diverse, and more utopian society we have to face the truth. We need to have these conversations about race. It is just interesting how the people least affected by race are the ones who get the angriest when race is brought up. What is even more interesting is being a sympathizer to the plights of blacks and other minorities will not negate the privilege that whites enjoy in America.
Part of being a leader is acknowledging the negatives in the past and working to fix them for the future. Let’s grow, learn, and get better. Let’s make an impact.
Until next time….